Quotes / Bread and Circuses

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    Film — Animation 

Let's all remember to follow the instructions (quietly into the microphone) oryoullbeputtosleep. And don't forget about Taco Tuesday this week!

    Film — Live-Action 

If you want to people in front of the televisions instead of rioting in the streets, you can't do it with reruns of Gilligan's Island. You know, Gilligan's Island? (hums theme) Yeah, the one with the boat.
Killian, The Running Man


The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace.
Jorah Mormont, A Game of Thrones

You can't consume much if you sit still and read books.
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

The [Shifting] Revel was a citywide debauch, a rowdy public service the duke was happy to underwrite from his treasury. There were few things like a good Revel to pull the fangs from any unrest before it had any time to fester.

“The key to the Empire maintaining control over the lands it conquered isn’t fear, my dear, it’s apathy. As long as the common people can go about their business and live their lives mostly untroubled, what do they care who their taxes go to?”

Alongside, in another prism, a hideous black demon was visible on the first plane. It growled and pranced, shaking its fist at the awestruck throng. Beyond this, a stage had been set up. A banner proclaimed the title of the piece: Colonial Treachery Overcome; actors ran about, telling the official story of the war with the aid of rubber swords and papier-mâché. Everywhere you looked smiling ladies shoved copies of Real War Stories into outstretched hands. Such was the ceaseless noise and color and confusion that it was impossible for anyone present to think straight, let alone frame a coherent argument against the war. (I saw Mandrake's hand behind much of this. It had all his attention to detail, together with the theatrically he had learned off his mate, the playwright Makepeace. A perfect combination of the crude and the subtle.)
Bartimaeus, The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Ptolemy's Gate

    Live-Action TV 

Kalik: Amusement is prohibited. It's purposeless.
Pletrac: Zarb is considering lifting that restriction. The latest thinking is that the latest outbreak of violence among the functionaries is caused through lack of amusement.

The people are hungry for more than just food: they crave distractions, and if we don't provide them, they will create their own. And their distractions are likely to end with us being torn to pieces. A royal wedding would be much safer, wouldn't you say?
Lady Olenna Tyrell, Game of Thrones ("Kissed By Fire")


I'm so happy and you're so kind
You want more money, of course I don't mind
To buy nuclear textbooks for atomic crimes
And the public gets what the public wants
—"Going Underground", The Jam

This is the future
of an illusion,
aggressive culture
of despotism.
Living fantasy
of an immortal;
the reality
of an animal.
—"Contronatura", Stereolab

I've never seen a diamond in the flesh
I cut my teeth on wedding rings in the movies
And I'm not proud of my address,
In a torn-up town, no postcode envy
But every song's like gold teeth, grey goose, trippin' in the bathroom
Blood stains, ball gowns, trashin' the hotel room,
We don't care, we're driving Cadillacs in our dreams
But everybody's like Cristal, Maybach, diamonds on your timepiece
—"Royals", Lorde

    Stand-Up Comedy 

Go back to bed, America. Your government has figured out how it all transpired. Go back to bed, America. Your government is in control again. Here. Here's American Gladiators. Watch this, shut up. Go back to bed, America. Here is American Gladiators. Here is 56 channels of it! Watch these pituitary retards bang their fucking skulls together and congratulate you on living in the land of freedom. Here you go, America! You are free to do as we tell you!

    Tabletop Games 

Citizens fear that the unknown will be worse than the known: a foreign philosophy, a strange religion, or perhaps society breaking down to anarchy...and people may be loyal to the idea, or to the ideals, of a nation or empire, even when the reality is tarnished.
GURPS Space, sidebar: "Why People Support Rotten Empires"'''

    Web Original 

100. Finally, to keep my subjects permanently locked in a mindless trance, I will provide each of them with free unlimited Internet access.
188. I will funnel some of my ill-gotten gains into urban renewal projects. Although slums add a quaint and picturesque quality to any city, they too often contain unexpected allies for heroes.
208. Members of my Legion of Terror will attend seminars on Sensitivity Training. It's good public relations for them to be kind and courteous to the general population when not actively engaged in sowing chaos and destruction.

Thanks to a little thing called The Internet, finding out if you’re about to perform for a dictator-type has never been easier. For example, you could throw their name into a search engine with the words “is maybe a dictator?” and see what comes up. Or you could use email and see if you receive any concerned emails from human rights groups with the subject line: “So I heard you’re about to perform for a dictator…“. Or, if you’re Nicki Minaj, you say “Fuck it” and perform for the dictator anyway.
DListed, "Today In Not-Great Decisions"

As you may already know, Qatar's World Cup infrastructure is being built using Moses-era slavery practices. One of the stadia will probably be in the shape of a lion with Sepp Blatter's head.
Drew Magary, "The USMNT Should Boycott The 2022 World Cup"

Every Pats fan derives SO MUCH of their own self-worth from the Patriots' perennial success. It's really a scourge too because you have all these shitheads who never left their own hometowns and who really ought to be thinking about self-betterment or at the VERY LEAST coming to the realization that they're worthless just straight sitting on top of the fucking world. Like life is just perfect when you set aside those two divorces and looming foreclosure, tie on a nice 7-beer buzz at 8am and swerve down Route 1 to Patriot Place!

Some people think the media business is tough, but think of it like teaching preschool. There's a whole range of strategies, but one of them, guaranteed to work, is walking into class every morning and handing out giant tubs of ice cream. The Fox lineup is the media equivalent of this: a giant pile of tits, explosions and football.

2013 was the year we took the Internet, with its near infinite content and potential, and decided to declare a frowning cat its God. When Grumpy Cat appeared at SXSW this year she drew a bigger crowd than some of the finest creative minds of our age. Does that worry you?

    Real Life 

Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses.
Juvenal, Satire 10.77-81

Liberty of any kind is never lost all at once.
David Hume

Today the tyrant rules not by club or fist, but disguised as a market researcher, he shepherds his flocks in the ways of utility and comfort.
Marshal McLuhran

The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.

...the rich grow more arrogant, the poor more desperate, all while the ubiquitous television set keeps showing consumers without cash how well the few live, not a wise thing to do.
Gore Vidal, Palimpsest

For instance, take this supposed big phenomenon that swept the country in the 1970s, the 'Culture of Narcissism', and the 'Me Generation' and so on. I'm just convinced that that whole thing was crafted by the public relations industry to tell mainly young people, 'Look, this is who you are—you don't care about all this solidarity and sympathy and helping people...You don't want to achieve anything, all you want to do is consume more.
Noam Chomsky, Understanding Power