Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Pointed, Home-Spun Wit of Will Rogers

"Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for." ~Will Rogers

Despite being a 10th grade drop-out, Will Rogers achieved world fame, travelling around the globe three times and performing in 71 movies (21 “talkies”.) An American cowboy, vaudeville performer, social commentator, actor and wit, he became one of the best known celebrities of the 1920’s and 30’s. Americans read his columns in the paper, went to see his films on the silver screen and listened to his radio talks in living room.

Rogers published more than 4,000 nationally syndicated newspaper columns, some of which were assembled in this volume, A Will Rogers Treasury. Just reading the titles of the columns assembled in this collection will give you a glimpse of the man.

Will Has Read Another Book
The Prince of Wales Marries?
A Harvard Cannibal
Whooping It Up for Wall Street
Too Smart to Be Happy?
Home Cooking
Wheat and Combines
The Philosophy Racket
No Tax on Optimism – Yet
Good Crops Can Do a Lot for a President
Caviar and Vodka

Describing vodka, Rogers wrote, “It gives the most immediate results of any libation ever concocted, you don’t have to wait for it to act. By the time it reaches your adam’s apple, it has acted. A man stepping on a red hot poker could show no more immediate animation.”

From his “Nomination” of Henry Ford for President, “Some are against him because he don’t know history. What we need in there is a man that can make history.”

Here are some witticisms from the pen of this uncommon common man. Notice how applicable so much of this is today. Will Rogers left us in 1935.
  • Ancient Rome declined because it had a Senate; now what's going to happen to us with both a Senate and a House?
  • Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock.
  • Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.
  • I never expected to see the day when girls would get sunburned in the places they do today.
  • I'm not a real movie star. I've still got the same wife I started out with twenty-eight years ago.
  • Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.
  • On account of being a democracy and run by the people, we are the only nation in the world that has to keep a government four years, no matter what it does.
  • Our constitution protects aliens, drunks and U.S. Senators.
  • The best doctor in the world is the veterinarian. He can't ask his patients what is the matter-he's got to just know.
  • The movies are the only business where you can go out front and applaud yourself.
  • The only time people dislike gossip is when you gossip about them.
  • There is nothing as stupid as an educated man if you get him off the thing he was educated in.
  • There ought to be one day-- just one-- when there is open season on senators.
  • There's no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you.
There are probably a lot of young folks today who don't have a good sense of who Will Rogers was. If you're one, I hope these morsels will give you an appetite for more.

In the meantime, have a really fine day.

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