Aj Liebling Quotes

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Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one.
A.J. Liebling
I can write better than anybody who can write faster, and i can write faster than anybody who can write better.
A.J. Liebling
People everywhere confuse what they read in newspapers with news.
A.J. Liebling
Cynicism is often the shamefaced product of inexperience.
A.J. Liebling (Mollie and Other War Pieces)
Hitler was the archetype of the abstemious man. When the other krauts saw him drink water in the Beer Hall they should have known he was not to be trusted.
A.J. Liebling
... in the youth of middle age--square-shouldered, stocky, decisive, blatantly virile-- ...
A.J. Liebling
The sight of a pretty woman had an airborne chemical effect, like nerve gas. It relaxed the rubber band around his wallet.
A.J. Liebling (Just Enough Liebling: Classic Work by the Legendary New Yorker Writer)
I can write faster than anyone who can write better, and I can write better than anyone who can write faster.
A.J. Liebling
Freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns one.
A.J. Liebling
Up there in my retreat, I feel the city calling to me. It winks at me with its myriad eyes, and I go out and get stiff as a board. I seek out companionship, and if I do not find friends, I make them. A wonderful, grand old Babylon.
A.J. Liebling (Just Enough Liebling: Classic Work by the Legendary New Yorker Writer)
Boxing has always been a primarily urban pastime (whereas the defining suburban sport is auto-racing, in which the machine and its anonymous mechanics hold far greater importance than the driver). When white Americans left the cities, they left boxing as well.
A.J. Liebling (The Sweet Science)
Southern political personalities, like sweet corn, travel badly. They lose flavor with every hundred yards away from the patch. By the time they reach New York, they are like Golden Bantam that has been trucked up from Texas ― stale and unprofitable. The consumer forgets that the corn tastes different where it grows.
A.J. Liebling (Just Enough Liebling)
What an epithet can be derived from that—“Frivolous philologist!” For thirty years I have been waiting for a chance to use it, but every time I get into an argument with a savant, he turns out to be of some other persuasion—a psychologist, perhaps, or a podiatrist. The neck my knife would fit has never presented itself.
A.J. Liebling (Just Enough Liebling: Classic Work by the Legendary New Yorker Writer)
A lot of my favourite American writers are from the 1930s to the 60s. James Agee, Joseph Mitchell, AJ Liebling, Meyer Berger: they relied on their intuitions, didn’t follow any who-what-where rules of reporting, frequently portrayed a contrary viewpoint. They all over-identified with their subjects. There’s never the slightest pretence of objectivity.
Lucy Sante
What a madly gay little wine, my dear!" M. Cliquot said, repressing, but not soon enough, a grimace of pain. "One would say a Tavel of a good year," I cried, "if one were a complete bloody fool." I did not say the second clause aloud. My old friend looked at me with a new respect. He was discovering in me a capacity for hypocrisy that he had never credited me with before.
A.J. Liebling
There are three kinds of writers of news. They are: 1) The reporter who writes what he sees. 2) The interpretive reporter, who writes about what he sees and what he construes to be its meaning. 3) The expert, who writes about what he construes to be the meaning of what he hasn’t seen.
A.J. Liebling (The Press)
It is hard for a writer to call an editor great, because it is natural for him to think of the editor as a writer manqué. It is like asking a thief to approve a fence, or a fighter to speak highly of a manager. “Fighters are sincere,” a fellow with the old pug’s syndrome said to me at a bar once as head wobbled and the hand that held his shot glass shook. “Managers are pimps, they sell our blood.” In the newspaper trade, confirmed reporters think confirmed editors are mediocrities who took the easy way out. These attitudes mark an excess of vanity coupled with a lack of imagination; it never occurs to a writer that anybody could have wanted to be anything else.
A.J. Liebling (Just Enough Liebling)
McKelway could do it all—comment, stories, profiles. He was especially skilled as a rewriter of other people’s troubled stuff, a gift that helped save The New Yorker career of the great A.J. Liebling. But he was most famous for his pieces about odd crimes and strange criminals: imposters, rascals, embezzlers, con men, counterfeiters, and the like.
