Will Rogers, American, would have been 130 years old today, November 4.
In 1879 in a place called Dog Iron Ranch near Oologah OK, Will Rogers was born. His month was part Cherokee and his father was a respected war veteran, judge and rancher. Will took his education and then bummed around in South America and Australia before he landed in New York City, where he tried to break into show business. During one performance an animal broke free and was climbing into the crowd when Will roped it and saved the day. The ensuing publicity launched his career.
From the vaudeville stage, he honed down his act. Will Rogers became as American as apple. He was the laconic cow poke speaking plainly, but eloquently on topics of the day. He could reduce complex issues into a simple sentence and by so doing make fun of it. It was something the least educated person could understand and the highly educated person would enjoy. It was basic. It was sublime.
During the course of his career Will Rogersâ€™ popularity as the American philosopher cum humorist was evidenced by 71 roles in movies, 4000 syndicated columns and hundreds of radio shows. His death in an airplane crash in 1935 threw the nation into collective mourning.
Now 70 years after his death,Â Will Rogersâ€™ observations have a veracity and gentleness that evoke a mythic image. It is the image of what America would like to believe it is â€“ simple, plain speaking, truth seeking, good natured while poking a not too unsharp elbow in someoneâ€™s pompous ribs.
On this 130th birthday of Will Rogers, American, here are ten great quotes from the Bard from Oklahoma.
We will never have true civilization until we have learned to recognize the rights of others.
What the country needs is dirtier fingernails and cleaner minds.
About all I can say for the United States Senate is that it opens with a prayer and closes with an investigation.
Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they donâ€™t have for something they donâ€™t need.
Worrying is like paying on a debt that may never come due.
The worst thing that happens to you may be the best thing for you if you donâ€™t let it get the best of you.
There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.
The best way out of a difficulty is through it.
The difference between a Republican and a Democrat is the Democrat is a cannibal they have to live off each other, while the Republicans, why, they live off the Democrats.
People are getting smarter nowadays; they are letting lawyers, instead of their conscience, be their guide.
Written in the 20s and 30s, these epigrams still resonate in todayâ€™s climate. America hasnâ€™t changed all that much despite all the fancy bells and whistles. Politicians still lack common sense, popular culture is still an odd thing to behold and Will Rogersâ€™ observations still hit dead center, usually bouncing off the funny bone for good measure.
The Frugal Yankee has gathered more of Rogers quotes. Just head over to FRUGALYANKEE.COM to read them. While youâ€™re doing that,Â imagine if Keith Olberman or Glenn Beck or some other ratings hungry cable â€œnewsâ€ personality had the intelligence or humanity of Will Rogers. It sure would make life a bit better, but as he would probably have said about these alleged pundits: â€œOnce ignorance gets started,Â it knows no bounds.â€
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