This is the future
of an illusion,
of an immortal;
of an animal.
— Stereolab, "Contronatura"
"Let's all remember to follow the instructions (quietly into the microphone) oryou'llbeputtosleep. And don't forget about Taco Tuesday this week!"
"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? (Killian hums theme from Gilligan's Island) Yeah, the one with the boat."
“The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends,” Ser Jorah told her. “It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace.” He gave a shrug. “They never are.”
— Ser Jorah Mormont, "A Game of Thrones"
"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?"
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.
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
“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.”
"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
Citizens fear that the unknown will be worse than the known: a forgein philosphy, a strange religion, or perhaps society breaking down to anarchy. [...]Many people fear that a new government would cost them jobs or personal power; in a corrupt regime, they may have good reason to afraid of justice. [...]People who are used to obeying the law often have a hard time changing their habits when the law becomes oppressive. [...]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"
"We've given a cat a media empire complete with endless merchandise, a New York Times Bestseller, an agent and a movie deal that will no doubt produce a film on par with the classic Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties, the Casablanca of movies about cats with a single personality trait... 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? Because it damn well should."
—Topless Robot, 2013's "Worst Moments in Nerdery"
"I think the Reagan administration was sort of a peek into the future...Here's a brilliant thought that nobody had ever had before, as far as I know: let's make elections completely symbolic activities. The population can keep voting, we'll give them all the business, they'll have electoral campaigns, all the hoopla, two candidates, eight candidates—but the people they're voting for will then just be expected to read off a teleprompter and they won't be expected to know anything except what somebody tells then, and sometime snot even that."
—Noam Chomsky, Understanding Power