St. Clair McKelway (Reporting at Wit's End: Tales from The New Yorker)
I can only surmise about what Liebling would make of today’s pugilistic dark ages. In his era, fighters fought rematches of close fights, even title fights, almost automatically. Ray Robinson and Jake LaMotta met six times, inconceivable for champions today. In the 1950s a quality pro thought himself underemployed if he had only eight or ten bouts a year, and the amateur scene was thriving. Nowadays pros who make a living from boxing are about as common as Yetis, and amateurs can’t get enough fights to learn the rudiments of the craft.
A.J. Liebling (The Sweet Science)
Willie Rainach, the state senator with a Confederate flag on his tie [...], as chairman of a joint committee of the State Legislature on segregation, had made a spectacle of himself, and an enemy of Long, by prancing through the state purging "irregularly registered" colored voters from the rolls. In Iberville Parish, for example, the committee struck out the names of Negroes who, in the space marked "Color," had written "Negro" instead of "Black.
A.J. Liebling (The Earl of Louisiana)
There are three kinds of writers of news in our generation. In inverse order of worldly consideration, they are: 1. The reporter, who writes what he sees. 2. The interpretive reporter, who writes what he sees and what he construes to be its meaning. 3. The expert, who writes what he construes to be the meaning of what he hasn’t seen. ... All is manifest to [the expert], since his conclusions are not limited by his powers of observation. Logistics, to borrow a word from the military species of the genus, favor him, since it is possible to not see many things at the same time. For example, a correspondent cannot cover a front and the Pentagon simultaneously. An expert can, and from an office in New York, at that.
A.J. Liebling (The Press)
​One would say a Tavel of a good year,’ I cried, ‘if one were a complete bloody fool.’ I did not say the second clause aloud.
A.J. Liebling
Moreover, these town toasts ate magnificently, and boasted of the quality of the meals their admirers provided for them. It was the age not only of the dazzling public supper but of the cabinet particulier, where even a bourgeois seduction was preceded by an eleven-course meal. With these altruistic sensualists, a menu of superior imagination could prove more effective than a gift of Suez shares; besides, the ladies’ hosts
A.J. Liebling (Between Meals: An Appetite for Paris)
Of course, I know many fine rich people,” the Governor said, perhaps thinking of his campaign contributors. “But most of them are like a rich old feller I know down in Plaquemines Parish, who died one night and never done nobody no good in his life, and yet, when the Devil come to get him, he took an appeal to St. Peter. “’I done some good things on earth,’ he said. ‘Once, on a cold day in about 1913, I gave a blind man a nickel.’ St. Peter looked all through the records, and at last, on page four hundred and seventy-one, he found the entry. ‘That ain’t enough to make up for a misspent life,’ he said. ‘But, wait,’ the rich man says. ‘Now I remember, in 1922 I give five cents to a poor widow woman that had no carfare.’ St. Peter’s clerk checked the book again, and on page thirteen hundred and seventy-one, after pages and pages of this old stump-wormer loan-sharked the poor, he found the record of that nickel. “’That ain’t neither enough,’ St. Peter said. But the mean old thing yelled, ‘Don’t, sentence me yet. In about 1931 I give a nickel to the Red Cross.’ The clerk found that entry, too. So he said to St. Peter, ‘Your Honor, what are we going to do with him?’” The crowd hung on Uncle Earl’s lips the way the bugs hovered in the light. “You know what St. Peter said?” The Governor, the only one in the courthouse square who knew the answer, asked. There was, naturally, no reply. “He said: ‘Give that man back his fifteen cents and tell him to go to Hell.
A.J. Liebling, The Earl of Louisiana
Politics is to the conversation of Louisiana what horse racing is to England’s. In London, anybody from the Queen to a dustman will talk horses; in Louisiana, anyone from a society woman to a bellhop will talk politics. Louisiana politics is of an intensity and complexity that are matched, in my experience, only in the republic of Lebanon.
A.J. Liebling (Just Enough Liebling)
Khrushchev, too, looks like the kind of man his physicians must continually try to diet, and historians will some day correlate these sporadic deprivations, to which he submits “for his own good,” with his public tantrums. If there is to be a world cataclysm, it will probably be set off by skim milk, Melba toast, and mineral oil on the salad.
A.J. Liebling
I felt the satisfaction because it proved that the world is not going backward, if you can just stay young enough to remember what it was really like when you were really young.
A.J. Liebling (The Sweet Science)