Sometimes cynicism is the last refuge of the idealist.
— L.E. Modesitt, Jr., The Ethos Effect
"Fighting for the little guy is for suckers. We all do it once in a while, but the trick is to get in and out quickly without getting involved. That's one trick I never really mastered."
"Ha. 'Legendary guardian'? I was just a boy. A boy about your age, actually. I wanted to change the world too — but I changed nothing. That is my story."
—Auron, Final Fantasy X
Woman in alley: Thank you! Thank you! That thing was going to kill me!
Spike: Well, what did you expect? Out alone in this neighborhood — I've got half a mind to kill you myself, you half-wit.
Woman in alley: What?
Spike: I mean honestly, what kind of retard wears heels like that in a dark alley? Take two steps and break your bloody ankle.
Woman in alley: [annoyed] I was just trying to get home.
Spike: Well, get a cab, you moron, and on the way, if a stranger offers you candy, don't get in the van!
— Angel, "Soul Purpose"
John McClane: You know what you get for being a hero? Nothin'. You get shot at. You get a little pat on the back, blah, blah, blah, attaboy. You get divorced. Your wife can't remember your last name. Your kids don't want to talk to you. You get to eat a lot of meals by yourself. Trust me, kid, nobody wants to be that guy.
Matt Farrell: Then why you doing this?
John McClane: Because there's nobody else to do it right now, that's why. Believe me, if there were somebody else to do it, I'd let them do it, but there's not. So we're doing it.
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
What if I told you it doesn't help? What would you do if you found out that none of it matters? That it's all controlled by forces more powerful and uncaring than we can conceive and they will never let it get better down here? What would you do?
— Gunn, Angel
I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, "Wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them?" So now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe.
— Marcus Cole, Babylon 5
Liara: So tell me, Shepard, what are you fighting for?
Shepard: I guess I'm fighting for us. All of us.
Liara: That's a pretty big responsibility.
Shepard: People are messy, awkward, sometimes selfish and cruel. But they're trying, and I'm going to make sure they have a chance.
I'm no hero. Never was, never will be. Just an old killer, hired to do some wet-work.
— Solid Snake, Metal Gear Solid
Do not be deceived, Wormwood. [Satan's] cause is never more in danger, than when a human, no longer desiring, but intending, to do our Enemy [God]'s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.
— The Demon Screwtape, The Screwtape Letters
The future is an inherently good thing. And we move into it one winter at a time. Things get better one winter at a time. If you're going to celebrate anything, then have a drink on this: The world is, generally and on balance, a better place to live this year than it was last year.
— Spider Jerusalem, Transmetropolitan
Hey! Mother Theresa! I was gonna do it anyway. I just hate being lectured.
— Gene Ryack, Air America
Marston: Escuella was always a torn man. A cynic who desperately wanted to be a romantic.
Abraham: Whereas you, John, are a romantic who wants to be a cynic.
Arthur: I did build a stronghold. Kaamelott, they call it. I sought and hired knights in the whole kingdom; in Caledonia, in Carmelid, in Gaunes, in Vannes, in Wales; I ordered a big table, to have the knights sitting together; I ordered it round, to prevent having a knight sitting in a corner, or at the end of it; it was complicated, so I tried to explain what was the Grail, to make sure everyone understand; it was hard, so I tried to laugh, to make sure nobody got bored; I failed; but I don't want anyone to say that I did nothing. Because it's not true.
Renate: A Knight in Shining Armor did nothing for nobody. He never fought. A knight in dented, scraped armor, now that's what you want.
— Nancy Drew: The Haunting of Castle Malloy
"Tough cop, whore from the slums, true love—love that overcomes a powerful curse. A fairy tale... In a world dominated by scorn and meanness, a world full of bandits and murderers, true love can still work wonders. Lost causes are worth the struggle. A fairy tale..."
— Geralt, The Witcher
Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds: I had a good day.
Simon Tam: You had the Alliance on you, criminals and savages. Half the people on the ship have been shot or wounded including yourself, and you're harboring known fugitives.
Mal: We're still flying.
Simon: That's not much.
Mal: It's enough.
"A sword is a weapon. The art of swordsmanship is learning how to kill. That is the truth. What Miss Kaoru says is sweet and innocent talk that only those whose hands have never been stained with the blood of men can believe. But to tell you the truth, I much prefer Miss Kaoru's sweet and innocent talk over the truth, that I do."
Himura Kenshin, Rurouni Kenshin
You have to be pretty goddamn tough to be an optimist, and you have to be an asshole to stay completely apathetic. Find the middle ground. It's the best you can do.
A good game's gonna have both. In a good game, you fight for a dozen reasons, against men with similar drives and goals. You play politics, you fuck up. You try to do good, but often settle for trying not to make things any worse. You do your best, and hope that's enough.
And then one day you're on patrol, fighting in a war you've forgotten the reasons for, on a side that you can't say for sure is better than any other, and you come to a town. Someone's been there first. The men are dead. The children are crying. The women have been taken. And you remember who the hell you are, and you ride out and kick ass and bring those kids' mothers back to them.
"Stop that," he says. "That pseudo-mysterious omnipotent voice might trick the soccer moms at the local Renaissance fair, but due to my inherent cynicism it's going to take a hell of a show to convince me."
"Oh, no," she says. "You, Mr. Vantas, are a fake cynic, the worst and most tragic kind."
— The fic look up, look up