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Quotes / Black-and-White Morality

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    Comic Books 
"Soon there will be war. Millions will burn. Millions will perish in sickness and misery. Why does one death matter against so many? Because there is good and there is evil, and evil must be punished. Even in the face of Armageddon I shall not compromise in this. But there are so many deserving of retribution ... and there is so little time."
Rorschach, Watchmen

Hawkeye: We were up against spaceships here. Fighting aliens who were in league with the Nazis, for God's sake. It doesn't get more black and white than that, right?
Wasp: You know what I think it means?
Hawkeye: What?
Wasp: I think it means we're officially super-heroes now.

    Film — Live-Action 
"Only a Sith deals in absolutes."
Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

"Among the Alps and Pyrenees, perhaps, there were no mixed characters. There, such as were not as spotless as an angel might have the dispositions of a fiend."

"There's no greys, only white that's got grubby."
Granny Weatherwax, Carpe Jugulum

The marvellous thing about Fantasyland is that you nearly always know exactly who your Enemy is. Everything is black and white - there is none of the greyness that afflicts enmities in our world, where you are always having to concede that there may be some good in someone you hate. Here, Enemies are always rotten bad and also out to get Tourists, quite unequivocally.

The plays were written to match this style. Simple plots and characters. Baddies were bad and goodies were good. You booed and hissed the villain and cheered for the hero.
Horrible Histories: Vile Victorians, on the typical Victorian play.

The Mafia is cloaked in one color, black. There are no shades of gray, no shreds of white. And spilling their blood is the only sure method of eradicating the black stain of their existence.
— Mack Bolan, The Executioner

    Live-Action TV 
"Two players. Two sides. One is light. One is dark."
John Locke, Lost, discussing...backgammon?

"It's terribly simple: The good guys are always stalwart and true. The bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and, uh, we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies and everybody lives happily ever after."
Giles, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Lie to Me"

"By G'Quan, I can't recall the last time I was in a fight like that! No moral ambiguity, no hopeless battle against ancient and overwhelming forces. They were the bad guys, as you say, and we were the good guys. And they made a very satisfying thump when they hit the floor."
G'Kar, Babylon 5, "A Late Delivery From Avalon"

If everyone would go for peace,
There'd be no need for war
But we can't ignore the Devil
He'll keep coming back for more
Clint Black, "Iraq and Roll"

The villain goes to jail while the hero goes free.
I wish it were that simple for me.
David Crosby, "Hero"

    Tabletop Games 
Is it possible for any creature, any living being, to be inherently evil? Such an assertion may itself facilitate the committing of evil acts. By viewing any person as inherently evil, we take away his ability to be anything else. All actions are seen as being motivated by the individual's evil. Even acts of kindness are questioned, and assumed to have ulterior motives. Thus the person is never rewarded for behaving properly. Similarly, by defining a person as evil we also give that person free rein to behave as he will. After all, he is not responsible for his evil nature and thus he feels no compunction to behave properly.
Ansolm Haas, The Isolation of Evil — an epigraph from Van Richten's Guide to the Created (Ravenloft sourcebook).

There are precious few at ease
With moral ambiguities
So we act as though they don't exist
The Wonderful Wizard Of OZ, Wicked

    Video Games 
"With the Force there are two paths — good and evil — one may take, nothing in-between. One leads to a full life, no matter the years. Justice, knowledge and compassion are both endeavors and rewards. The other is most assuredly a short path that leads to untamed power. With nothing to earn, it leads to a certain solitary end. One should choose wisely."

"I always find it's easier the see the world in black and white. Grey? I don't know what to do with grey."
Garrus Vakarian, Mass Effect 2, after reconsidering killing a traitor

    Web Animation 
"If the zombie genre were a school, Dying Light would be the good little boy who irons his uniform every morning and is the first to tattle on the rowdy boys when they start getting too self-aware and ironic."

    Web Comics 
"That woman taught me my catechism!! I thought she was a lovely old woman but she is a loathsome hag"
"Jeez, you and your binaries."
"Well it's one or the other isn't it!!"

Miko: Good morning, Master.
Gin-Jun: Good morning, Acolyte. Are you ready to do battle?
Miko: I think so, Master. But I have a question. I am not a paladin yet, so I cannot call upon the blessed power of the Twelve Gods to determine which hobgoblins are Evil. How shall I know which are fair to attack?
Gin-Jun: An excellent question, and I am pleased that you are giving these concerns the weight they deserve. It is important to remember simply that hobgoblins are usually Evil, and even those that may not be so technically still worship an Evil God, or defend an Evil social order, or grow food for Evil warriors, or give birth to Evil children. It is enough for us to destroy their Evil society, and let any who survive reflect on the path of wickedness. Never hesitate to punish Evil, or support for Evil, or tolerance for Evil.
Miko: Thank you, Master. You are wise, and I will do my best to follow your example.
The Order of the Stick, "How the Paladin Got His Scar"

    Web Original 
"The helicopter lands, leading a nearby oldster, one Hugh Palmer, to exclaim, 'Oh, thank God!' This remark proves that Hugh isn't a film critic, for out of the 'copter emerges Steve Seagal. However, it does indicate that the old-timer is a Good Guy. For in the wonderful simplicity of the world of Steven Seagal, the lyrics of the old Hercules cartoon series theme song ring true: '...People are safe when near him /only the evil fear him.'"
Jabootu on On Deadly Ground

