Quotations by Lehrer, Tom


Oh, soon we’ll be out amid the cold world’s strife.
Soon we’ll be sliding down the razor blade of life.

Tom Lehrer (b. 1928) American mathematician, satirist, songwriter
“Bright College Days,” An Evening (Wasted) with Tom Lehrer (1959)
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Hearts full of youth!
Hearts full of truth!
Six parts gin to
One part vermouth!

Tom Lehrer (b. 1928) American mathematician, satirist, songwriter
“Bright College Days,” An Evening (Wasted) with Tom Lehrer (1959)
Added on 26-May-16 | Last updated 26-May-16
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Bright college days, oh, carefree days that fly,
To thee we sing with our glasses raised on high.
Let’s drink a toast as each of us recalls
Ivy-covered professors in ivy-covered halls.

Turn on the spigot,
Pour the beer and swig it,
And gaudeamus igit-
-ur.

Tom Lehrer (b. 1928) American mathematician, satirist, songwriter
“Bright College Days”
Added on 21-Apr-16 | Last updated 21-Apr-16
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As for language, almost everything goes now. That is not to say that verbal taboos have disappeared, but merely that they have shifted somewhat. In my youth, for example, there were certain words you couldn’t say in front of a girl; now you can say them, but you can’t say “girl.”

Tom Lehrer (b. 1928) American mathematician, satirist, songwriter
“In His Own Words: On Life, Lyrics and Liberals,” Washington Post (3 Jan 1982)
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Plagiarize,
Let no one else’s work evade your eyes,
Remember why the good Lord made your eyes,
So don’t shade your eyes,
But plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize —
Only be sure always to call it, please, “research”.

Tom Lehrer (b. 1928) American mathematician, satirist, songwriter
“Lobachevsky,” Songs by Tom Lehrer (1953)
Added on 11-Feb-16 | Last updated 11-Feb-16
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Plagiarize,
Let no one else’s work evade your eyes,
Remember why the good Lord made your eyes,
So don’t shade your eyes,
But plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize —
Only be sure always to call it, please, “research.”

Tom Lehrer (b. 1928) American mathematician, satirist, songwriter
“Lobachevsky”
Added on 28-Apr-16 | Last updated 28-Apr-16
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Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics
And the Catholics hate the Protestants,
And the Hindus hate the Moslems,
And everybody hates the Jews.

Tom Lehrer (b. 1928) American mathematician, satirist, songwriter
“National Brotherhood Week,” That Was the Year That Was (1965)
Added on 17-Mar-16 | Last updated 17-Mar-16
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Oh, the poor folks hate the rich folks,
And the rich folks hate the poor folks,
All of my folks hate all of your folks,
It’s American as apple pie.

Tom Lehrer (b. 1928) American mathematician, satirist, songwriter
“National Brotherhood Week” (1965)
Added on 5-Nov-15 | Last updated 5-Nov-15
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Yes, he loved his mother like no other,
His daughter was his sister and his son was his brother.
One thing on which you can depend is,
He sure knew who a boy’s best friend is.

Tom Lehrer (b. 1928) American mathematician, satirist, songwriter
“Oedipus Rex,” An Evening (Wasted) with Tom Lehrer (1959)
Added on 25-Feb-16 | Last updated 25-Feb-16
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Yes, he loved his mother like no other,
His daughter was his sister and his son was his brother.
One thing on which you can depend is,
He sure knew who a boy’s best friend is.

Tom Lehrer (b. 1928) American mathematician, satirist, songwriter
“Oedipus Rex”
Added on 12-May-16 | Last updated 12-May-16
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When they see us coming, the birdies all try an’ hide,
But they still go for peanuts when coated with cyanide.

Tom Lehrer (b. 1928) American mathematician, satirist, songwriter
“Poisoning Pigeons in the Park,” An Evening (Wasted) with Tom Lehrer (1959)
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Get in line in that processional,
Step into that small confessional.
There the guy who’s got religion’ll
Tell you if your sin’s original.
If it is, try playin’ it safer,
Drink the wine and chew the wafer.
Two, four, six, eight,
Time to transubstantiate!

Tom Lehrer (b. 1928) American mathematician, satirist, songwriter
“The Vatican Rag,” That Was the Year That Was (1965)
Added on 10-Mar-16 | Last updated 10-Mar-16
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So get down upon your knees,
Fiddle with your rosaries,
Bow your head with great respect,
And genuflect, genuflect, genuflect!

