Quotes: Becoming the Mask

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Chicanery will always make you happy
But we all know the hat is wearing me
Marilyn Manson, "Dope Hat"

Paint her in
One colour ends and one begins
Brush away what's stray
Add the finishing touch
The rapture's cold as a pearl
Now the portrait has captured the girl
— "Portrait of A Girl", in Bare: A Pop Opera

He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it.
George Orwell, Shooting an Elephant

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.

You've been in that skin-suit too long. You've forgotten. There used to be a real Margaret Blaine. You killed her and stripped her and used the skin. You're pleading for mercy out of a dead woman's lips.
The Ninth Doctor to Blon, Doctor Who, "Boom Town"

My mask is growing heavy, but I've forgotten who's beneath.
''Reclusion'', Anberlin

My name is Saul Tigh and if I die today, then that's who I'll be.
Saul Tigh, ''Battlestar Galactica

Ginny Usher didn't give a damn about Mesan goons - had even, if not perhaps to the same extent as Berry, managed to put her past life behind her. But she did care, and deeply, about the young man standing in their midst. And was probably wondering - as Thandi had sometimes wondered, about herself - how often a human being could assume a role before the role itself became the reality. Before a man, or a woman, became the golem of their own creation.
— On Victor Cachat, Crown of Slaves

Somewhere along the line, the fake life that we created as a cover for me to kill became real. It's not fake to me anymore.

Perhaps it's impossible to wear an identity without becoming what you pretend to be.

You can't break a man the way you break a dog or a horse. The harder you beat a man the taller he stands. To break a man's will, to break his spirit, you have to break his mind. Men have this idea that they can fight with dignity, that there is a proper way to kill someone. It's absurd, it's an aesthetic. We need that idea to endure the bloody horror of murder. You must destroy this idea. Show them what a messy, terrible thing it is to kill a man... And show them that you relish in it. Shoot the wound, then execute the wounded. Burn them, take them in close combat, destroy any preconceptions as to what a man is and you become their personal monster. When they fear you, you become stronger, you become better. But let's never forget, it's a display, a posture, like a lion's roar or a gorilla thumping at its chest. If you lose yourself in the display, if you succumb to the horror, you become the monster, not more of a man, but less... and it can be fatal.
The Jackal, Far Cry 2

You're Puss in Boots, the one who tricks the prince. He hides who he really is and pretends to be someone else forever. So in time he becomes that person, so his lie becomes the truth, see? He transcends the mask. Well, don't you get it? That's how he finds happiness. That's pretty good, right?
Ninamori, FLCL

Reki freed herself from the curse of the sinbound by choosing a difficult path and by being kind to the weak. This began as an act, a mercenary attempt to gain salvation, yet over time it became her true nature.

You've fooled them all into thinking that you are Caine; you've even fooled yourself.
— Duncan Michaelson, Heroes Die

Before you start, I have something to say: I came here as a patriot. I had a mission, and I carried it out. What I couldn't know is that I would come to care for the Earth and her people... That I'd come to care for all of you. I've spent the last five years torn between my feelings and my duty. I won't ask you to do the same.
Hawkgirl, Justice League

If you have so many masks, what does your true face look like?

A mask is just like a musical instrument—it reflects the character of its owner.

SO! You wish to learn the sacred art of the grapple from me, Los Tiburon? It would be my pleasure to pass along the ideals from my teachers and ancestors to another generation! ... Know this, my child, that when you wear the mask, who you were underneath is gone, and you must BECOME the mask! Let the mask give you strength, and give that strength to the mask itself!

Shock of impact ran along my arm. Jet of warmth spattered on chest, like hot faucet. It was Kovacs who said "Mother" then, muffled under latex. It was Kovacs who closed his eyes. It was Rorschach who opened them again.
Rorschach, Watchmen

I didnít want to send that email to Miss Militia because I liked those guys. That wasnít the big realization. What made me stand up and burn the envelope was the realization that I liked those guys, I was fond of them, I trusted them to have my backÖ

Yet Iíd always held myself at armís length.