"There is no gray area in Rand's philosophy. There can’t be any exceptions to the rule or qualified statements such as "The government can be a force for good, but..." No, it is either black or white, good or evil, hero or parasite. You need to be wary of any philosophy that is so simplistic or tries to so easily lump others in the 'us' or 'them' camp."
Miles Antwiler on Atlas Shrugged Part II: The Strike

"Bad people are inherently bad. Good people are justified in what it takes to stop bad people. And it's that simple. The world divides into good people, who are either smart (i.e. agree with the Doctor) or foolish (i.e. don't agree with the Doctor), and bad people, who all work for the Master. And that's just how people are. Bad people want to hurt us. And we have to stop them."
Dr. El Sandifer on Doctor Who ("The Mind of Evil")

"It’s a nice touch that the Cigarette-Smoking Man is watching a black-and-white Second World War movie. One of the primary themes of The X-Files is that the legacy of the Second World War is much more controversial than traditional historical narratives allow. Of course the Cigarette-Smoking Man likes to remember it as black-and-white."
Darren Mooney on The X-Files, "One Breath"

"Somewhere between these two sets is where you’ll find the DS9 crew with lots of shades of light and dark (some call it ambiguity) and as such the are far more interesting than the Voyager crew that have no flaws and thus are loaded with them."
Joe Ford on Star Trek: Voyager, "Living Witness"

Chris: Really though, how much of an asshole do you have to be to go “Oh, he has some of Lex’s DNA, that will surely make him evil. Fortunately he also has mine, which will definitely make him good.”
David: Genetic morality, baby! Nature, not nurture! People are either inherently good or evil, it’s not even their fault. Is Clark Calvinist or something?
Chris: I think he's just a jerk.
—Chris Sims and David Uzumeri on Smallville ("Scion")

"What Civil War gave weight and import to just comes off overly simplistic and Manichean here. The heroes are good and the government and citizens who have genuine concerns about them are easily shown to be wrong because they're being influenced by Darkseid."
Julian Finn on Smallville, "Patriot"

"If life has taught me anything, it's that people can be put into convenient boxes and have NO SHADING of any kind. Everyone knows this, except for the evil people because they are evil and only evil."

"There are only three kinds of people in Bill O’Reilly’s world: good hardworking Americans, pinheads—people who are not actually malevolent but who are too stupid to understand the way the world really works—and evildoers."

Yami: Why would you want to do that?
Anubis: What?
Yami: What's the point in destroying the world? What do you gain from it?
Anubis: ...I don't understand the question.
Yami: Look, you must have some reason for wanting to destroy the world. Otherwise, this whole movie was just pointless bickering!
Anubis: Of course I have a reason!
Yami: Oh, goodie! Do you feel like sharing it with the class?
Anubis: No, it's a secret.
Yami: You're the most disappointing movie villain since General Grievous.

    Real Life 
"Every Highlander naturally knows something of the history of his own clan, but usually a good deal less about other clans, except that they were, in contrast to his own, of course, treacherous and bloodthirsty."
Fitzroy Maclean, Highlanders

"There is black and there is white, and there is wrong and there is right, and there is nothing, NOTHING in between."

"I have no empty heroes. My goodies are good, and my baddies are bad. There are no schizophrenic goodies or sympathetic baddies. And children like it that way; it's not confusing. And they want the goodies to defeat the bads."

"'But that's the point!' Is the single defense I get when I alienate myself at dinner parties by my negativity. It's supposed to be mindless, I'm told. And then those professional types who are safe in loving Star Wars where they might be attacked for reading the latest Robert Silverberg or Thomas M. Disch sf novel, explain to me as carefully as one would a retarded child, that Star Wars is a return to the worship of the Eternal Verifies: honor, truth, fighting Evil. All black and white."
Harlan Ellison, "Luke Skywalker is a Nerd and Darth Vader Sucks Runny Eggs"

"To my mind, this embracing of what were unambiguously children's characters at their mid-20th century inception seems to indicate a retreat from the admittedly overwhelming complexities of modern existence. It looks to me very much like a significant section of the public, having given up on attempting to understand the reality they are actually living in, have instead reasoned that they might at least be able to comprehend the sprawling, meaningless, but at-least-still-finite 'universes' presented by DC or Marvel Comics."

"And some of them end up dying because I write military fiction and in military fiction, good people die as well as bad people. Military fiction in which only bad people — the ones the readers want to die — die and the heroes don't suffer agonizing personal losses isn't military fiction: it's military pornography."

"To the primitive mind, everything is either friendly or hostile; but experience has shown that friendliness and hostility are not the conceptions by which the world is to be understood."
Bertrand Russell, Mysticism and Logic

"Ultimately, not Christ, not Marx, not Freud, despite the pretensions of each, has the final word to say about the fact of being human. And those who take solemnly the words of other men as absolute are, in the deepest way, maiming their own sensibilities and controverting the evidence of their own senses in a fashion which may be comforting to a terrified man but is disastrous to an artist."
Gore Vidal, "Norman Mailer: The Angels are White"

"The principle of the movement is whoever is not included is excluded, whoever is not with me is against me, so the world loses all its nuances, and pluralistic aspects that have become too confusing for the masses."
Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

"What we are looking at is good and evil, right and wrong."
George H. W. Bush, speech made at Pearl Harbor, October 28, 1990


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