Quotes: Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers!

Comic Books

"The advice to Ďkill your darlingsí has been attributed to various authors across the galaxiesÖand Mister Heist hated them all.

Why teach young writers to edit out whatever it is they feel most passionate about? Better to kill everything in their writing they DONíT love as much.

Until only the darlings remain."

Film - Live-Action

"I've committed to nothing...and that's just suicide...by tiny, tiny increments."
Nick Hornby, High Fidelity

"OK, no, listen: I've had it with that! God, who do you think you are, Rorschach? You live off people while insulting them, and nobody complains because they think you're a goddamned lunatic!"
Dan, Watchmen

"I could be a cold-hearted cynic like you, but I don't like hurting people's feelings."

Live-Action TV

"To all the people watching, I can never thank you enough for your kindness to me and Iíll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask of you is one thing: please donít be cynical. I hate cynicism ó itís my least favorite quality and it doesnít lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and youíre kind, amazing things will happen."
Conan O'Brien, in his last episode of The Tonight Show

The Doctor: You coming?
Amy Pond: No.
The Doctor: You wanted to come fourteen years ago.
Amy Pond: I grew up.
The Doctor: Don't worry. I'll soon fix that.
—- Doctor Who, "The Eleventh Hour"

Dr. Molly Clock: Perry, no one's "pure evil." I mean, yeah, some people have a hard outer shell, but inside everybody has a creamy center.
Dr. Perry Cox: There are plenty of people here on this particular planet who are hard on the outside and hard on the inside!
Clock: So they have more of a nougat-y center?
Cox: ...Lady, people aren't chocolates. Do you know what they are mostly? Bastards. Bastard coated bastards with bastard filling. But I don't find them half as annoying as I find naive bubble-headed optimists who walk around vomiting sunshine.
Clock: (rubs his tummy) I'm touching your creamy center! *leaves*
Cox: Oh, I am so very angry that I'm going to find someone to kill just to prove her wrong.
Scrubs, "My Common Enemy"

Mulder: Enough with the harmonic convergence crap, okay? Youíre not saying anything to me.
Melissa Scully: Why donít you just drop your cynicism and your paranoia and your defeat? You know, just because itís positive and good doesnít make it silly or trite!
The X-Files, "One Breath"


"A weakened mind always sees everything through a black veil. The soul makes its own horizons; your soul is dark, which is why you see such a cloudy sky."

"The idealist withdrew himself, because he could not suffer the jostling of the human crowd; he had not the strength to fight and so called the battle vulgar; he was vain, and since his fellows would not take him at his own estimate, consoled himself with despising his fellows."

"You can go wrong by being too skeptical as readily as by being too trusting."

"...sometimes we ask ourselves why happiness took so long to arrive, why it didn't come sooner, but appears suddenly, as now, when we've given up hope of it ever arriving, it's likely then that we won't know what to do, and rather than it being a question of choosing between laughter and tears, we will be filled by a secret anxiety to which we might not know how to respond at all."
Josť Saramago, The Double

"That's the problem with you sad city types. You think a place has to be boring and dull as ditch water before you accept it as real."


So when you feel your heart sink into your chest
Don't forget everything is okay in the end
We are not okay
but this is not the end yet
— "Strange Comfort", by The Color Morale

I know that being dated and over it
Is way overrated.
And that the colors of this world
Only seem faded in direct relation to the darkness with which your mind's eye is shaded,
And you made it that way.
And you can choose to change your vision's prismic range today.
Rachel Kann, "I Know This"

Video Games

Lloyd: I want a world where everyone can have a normal life. Iím tired of people having to become sacrifices. Iím tired of discrimination. Iím tired of people becoming victims. Iím tired of it all.
Tiga: You are an idealist. The worlds of Tetheíalla and Sylvarant flourish only by victimizing the others. So long as that structure remains the same, anything you say is mere sophistry.
Lloyd: Then we need to change that structure! This world was made by that Yggdrasill guy, right?! If a human or elf built this, then we should be able to change it as well!

Pit: Why are you all doom and gloom all the time, Pittoo?
Dark Pit: I think a better question is why are YOU so annoyingly cheerful?
Pit: I'm not annoying. I'm positive!
Palutena: (singing) You gotta stay upbeat, upbeat, upbeat...
Pit: (singing) Or you'll be dead meat, dead meat, dead meat...
Dark Pit: Like I said. Annoying.

Bigby: "It is better to be feared than loved." Know who said that?
Colin: Yeah, some sad asshole. Eating alone.

Web Comics

Sal: See? Just like before, you're programmed to go psycho at any provocation.
Joyce: No. Now I've grown up. Now I'm comfortable with everything about myself, down to the darkest cave. I'm not afraid of my emotions anymore.
Sal: You're nothing but a naive, pathetic little girl.
Joyce: You're the little girl, Sal.
Sal: How dare
Joyce: I don't know how to explain... it's like there was this voice. Inside me... it told me you're better than me. Once upon a time, you might have been. But you never changed -- I have.

Web Original

"I have previously stated my attraction to the idea of keeping oneís politics childish... no matter how many jaded adults remind you that nobody ever said life was fair. Because, you see, thatís a lie. They did. They did tell us that life was fair. Repeatedly. They still do. Every day. On TV, in films, in books, in newspapers—they tell us that life is fair over and over again, in happy ending after happy ending, in fictional moral victory upon fictional moral victory, in reassuring news story after reassuring news story, in editorial after thinkpiece after review. Itís only when we express anger at injustice that we are dishonestly told that justice is an unreasonable expectation."

