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One-Tract Mind

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When a politician or other public figure has a message so important that he has to insert it into all his speeches, no matter how irrelevant to what they're supposed to be about.

Compare Author Tract and Writer on Board, which is when the people at the keyboards are prone to this. Single-Issue Wonk is an in-universe example where this is something incredibly petty.


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    Comic Books 
  • Transformers (2019): Nominus Prime just cannot shut up about overconsumption of fuel and preventing energy crises. His preoccupation with the subject is a tad understandable, considering Cybertron had only just overcome a devastating energy shortage (and a war caused in part by said shortage), but quickly gets ridiculous when he starts to lecture the Constructicons about recreational use of fuel at a party held in their honor.

    Comic Strips 
  • A Doonesbury cartoon just before the 2004 election has George W. Bush's press secretary answer every single question with "9/11". The punch line:
    "Uh, Scott, is 9-11 the answer to every question now?"
    "Yes, it's 9-11, 24-7."
    "Until when?"
    "11-2." (Election day)

    Film — Live-Action 

  • Animal Farm: Many of Napoleon's speeches end with the dire warning that "Jones will come back" if the animals do not obey whatever his latest diktat is.
  • Death on the Nile:
    • Mr. Ferguson became a socialist in university, and constantly badgers the other occupants of the titular train in this fashion... though it's mostly just his way of parading around insisting that he's better than everyone else.
    • All of Mrs. Otterbourne's theories about Linnet's murder revolve around the notion that the culprit was motivated by sexual jealousy.
  • In Kurt Vonnegut's novel Mother Night, the American Nazi Lionel Jones was thrown out of dental school because his examination papers all devolved into detailing how the teeth of Jews and black people "proved beyond question that both groups were degenerate."
  • No Coins, Please: The only thing Sheldon ever wants to talk about is his neighbor and surrogate big brother, Pete, eager to sing his praises and convince everyone around him of how cool and amazing Pete is.

    Live-Action TV 
  • David Letterman has a recurring bit where he shows a clip from "the new Osama bin Laden tape" where he talks about his Oscar picks, the Super Bowl, etc. He finishes, starts to lower the mic, then raises it again to say, "Oh, and Death to America."
  • Charlie Brooker's Newswipe - The time: February 2010, the man: David Cameron. The overriding compulsion: to use the phrase "Broken politics" at any and every opportunity. Even worse, this is a spin-off of his next favorite meme, "Broken Britain".
  • Inevitably came up a few times on The West Wing, such as in one episode where the Democrats were about to come out with their tax plan and Will, the new deputy communications director, was working with a staff of only four inexperienced interns to write tax policy into every measly statement the president or the White House was going to make in the coming days.
    Toby: Read me what you've got for the swearing in of the ambassador.
    Will: "Ambassador Stanis will help to build and sustain a new era of cooperation between the United States and Hungary, and let's please all remember that cutting capital gains taxes is a bad idea."
    Toby: ...Okay, you're gonna polish that up?
    Will: Yeah.

  • One issue of MAD featured a comic strip depicting then-recent then-President George W. Bush as a superhero. His power was that as long as he kept saying "9/11!", he was invincible.

    Web Animation 
  • In SPARKLE ON RAVEN, Milton Shake (owner and proprietor of Cooters Restaurant & Bar) always takes the opportunity to force the topic of password security into any conversation. When offered the chance to save his restaurant from foreclosure through a literal Christmas miracle, he instead uses it to wish everyone has a secure password that's different for every website they use. When asked why he does this, he explains that internet security is his actual passion in life, and that running Cooters is just a side-gig for him to spread his message.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In the Family Guy episode "It Takes a Village Idiot, and I Married One", Brian advises Lois, in her campaign for mayor, to pander to undecided voters by giving them short, simple answers. She tests out a few phrases, and when she gets the most applause with "9/11 was bad," she decides to make "9/11" the answer to all remaining questions.

    Real Life 
  • Cato the Elder, a senator of The Roman Republic and veteran of Rome's second war with Carthage, made a habit of inserting the phrase "Carthago delenda est" ("Carthage must be destroyed") or "Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam" ("Moreover, I advise that Carthage must be destroyed") into all his speeches, even on matters totally unrelated to war and foreign politics. Rome would ultimately wage a third war against Carthage a few years after his death, during which they razed the city to the ground, so in the end he got his wish.
  • The British member of parliament David Amess had a habit of insisting that Southend-on-Sea (the town he represented in parliament) should be given official city status, a comment he inserted at random into speeches he made on otherwise unrelated issues. Rather touchingly, when he was killed in a terrorist incident, Southend-on-Sea was indeed given city status as a tribute to him.
  • Polish politician Andrzej Lepper, for some time, ended all his speeches with "Balcerowicz has to leave." (For a reason.)

Moreover, we advise that Carthage must be destroyed.