When you look with your eyes,
Everything seems nice,
But, if you look twice,
You can see it's all lies.
— Lily Allen, "LDN"
There was a factory
Now there are mountains and rivers
You got it, you got it
We caught a rattlesnake
Now we got something for dinner
We got it, we got it
There was a shopping mall
Now it's all covered with flowers
You've got it, you've got it
If this is paradise
I wish I had a lawnmower
— Talking Heads, "(Nothing But) Flowers"
The hundred million self-confident German masters were to be brutally installed in Europe, and secured in power by a monopoly of technical civilization and the slave-labor of a dwindling native population of neglected, diseased, illiterate cretins, in order that they might have leisure to buzz along infinite Autonbahnen, admire the Strength-Through-Joy Hostel, the Party Headquarters, the Military Museum and the Planetarium which the Fuhrer would have built in Linz (his new Hitleropolis), trot round local picture galleries, and listen over their cream buns to endless recordings of The Merry Widow. This was to be the German Millenium, from which even the imagination was to have no means of escape.
— Hugh Trevor-Roper, on the world Hitler intended to create.
"Talk! What's going on in this candy coated heart of darkness?!"
"The world that so enchanted me was rotten to the core"
— Atrus, Myst: The Book of D'ni
Rung: You're saying the more outwardly peaceable and well-adjusted a society, the greater the likelihood-
Rewind: Of it having a sinister underbelly. Yup.
Skids: Even Lovetopia, off Rigel VII?
Rewind: Lovetopia? Please. The Lovetopian elite were selling the lower classes to the Macerators. The 'magic ingredient' in every pint of Yum Yum Juice? An impoverished family of six.
Skids: Cuddlex, in the Benevolon Sector?
Rewind: A wonderful place for a vacation—if you ignore the fact that they breed haemoslaves to fight in service to the Antigod. And don't even get me started on the living hell that is Giggleopolis.
"A paradise deep in the fog. Clear the dog, and you will be surrounded by more happiness. Head for the Tree of Eden with the fruit of paradise in hand."
—A tablet in Eden, La-Mulana
"Welcome to the paradise of the eternally lost. In times past, this place was called Eden. Now it is an accursed site of war, where vengeful spirits are lost, wandering the paths of life. Those who enter Eden, do not make light of this place."
—The same tablet, after the relevant puzzle is completed
The more gentle and nice we make it look, the more vicious the story can be.
"But how can we enjoy the bright sunshine when we know the terror that lurks beneath the game? It's not fooling us anymore. We have seen what it becomes. YOU ARE ALL DEMONS! You are all horrible demons and I hate you, walking monsters! Go! Expire! Away, away from us! You wretched demons! You won't take me! Stop your cheery lies! STOP YOUR CHEERY LIES!"
"Think about how many laws have to not exist in that universe for this show to happen. It's apparently legal for a person or corporation to imprison a person, as long as you feed him. It's legal to film and record someone without his knowledge. It's legal to defraud a person out of literally every possible thing he could have in his life, from a real marriage to a real career. If it can be done to Truman, it can be done to anyone, including you. It's as much an 'anything goes' society as The Road Warrior."
"In The Noonday Demon, Andrew Solomon makes the point that depression sufferers see the world, their own circumstances and failings, more accurately than healthy people—positing thus that perhaps optimism is the defining characteristic of the human condition...Millennial advertising actively addresses and discards that we are facing The Sixth Extinction, the one brought on by ourselves, in which the seeds of our own destruction were sown through our need for progress, as Western Civilization turned out to be nothing more than a march to annihilation, one towards which we have been hurtling for thousands of years—today is actually pretty great!
Perhaps 'Pretty Great' itself performs Solomon’s point, pandering as it does to the millennial optimism of millions of young people who see not the world as it is but as it is on the selective reality of their Facebook feeds—on what they see right now. Our doom is programmed in the optimism that is the defining characteristic of our human condition. Thus our doom is programmed in us. We were meant to be this way. We were meant to end the world. Woo-hoo!"
—Maya Gurantz, "Don't Be Sad, Millennials: Today Is Actually Pretty Great! (P.S. You're All Going To Die)"