It was stupid, it was selfish, but I really, desperately wanted to see what it would be like to get to know Lisa, without worrying that she would find out my scheme. Iíd like to see what it was like to interact with her without having to censor myself out of fear that Iíd provide that damning clue. I wanted to get to know Bitch and Alec better. And Brian. I wanted to be closer to Brian. I couldnít phrase it any better than that, because I didnít know if there would be any future with him beyond a simple friendship. I didnít expect there to be. It still mattered.

Gods are not like people. They are real. We are creatures of story. I stepped into your part. And now that part steps into me.
Loki, Young Avengers Vol.2, Issue #5

And the distinction between pretending you are better than you are and beginning to be better in reality is finer than moral sleuthhounds conceive.
C. S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy.

Charlie Rose: Is Walter White still out there?
Gretchen Schwartz: No he's not.
Charlie Rose: You sound very sure of that.
Gretchen Schwartz: I canít speak of this Heisenberg people refer to. But whatever he became, the sweet, kind man we once knew? Heís gone.

"The only things I care about in this world are my parents and my sister. I care about them because my whole purpose was to pretend to be Valkyrie and pretend to care about her family. Only it stopped being an act. I stopped pretending and I started caring. I love them. I'd do anything to protect them."
The Reflection/Stephanie Edgeley, Last Stand of Dead Men

But at some point, the man became incapable of distinguishing his performance from his person.
Rosalind Lutece, Bioshock Infinite

The thought [to try and be myself] was terrifying. I'd spent so long hiding behind masks I was no longer sure there was a genuine Ciaphas underneath them any more, just a quivering little bundle of self-interest.
Commissar Cain, For the Emperor

It's too late—I have cast myself into my mould. I wore vice like clothing, now it is stuck to my skin. I am truly a ruffian, and when I joke about people like me, I feel serious as Death in the middle of my gaiety. To kill Tarquin, Brutus played the madman, and what surprises me now is, he didn't lose his mind at that game. Learn from me, Philippe, here's what I have to say to you—don't work for your country.
Victor Hugo, Lorenzaccio.

    real life 
We are what we do.
Erich Fromm

People think that a liar gains a victory over his victim. What Iíve learned is that a lie is an act of self-abdication, because one surrenders oneís reality to the person to whom one lies, making that person oneís master, condemning oneself from then on to faking the sort of reality that personís view requires to be faked...

Although Bobby [Kennedy] had been very much involved in getting us into Vietnam ó he once said we had 'every moral right' to be there ó toward the end, he saw the light, or the votes, and became a peace candidate. Also, though I donít believe in character changes, I do have a theory that if you keep giving a conservative politician liberal speeches to read, he will eventually become a liberal, and vice versa. Friends of mine who were close to Kennedy tell me that in the last months of his life, he really seemed to believe his own rhetoric, had come to identify with the poor and the dispossessed. If so, good.

One last thing: The video. It has also become controversial, mostly because of the, uh, tunnel of butts. (And yes, the tunnel of butts was indeed a bad idea. It was a very, very bad idea. Bad Taylor Swift.) But I hate the video for a different reason..."Ooh, lookit me! I'm gonna put on silly outfits! Pretend to be other pop stars, but it's still just me! Lil' ol' Taylor Swift! These costumes don't fit me!" Yes they do. You are those costumes. They are your personality. They are who you are now. You'll never "band geek" Taylor Swift again. You're the cheer captain, and...I dunno, Lorde is on the bleachers.

(realization hits) Oh God, Lorde! Where's she gonna be in five years?

When you are in the public space you'd better sound like a true believer. An actor immersed in a role is going to be better at it.
—Journalist Michael Malice on living in North Korea

"When he became stuck in his morphed form, it could be interpreted that that's how he saw himself all the time: as a Ranger. He wasn't Tommy Oliver, he became the powers. It was all he was anymore."
Linkara, interpreting Tommy's character in Power Rangers Dino Thunder.