"Defeatism is fool-proof. You can't control a positive outcome, but you can ensure a negative one simply by giving up and surrendering. Thus the ego is protected...Just as the skeptics and debunkers were seen as passe and old-fashioned by the Nu Atheists, so to will the atheists be seen by the inevitable rise of the Nihilist, the terminus of the culture of defeat."

"The Saward era, if only in hindsight, is almost overtly an attempt to figure out what Doctor Who should be like in the wake of the Falklands and Thatcher. It gets it dreadfully wrong much of the time, however. In part this is because it concedes the point and tries to be Doctor Who in a Thatcherite world. Whereas here Bidmead just wonít have it. He starts in a world of militaristic institutions holding back the tide of chaos, then has the Doctor just kick the premise to the curb and change the world into one in which good old-fashioned 'tear down the structures of society and leave smart, good people behind to rebuild it' is the order of the universe once again.

Itís a small thing... But itís significant — a spiritual escape act. Instead of bending towards Thatcherite hell the universe now takes a last minute swerve into rebirth."
Dr. Phil Sandifer on Doctor Who (""Frontios")

"Optimism is believing that going out in the world and doing things is worthwhile. Itís the cynics who stay home and do nothing. This is why the most cynical hipsters among us are also the most unemployed. This is why Iíve grown to find cynicism so frustrating ó cynicism doesnít cause inaction. The desire for inaction causes cynicism. And so you fight to defend your cynicism tooth and nail."
Jason Pargin aka "David Wong"

"We all want to be the smirking protagonist who canít be bothered to get passionate or incensed about anything. Responding to all problems with a 'hmph' as they strut away casually. Iím looking at you, all anime ever. We admire this type of character, ignoring the fact that theyíre displaying all the signs of having serious depression. Theyíre not so much rebels as they are miserable jerks.

This narrative is only encouraged by the idea that happy people are either ignorant, deluded, or just plain faking it. Cynics love to paint happiness as a two-dimensional facade, something disingenuous that should be avoided. And those who are genuinely happy are simply conforming to societal pressure. This is pretty hypocritical, as cynics themselves are often unwittingly conforming to the cool character type."

"If someone gave one of these people a cake, their first response would probably be to call the bomb squad."
Rational Wiki on Libertarians

"Crapsack worlds and anti heroes have their place. Sometimes, they are very necessary. But an endless diet of dreary cyberpunk and dark fantasy won't do us any more favors than an endless feast of glurge. I'd argue that the cynical nature of these really hurt our ability to hope and work for better. It gets us to accept the hopelessness and jaded outlook of things as 'That's the way it is. I can't change it,' and stops us from fighting when we NEED to fight."

Western Animation

"If you look for light, you will often find it. But if you look only for the dark, it is all you will ever see."

Real Life
"In the end we shall have had enough of cynicism, skepticism and humbug, and we shall want to live more musically."

"What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing."

"A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin."

"You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you do not trust enough."
Frank Crane

"Men who are unhappy, like men who sleep badly, are always proud of the fact."

"Adults are just obsolete children and the hell with them."

"In a time of dismay and dread, is it admirable for filmmakers to depict pure evil? Have 9/11, suicide bombers, serial killers and kidnappings created a world in which the response of the artist must be nihilistic and hopeless? At the end of your film, after the other characters have been killed in sadistic and gruesome ways, the only survivor is the one who is evil incarnate, and we hear his cold laughter under a screen that has gone dark. Your answer, that the world is evil and therefore it is your responsibility to reflect it, is no answer at all, but a surrender."
Roger Ebert, to David DeFalco on his film Chaos.

"The next real literary 'rebels' in this country might well emerge as some weird bunch of anti-rebels, born oglers who dare somehow to back away from ironic watching, who have the childish gall actually to endorse and instantiate single-entendre principles... These anti-rebels would be outdated, of course, before they even started. Dead on the page. Too sincere. Clearly repressed. Backward, quaint, naive, anachronistic. Maybe that'll be the point. Maybe that's why they'll be the next real rebels. Real rebels, as far as I can see, risk disapproval."

"Iíll take an earnest person over a hip person every time, because hip is short-term. Earnest is long-term. Earnestness is highly underestimated. It comes from the core, while hip is trying to impress you with the surface."
Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman

"I think the mirror should be tilted slightly upward when it`s reflecting life ó toward the cheerful, the tender, the compassionate, the brave, the funny, the encouraging, all those things ó and not tilted down to the gutter part of the time, into the troubled vistas of conflict."
Greer Garson

"The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were."

"Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so."
Noam Chomsky

"Donít be afraid to be a fool. Remember, you cannot be both young and wise. Young people who pretend to be wise to the ways of the world are mostly just cynics. Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics donít learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us. Cynics always say no. But saying yes begins things. Saying yes is how things grow. Saying yes leads to knowledge. "Yes" is for young people. So for as long as you have the strength to, say yes."

"It's hard to argue against cynics - they always sound smarter than optimists because they have so much evidence on their side."
Molly Ivins

"Cynicism is not realistic and tough. It's unrealistic and kind of cowardly because it means you don't have to try."
Peggy Noonan, Good Housekeeping

"Cynicism isn't smarter, it's only safer."

"The cynic is one who never sees a good quality in a man and never fails to see a bad one. He is the human owl, vigilant in the darkness and blind to the light, always pursuing vermin and never hunting noble game."
Henry Ward Beecher