Quotation by Russell Baker

Though Americans talk a good deal about the virtue of being serious, they generally prefer people who are solemn over people who are serious. In politics, the rare candidate who is serious, like Adlai Stevenson, is easily overwhelmed by one who is solemn, like General Eisenhower. This is probably because it is hard for most people to recognize seriousness, which is rare, especially in politics, but comfortable to endorse solemnity, which is as commonplace as jogging.
Russell Baker (b. 1925), U.S. journalist. "Why Being Serious Is Hard," So This Is Depravity, Congden & Lattes (1980).
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