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Quotes / Head-in-the-Sand Management

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"The people who control institutions care first and foremost about their power within the institution rather than the power of the institution itself. Thus, they would rather the institution 'fail' while they remain in power within the institution than for the institution to 'succeed' if that requires them to lose power within the institution."
Jonathan Schwartz, "Iron Law of Institutions"

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    Comic Books 
"You want to confront evil? Then get us the hell to the U.N.—NOW! You saw Superman! You saw an anger that could twist steel! If what happens next happens the only way it can... And you let it... that is evil."
Pastor Norman McCay to The Spectre, realizing the need to calm down Superman's Unstoppable Rage, Kingdom Come

    Film — Live-Action 
"There are no Nazis in Germany, didn't you know that? The Eskimos invaded Germany and took over, that’s how all those terrible things happened. It wasn’t a fault of the Germans, it was the fault of those damned Eskimos."
Col. Lawson, Judgment at Nuremberg

[Reading a copy of TIME] "Sir Robert Thompson, who led the victory over Communist guerrillas in Malaya, is now a RAND Corporation consultant recently returned to Vietnam to sound out the situation for President Nixon. He told the president last week that things 'felt much better and smelled much better over there.'" How do they smell to you, soldier?"
Col. Walter E. Kurtz, Apocalypse Now (Redux)

Anchor: Why do you think the city has been so slow to acknowledge this national emergency?
Ned Weeks: You're implying the city has acknowledged it's a national emergency. It has not.
Anchor: Why do you think that is?
Weeks: Because the Mayor's gay and he's scared shitless out of his panties that it's not gonna blow over.

King Arnulf: Now, I know what some of you must be thinking... the day has come.... we're all going down, etc. etc. But let's get away from the fantasy and look at the facts. Fact One - The threat of total destruction has kept the peace for one thousand years. Fact Two - The chances of it failing now are therefore one in three hundred and sixty-five thousand. Fact Three..."
(By this time the water is up to people's knees, and several have crowded onto the lower steps to avoid getting wet.)

Commander Murdock: Lieutenant, how would you handle this?
Lieutenant Pervis: We could try ignoring it, sir.
Commander Murdock: I see... Pretend nothing has happened and hope everything turns out alright in the morning.

"If Snape gets hold of the Stone, Voldemort's coming back! Haven't you heard what it was like when he was trying to take over? There won't be any Hogwarts to get expelled from! He'll flatten it, or turn it into a school for the Dark Arts! Losing points doesn't matter anymore, can't you see? D'you think he'll leave you and your families alone if Gryffindor wins the house cup?"

"Instead of adapting, their leaders clung to power and strove instead to be the last ones to starve to death. The Mayan civilization in South America did the same, and I expect our own civilization will do likewise."
Daniel Suarez, Freedom™

    Live-Action TV 
"There ain't nothing you fear more than a bad headline, is there? You'd rather live in shit than let the world see you work a shovel."
Daniels to Deputy Burrell, The Wire

"Three years. For three years, I warned you this day was coming, but you would not listen. Pride, you said; presumption. And now the Shadows are on the move. The Centauri and the younger worlds are at war; the Narns have fallen; even the humans are fighting one another! The pride was yours; the presumption was yours. For a thousand years, we have been awaiting the fulfilment of prophecy, and when it finally happens, you scorn it, you reject it, because you no longer believe it yourselves. 'We stand between the candle and the star, between the darkness and the light.' You say the words, but your hearts are empty, your ears closed to the truth. You stand for nothing but your own petty interests. 'The problems of others are not our concern.' I do not blame you for standing silent in your shame. You, who knew what was coming, but refused to take up the burden of this war. If the Warrior Caste will not fight, then the rest of us will. If the Council has lost its way, if it will not lead, if we have abandoned our covenant with Valen, then the Council should be broken... as was prophesied."
Delenn, Babylon 5, "Severed Dreams"

Lethke: The other League Worlds are worried about your decision to attack Z'Ha'Dum. They believe that in doing so, you will only provoke a deadly response.
Delenn: The response is coming either way. The Shadows will strike again soon. We have nothing more to lose.
Lethke: Unfortunately, people never believe they have nothing more to lose until they've already lost it.

"The official position of the State is that a global nuclear catastrophe is not possible in the Soviet Union. They told the Germans that the highest detected level of radiation was 2000 roentgennote . They gave them the propaganda number. That robot was never going to work."
Boris Shcherbina, Chernobyl

Bernard: I'm sorry, but what are we going to do help them?
Richard: Nothing.
Bernard: But what if St. George's appeals to us?
Richard: Well we give them every support, short of help.
Bernard: What if the Prime Minister insists we help them?
Humphrey: Then we follow the Four Stage Strategy.
Bernard: What's that?
Richard: Standard Foreign Office response in a time of crisis. In Stage One we say nothing is going to happen.
Humphrey: Stage Two, we say something may be about to happen, but we should do nothing about it.
Richard: In Stage Three, we say that maybe we should do something about it, but there's nothing we can do.
Humphrey: Stage Four, we say maybe there was something we could have done, but it's too late now.
Yes, Prime Minister, "A Victory For Democracy"

"It's the economy, it's really bad, na na na
What do they want of me? I'm really mad, na na na
Let them eat pizza, let them eat cake
Na na na na na na na na na"
Lio, "Marie Antoinette"

"You and your Pennsylvania proprietors! Oh, you cool, considerate men! You hang to the rear on every issue so that if we should go so under, you'll still remain afloat!"

    Video Games 
Take a walk, Andrew. It is raining in Rapture... and you have simply chosen not to notice.
Sofia Lamb to Andrew Ryan, BioShock 2

Veronica: The things I've seen now - other groups succeeding where we fail. It's not too late for us.
Elder McNamara: We've outlasted the end of the world. We'll outlast these upstarts.
Veronica: Waiting in a hole for everyone to die.
Elder McNamara: If we must.
Veronica: This is a dead end for us.
Elder McNamara: I see no evidence of that. Nor do I see anyone out there with a solution to our problems.
Veronica: How could you? You're too scared to look.

"I think CEDA should have been telling us to do more than wash our hands."
Rochelle, Left 4 Dead 2

    Web Original 
"Surely a decision of such existential import rests solely on the shoulders of an all-knowing, all-seeing god, which I certainly can’t in good conscience pretend to be. Furthermore, can it even be stated that I—or any being subject to divine decree—actually possess the free will to impel myself from this chair and rescue another, or are all such outcomes preordained by the stars themselves?' At press time, Dunphy was saved from the burden of choice by a mid-afternoon shift change."

    Web Video 
"And just like most elected officials, they come into the problem too late, do absolutely nothing to solve it, and yet somehow, they take all the credit when it finally works out. You elected 'em, folks!"

    Western Animation 
"Don't quote me regulations! I co-chaired the committee to review the recommendation to change the color of the booklet that regulation's in. We kept it gray!"
Bureaucrat 1.0, Futurama

    Real Life 
"I believe the government that governs best is the government that governs least. And by these standards, we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq."
Stephen Colbert, 2006 White House Correspondents' Dinner