Quotes / Meaningless Meaningful Words

Jerry: So Kramer, what are you going to do now?
Kramer: Do? Do? I'm doing what I do! I've always done what I do. Just doin' what I do. The way I've always done it. And the way I'll always do it.
George: Kramer... what the hell are you talking about?
Seinfeld Season 4 Episode 2 The Trip Part 2

"The songs of the dead are the lamentations of the living.
For gray-eyed Destiny now weaves apace, the first resounding note of war echoes across the land.
Movement flickered through it, like the swish of a bird across a clouded moon."

When philosophers use a word — 'knowledge', 'being', 'object', 'I', 'proposition', 'name' — and try to grasp the essence of the thing, one must always ask oneself: is the word ever actually used in this way in the language-game which is its original home? — What we do is to bring words back from their metaphysical to their everyday use.
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations

13. Use the right word, not its second cousin.

The key words in this kind of writing are 'death', 'life', 'birth', 'sun', 'moon', 'womb', 'cosmic' and 'catastrophe', and by free use of them the most banal statement can be made to sound picturesque, while what is outright meaningless can be given an air of mystery and profundity. Even the title of this book, 'The Cosmological Eye', doesn't actually mean anything, but it sounds as though it ought to mean something.
George Orwell, review of The Cosmological Eye by Henry Miller

They talk. They speak as only the French can speak, as if it is not enough for a concept to be difficult, it must be impenetrable. No two real people in the history of mankind have ever spoken like this, save perhaps for some of [Director] Catherine Breillat’s friends that even she gets bored by.

I hope that someday I can sick burn my girlfriend by telling her 'Well I guess you’re the Native American trickster spirit.' Drop the mic, I’m out.
Chris Sims and Matt Wilson on X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Alfred, probably feeling the effects of his Movie Illness, lets off a total stream of non sequiters about how there's 'no defeat in death' because 'victory comes in defending what we know is right while we still live!' (Translation pending.)

Spider-Man: He would say stuff like, "If you could do good things for other people, you had a moral obligation to do those things" and "Ever since you were a little boy, you've been living with so many unresolved things. Those things send us down a road. They make us who we are."
Cracked: That advice sounds like something my drunk uncle would say, only translated into Fortune Cookie. I think your uncle might be something of a crazy person.
Spider-Man opens and shuts his mouth several times, like he's thinking carefully about what he wants to say next.

At this point I think that [Chris] Carter is so used to the words ‘Lies’ and ‘Truth’ that he just has his characters repeat them ad nauseum until it sounds like something profound is happening. This is a particularly horrendous example. Even Gillian Anderson looks humiliated.
Joe Ford on The X-Files, "Redux"

Just about every square inch of dialogue was terrible. The engagement party was painful to sit through; everyone was speaking in platitudes (and just a note, when one character turns to another and says, "Well said" that's just the writer patting herself on the back a bit too much. It wasn't that good a line Genevieve.)
Julian Finn on Smallville, "Icarus"

I don't really know what he just said, but I think it sounded cool, so yay!

See, in the end, all we can do is look at where we are, and where we're standing, and say we will not allow this here. Over there has to stand for itself, has to speak for itself. Because it's only when over there becomes over here that we can stop this once and for all. And from now on, my eye will be right here.
Superman, Superman: Grounded (#701)

WHAT IS THAT LUNATIC TALKING ABOUT? He’s arbitrarily chosen this neighborhood to keep an eye on, but the next neighborhood, well, it’s just up a creek. That neighborhood has to 'stand for itself.' What? How hard would it really be for Superman to, say, keep an eye on both neighborhoods?

[on characterizing Ozpin] "I just made up the most nonsensical bullshit I could and took a step back and was like… Yeah, that’s it. That’s something this f-er would say."
— Fanfiction author xekstrin

As a teenager [Marcus] Borg lost his faith in God, Christ, and the Bible. But a few years after graduating from seminary, he had a number of mystical experiences which gave him a new concept of God. He says, "I realized that God does not refer to a supernatural being ‘out there’ . . . . Rather God refers to the sacred at the center of existence, the holy mystery that is all around and within us." Now if you intone these words the right way, they might sound very meaningful and profound. But really this is pretty thin soup as an understanding of God. What does Borg mean when he says, "God is more than everything and yet everything is in God"?

Darwin: Well, love is in the air. It's in your heart, in the eyes of others. It's in the way people touch, the way people talk, and it's all over the universe!
Bobert: If I understand you correctly, you have narrowed the definition of love down to "everything" and "everywhere" and "everyone". (error sound) Does not compute.

"The pretentiousness of the worst academic writing betrays it as a kind of intellectual kitsch, analogous to bad art that declares itself "profound" or "moving" not by displaying its own intrinsic value but by borrowing these values from elsewhere. Just as a cigar box is elevated by a Rembrandt painting, or a living room is dignified by sets of finely bound but unread books, so these kitsch theorists mimic the effects of rigor and profundity without actually doing serious intellectual work. Their jargon-laden prose always suggests but never delivers genuine insight [...] To ask what this means is to miss the point. This sentence beats readers into submission and instructs them that they are in the presence of a great and deep mind. Actual communication has nothing to do with it."