Zitate von Russell Baker

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Russell Baker

Geburtstag: 14. August 1925
Andere Namen: Russell Wayne Baker

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Russell Wayne Baker is an American writer known for his satirical commentary and self-critical prose, as well as for his Pulitzer Prize-winning autobiography Growing Up . He was a columnist for The New York Times from 1962 to 1998, and also hosted the PBS show Masterpiece Theatre from 1992 to 2004. The Forbes Media Guide Five Hundred, 1994 states: "Baker, thanks to his singular gift of treating serious, even tragic events and trends with gentle humor, has become an American institution."

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Zitate Russell Baker

„In televisionland we are all sophisticated enough now to realize that every statistic has an equal and opposite statistic somewhere in the universe. It is not a candidate's favorite statistic per se that engages us, but the assurance with which he can use it.
We are testing the candidates for self-confidence, for "Presidentiality" in statistical bombardment. It doesn't really matter if their statistics be homemade. What settles the business is the cool with which they are dropped.
And so, as the second half hour treads the decimaled path toward the third hour, we become aware of being locked in a tacit conspiracy with the candidates. We know their statistics go to nothing of importance, and they know we know, and we know they know we know.
There is total but unspoken agreement that the "debate," the arguments which are being mustered here, are of only the slightest importance.
As in some primitive ritual, we all agree — candidates and onlookers — to pretend we are involved in a debate, although the real exercise is a test of style and manners. Which of the competitors can better execute the intricate maneuvers prescribed by a largely irrelevant ritual?
This accounts for the curious lack of passion in both performers. Even when Ford accuses Carter of inconsistency, it is done in a flat, emotionless, game-playing style. The delivery has the tuneless ring of an old press release from the Republican National Committee. Just so, when Carter has an opportunity to set pulses pounding by denouncing the Nixon pardon, he dances delicately around the invitation like a maiden skirting a bog.
We judge that both men judge us to be drained of desire for passion in public life, to be looking for Presidents who are cool and noninflammable. They present themselves as passionless technocrats using an English singularly devoid of poetry, metaphor and even coherent forthright declaration.
Caught up in the conspiracy, we watch their coolness with fine technical understanding and, in the final half hour, begin asking each other for technical judgments. How well is Carter exploiting the event to improve our image of him? Is Ford's television manner sufficiently self-confident to make us sense him as "Presidential"?
It is quite extraordinary. Here we are, fully aware that we are being manipulated by image projectionists, yet happily asking ourselves how obligingly we are submitting to the manipulation. It is as though a rat running a maze were more interested in the psychologist's charts on his behavior than in getting the cheese at the goal line.“

—  Russell Baker
There's a Country in My Cellar (1990), "And All of Us So Cool" (p.340)

„By any precise definition, Washington is a city of advanced depravity. There one meets and dines with the truly great killers of the age, but only the quirkily fastidious are offended, for the killers are urbane and learned gentlemen who discuss their work with wit and charm and know which tool to use on the escargots.
On New York's East Side one occasionally meets a person so palpably evil as to be fascinatingly irresistible. There is a smell of power and danger on these people, and one may be horrified, exhilarated, disgusted or mesmerized by the awful possibilities they suggest, but never simply depressed.
Depression comes in the presence of depravity that makes no pretense about itself, a kind of depravity that says, "You and I, we are base, ugly, tasteless, cruel and beastly; let's admit it and have a good wallow."
That is how Times Square speaks. And not only Times Square. Few cities in the country lack the same amenities. Pornography, prostitution, massage parlors, hard-core movies, narcotics dealers — all seem to be inescapable and permanent results of an enlightened view of liberty which has expanded the American's right to choose his own method of shaping a life.
Granted such freedom, it was probably inevitable that many of us would yield to the worst instincts, and many do, and not only in New York. Most cities, however, are able to keep the evidence out of the center of town. Under a rock, as it were. In New York, a concatenation of economics, shifting real estate values and subway lines has worked to turn the rock over and put the show on display in the middle of town.
What used to be called "The Crossroads of the World" is now a sprawling testament to the dreariness which liberty can produce when it permits people with no taste whatever to enjoy the same right to depravity as the elegant classes.“

—  Russell Baker
So This Is Depravity (1980), "Cheesy" (p.231)

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„In America nothing dies easier than tradition.“

—  Russell Baker
"A Little Bones Trouble," The New York Times (1991-05-14)

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