Tom Lehrer (b. 1928) American mathematician, satirist, songwriter
“The Vatican Rag,” That Was the Year That Was (1965)
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Don’t say that he’s hypocritical,
Say rather that he’s apolitical.
“Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down?
That’s not my department,” says Wernher von Braun.

Tom Lehrer (b. 1928) American mathematician, satirist, songwriter
“Wernher von Braun,” That Was The Year That Was (1965)
Added on 19-May-16 | Last updated 19-May-16
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Don’t say that he’s hypocritical,
Say rather that he’s apolitical.
“Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down?
That’s not my department,” says Wernher von Braun.

Tom Lehrer (b. 1928) American mathematician, satirist, songwriter
“Wernher Von Braun,” That Was the Year That Was (1965)
Added on 31-Mar-16 | Last updated 31-Mar-16
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An awful debility,
A lessened utility,
A loss of mobility
Is a strong possibility.
In all probability
I’ll lose my virility
And you your fertility
And desirability.
And this liability
Of total sterility
Will lead to hostility
And a sense of futility.
So let’s act with agility
While we still have facility,
For we’ll soon reach senility
And lose the ability.

Tom Lehrer (b. 1928) American mathematician, satirist, songwriter
“When You Are Old and Gray”
Added on 5-May-16 | Last updated 5-May-16
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An awful debility, a lessened utility,
A loss of mobility is a strong possibility.
In all probability I’ll lose my virility,
And you your fertility and desirability.
And this liability of total sterility
Will lead to hostility and a sense of futility,
So lets act with agility while we still have facility,
For we’ll soon reach senility and lose the ability!

Tom Lehrer (b. 1928) American mathematician, satirist, songwriter
“When You Are Old And Grey”
Added on 9-May-13 | Last updated 9-May-13
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Life is like a sewer — what you get out of it depends on what you put into it.

Tom Lehrer (b. 1928) American mathematician, satirist, songwriter
An Evening Wasted
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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What good is having laurels if you can’t rest on them?

Tom Lehrer (b. 1928) American mathematician, satirist, songwriter
People (11 Jan 1982)
    (Source)

Lehrer has used the phrase and variants many times over the years.
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It is a sobering thought that when Mozart was my age, he had been dead for two years.

Tom Lehrer (b. 1928) American mathematician, satirist, songwriter
That Was the Year That Was (1965)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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No one is more dangerous than someone who thinks he has “The Truth”. To be an atheist is almost as arrogant as to be a fundamentalist. But then again, I can get pretty arrogant.

Tom Lehrer (b. 1928) American mathematician, satirist, songwriter
Interview (June 1996)

When asked if he considered himself atheist or an agnostic.
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Things are much more complicated. Feminism versus pornography, for example. There are a lot of feminists who think it is bad, but others think it’s good. I have become, you might call it mature, I would call it senile, and I can see both sides. But you can’t write a satirical song with “but on the other hand” in it, or “however.” It’s got to be one-sided.

Tom Lehrer (b. 1928) American mathematician, satirist, songwriter
Interview, Sydney Morning Herald (2003)
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“Life is like a sewer — what you get out of it depends on what you put into it.” It’s always seemed to me that this is precisely the sort of dynamic, positive thinking that we so desperately need today in these trying times of crisis and universal brouhaha.

Tom Lehrer (b. 1928) American mathematician, satirist, songwriter
Introduction to “We Will All Go Together When We Go,” An Evening (Wasted) with Tom Lehrer (1959)
Added on 3-Mar-16 | Last updated 3-Mar-16
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Alas, irreverence has been subsumed by mere grossness, at least in the so-called mass media. What we have now — to quote myself at my most pretentious — is a nimiety of scurrility with a concomitant exiguity of taste. For example, the freedom (hooray!) to say almost anything you want on television about society’s problems has been co-opted (alas!) by the freedom to talk instead about flatulence, orgasms, genitalia, masturbation, etc., etc., and to replace real comment with pop-culture references and so-called “adult” language. Irreverence is easy — what’s hard is wit.

Lehrer - whats hard is wit - wist_info quote

Tom Lehrer (b. 1928) American mathematician, satirist, songwriter
Rhino Records online chat (17 Jun 1997)
Added on 21-Jan-16 | Last updated 21-Jan-16
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