Russell Baker JOSEPH McLELLAN - Essay


(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

You can begin quoting Russell Baker in this collection [So This Is Depravity], as you can begin reading him, almost anywhere. Open at random to "The Humble Dollar" (you will have to track it down; his latest book has no table of contents), and you come up with a small gem:

"The papers keep saying that the dollar is very weak. This is nonsense. The truth is that the dollar is absolutely powerless. I sent one for a pound of cheese the other day and it was thrown out of the store for giving itself airs."

It's all there in that quote: the timeliness, the air of crisis, the sweeping generalization and the quick, absurd illustration that puts everything in context and makes you...

(The entire section is 1161 words.)