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Go to the Index of 120 Philosophers Squared

Alfred E. Newman (gestated 1876, born 1953, flourishing 2013). His history goes back to 1876 in a picture in The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll. He was named in 1953 by Mad editor Harvey Kurtzman.

Alfred E. Newman precursors

Alfred E. Newman? An incredible dunce in The Hunting of the Snark – 1876

Alfred E. Newman

Alfred E. Newman, philosopher of the sub-genius America. What me worry?

See more pics of Alfred. The Snarky Alfred is from U of Virginia archives.
Quotes below, arranged by brevity, are reported to be from the MAD magazine.

“Yes we can`t! ”

“What, Me Worry?”

“Fools rush in… and get the best seats.”

“Crime does not pay … as well as politics.”

“It takes one to know one — and vice versa!”

“A teacher is someone who talks in our sleep!”

“Most people don’t act stupid: it’s the real thing!”

“Smoking helps you lose weight — one lung at a time!”

“You can be on the right track and still get hit by a train!”

“Politicians are people who get sworn in and cursed out!”

“Medical insurance is what allows people to be ill at ease!”

“If people wanted your unsolicited advice, they’d ask for it.”

“Blood is thicker than water . . . but it makes lousy lemonade!”

“Who says nothing is impossible? Some people do it every day!”

“If most people said what’s on their minds, they’d be speechless.”

“If opera is entertainment, then falling off a roof is transportation!”

“Most minds are like concrete . . . all mixed up and permanently set!”

“Most people are so lazy, they don’t even exercise good judgement!”

“In retrospect it becomes clear that hindsight is definitely overrated!”

“Getting old is when a narrow waist and a broad mind change places!”

“The world is a place that’s gone from being flat to round to crooked.”

“Plenty of people believe in energy conservation – mainly their own.”

“A college jock is someone who minds his build instead of vice versa!”

“When you’re in deep water it’s a good idea to keep your mouth shut!”

“Most people are too lazy to open the door when opportunity knocks!”

“Nowadays, a balanced diet is when every McNugget weighs the same!”

“Any dentist who says “This won’t hurt a bit” is lying through your teeth.”

“America is still a land of promise, especially during a political campaign.”

“A lawyer is someone who writes a 40-page document and calls it a brief!”

“Teenagers are people who act like babies if they’re not treated like adults!”

“The only advantage to living in the past is that the rents are much cheaper!”

“Nowadays, the perfect crime is getting caught and selling your story to T.V.!”

“Anyone who says the truth shall set you free has never been to traffic court.”

“Nowadays, an after-dinner mint is what you need to pay the restaurant check.”

“Money still talks these days! Trouble is, you have to increase the volume alot!”

“Too often, people who want to offer sound advice give more sound than advice!”

“It’s a good idea to save your money. One day it might be worth something again!”

“Today, too many workers spend their time trying to make their weekends meet.”

“A family vacation is when you go away with the people you need to get away from.”

“A gossip columnist is someone who uses dirt to make a mountain out of a molehill.”

“How come stealing from one book is plagiarism, but stealing from many is research?”

“These days, the only time politicians tell the truth is when they call each other a liar.”

“The psychiatrist’s office is where you say what you think and be told what you mean.”

“The U.N. is a place where governments opposed to free speech demand to be heard!”

“Good hospitality is making your guests feel at home, even when you wish they were.”

“How come we choose from just two people for President, and fifty for Miss America?”

“The suburbs are where they cut down all the trees and then name streets after them!”

“Most bosses never lift a finger at work, unless it’s to point out something you did wrong.”

“Ever notice how random chance always picks you for Jury Duty, but not to win the lottery?”

“Starting a war in the name of peace is like poking a hole in a balloon to get more air into it.”

“If banks are so good with numbers, why are there always eight windows and three tellers?”

“These days the meaning of a faithful husband is one whose alimony checks arrive on time.”

“You know the Honeymoon’s over when your dog brings your slippers, and your wife barks at you!”

“Today, if you ask a car dealer to let you see something for 10 grand, he’ll show you the door!”

“A plastic surgeon’s office the only place where no one gets offended when you pick your nose!”

“Most wives are like ventriloquists: they stand there nodding while the dummy does all the talking.”

“A business executive is someone who talks golf in the office and business on the golf course!”

“If we really learned from our past mistakes, most of us would never get out of bed in the morning.”

“Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.”

“Ever notice how many government officials make their raises effective long before they ever are?”

“Political speeches are like steer horns. A point here, a point there, and a lot of bull in between”

“These days, the problem with many neighborhoods is that there’re more hoods than neighbors!”

“Today it takes more brains and effort to make out the income tax form than it does to make the income.”

“Family reunions are when relatives gather from all over to be reminded why they scattered in the first place.”

“A sense of humor is what makes you laugh at something that would make you sore if it happened to you!”

“Elections are when people find out what politicians stand for and politicians find out what people will fall for.”

“Politicians are always trying to convince you that they can solve the unemployment problem if you’ll just give them a job.”

“Most people still believe in a hard day’s work, but they also believe it should be spread out over the course of a week or two.”

“We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons…”

“Thanks to the new welfare bill, the question “Paper or plastic?” now refers to many American’s sleeping arrangements!”

“Prison inmates are treated to cable TV, hot meals and a college education, while on the outside some people can only afford these things through a life of crime!”


Alfred E. Newman is the American semi-intellectuals’ philosophical comic book icon. He is not really very bright or very perceptive, but he seems to hit on problems we all have experienced, and haven’t yet put into words. Alfred, not being smart, puts his ideas into as few words as possible, and as “brevity is the soul of wit,” (Hamlet Act 2, scene 2, 86–92) he seems smart. I find that hearing a single one of these lines in a normal conversation seems quite refreshing, but reading this long list I compiled gets cloying and tedious. The brief ones are listed first and feel the most pithy, but the long ones at the bottom, although carrying more information, seem contrived, tedious and pretentiously intellectual. Perhaps there is little here in the way of a coherent philosophical point of view, but I thought some light-hearted sarcasm in the midst of the heavy philosophers would be enjoyable. After creating this page I’m not so sure.