…Will Rogers (attributed)
TODAY’S HISTORY LESSON
Will Rogers was born 138 years ago, on Nov 4, 1879, in Oologah, Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). He began his career as a rope trick artist…but quickly discovered that he could keep audiences more entertained with comments and jokes than with his rope tricks.
He starred on vaudeville, with the Ziegfeld Follies, and in movies, wrote a newspaper column, and he even “ran” as a “bunkless” presidential candidate on the Anti-Bunk Party (1928), though he did promise to resign if elected. When asked whether voters could be fooled, he said, “Yes…”
Of all the bunk handed out during a campaign the biggest one of all is to try and compliment the knowledge of the voter.
|We are here just for a spell and then pass on. So get
a few laughs and do the best you can. Live your life
so that whenever you lose it, you are ahead.
Rogers traveled the world as a writer for The Saturday Evening Post in the mid 1920s and 30s and he feared that Europeans would be involved in a second large scale war. He expressed an isolationist philosophy for the U.S., reasoning that Americans should focus on domestic problems rather than getting involved in “foreign entanglements.”
Richard D. White, author of Will Rogers: A Political Life said in a 2011 interview,
From just before World War I, through the Jazz Age, all through Prohibition, the Great Depression, and up until Rogers’s tragic death in a plan crash in 1935, he captivated the nation and the world with not only his humor, but his political commentary.
During the last two years of his live he was the top male box-office attraction at the movies. The only person who topped him was Shirley Temple…
He was one of the most widely read newspaper columnists. He put out over 600 weekly newspaper columns, over 2800 daily newspaper columns. He was in 71 movies and wrote six books. All of this outpouring of media – of words – propelled him to a level of influence unequaled in American history.
About his politics, White said,
Rogers loved his fellow man. When he said he never met a man he didn’t like, he meant it. But he also mistrusted mankind, and the modern huge monoliths of government, bureaucracy, and large corporations. He defended democracy but had little faith in the political or economic systems of his day to actually improve common man’s lot. He thought politics was the lowest of life-forms…He feared extremist organizations from the Ku Klux Klan to the Communist Party yet he could share a friendly cup of coffee with their members…
[I recommend listening to the entire 46 minute interview with Richard White where he discusses Will Rogers and his feelings about a wide variety of topics such as dictators, socialism, populism, Andrew Jackson, his Cherokee ancestry, Hoover, FDR, Democrats, and Republicans.]
Below are some quotes attributed to Will Rogers (found HERE unless otherwise noted)…
- You know everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
- Instead of giving money to found colleges to promote learning, why don’t they pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting anybody from learning anything? If it works as good as the Prohibition one did, why, in five years we would have the smartest race of people on earth.
- People’s minds are changed through observation and not through argument.
- The schools ain’t what they used to be and never was.
- When ignorance gets started it knows no bounds.
- What’s the matter with the world? Why, there ain’t but one thing wrong with every one of us — and that’s selfishness.
- Life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans.
- The more ignorant you are, the quicker you fight.
- There is nothing so stupid as an educated man, if you get off the thing that he was educated in.
A SHORT BIOGRAPHY
For another more detailed and longer (57 minutes) discussion of Rogers’ life, click HERE (from August 1994).