Quote of moment: Will Rogers on motivating students to learn

March 28, 2012

Thomas Jefferson urged a Constitutional amendment to institutionalize education as a federal function, part of his grander scheme to lift humanity out of the muck with education as the skyhook.

Will Rogers pointing into camera, Will Rogers Museum image

Will Rogers, photo courtesy the Will Rogers Museum

Will Rogers said:

Why don’t they pass a Constitutional Amendment prohibiting anybody from learning anything? If it works as good as Prohibition did, in five years we will have the smartest people on earth.

♥ The Quotable Will Rogers, Joseph H. Carter and Larry Gatlin, Gibbs Smith 2005, page 35.

Rogers probably read Mark Twain a lot, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, don’t you think?

Joseph H. Carter heads the Will Rogers Museum in Claremore, Oklahoma.  Larry Gatlin is the performer, who did show on Will Rogers that inspired the book.  This collection of Rogers’ quotes is loaded with information, but citations are not easy to get.  We trust that these two guys would be unlikely to misreport — but I’d still like to get a better citation on this quote.  Among other problems for scholars, in his lifetime Rogers wrote about a newspaper column each day, and he often collected columns into books that sold well but are now out of print.

Perhaps the amazing thing is that more bon mots are not misattributed to Will Rogers, especially the funny ones.


Sculpture of Will Rogers on a horse on the gro...

Sculpture of Will Rogers on horseback, on the grounds of the Will Rogers Museum in Claremore, Oklahoma. This is a nice place to pause for a couple of hours on a drive along Interstate 44, a bit northeast of Broken Arrow. Wikipedia image

Quote of the moment: Trouble? It comes from “what we know that ain’t so.”

October 15, 2011

Kin Hubbard and Will Rogers, image from Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

Kin Hubbard and Will Rogers, image from Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

It was a warning from a prophet of the past, and it applies to almost every controversy you can think of in 2011:

It isn’t what we don’t know that gives us trouble, it’s what we know that ain’t so.

The only problem is, to whom do we attribute it?  Was it Will Rogers who said, or Frank McKinney “Kin” Hubbard, or Artemus Ward?

Virtue may be its own reward, but ignorance costs everybody, especially when it is elected or promoted to power.


Typewriter of the moment: Will Rogers

August 25, 2008

Will Rogers and his typewriter, WillRogers.com

Will Rogers and his Remington typewriter, Will Rogers Memorial Museums, Claremore-Oolagah, Oklahoma

Caption from the Will Rogers Museums:

Daily writing
It didn’t matter where Will Rogers was when it was time to type his daily telegram. He just pulled out his trusty typewriter — in the car, on the movie set or in his home office overlooking the mountains of his Santa Monica ranch.

Rogers’ newspaper columns were carried by newspapers across America — 500 of them. His influence as an observer of the American condition was wide and deep.

See also this previous post about Will Rogers, for more resources.

%d bloggers like this: