Spectacle Quotes

Quotes tagged as "spectacle" (showing 1-28 of 28)
Walt Whitman
“Note, to-day, an instructive, curious spectacle and conflict. Science, (twin, in its fields, of Democracy in its)—Science, testing absolutely all thoughts, all works, has already burst well upon the world—a sun, mounting, most illuminating, most glorious—surely never again to set. But against it, deeply entrench'd, holding possession, yet remains, (not only through the churches and schools, but by imaginative literature, and unregenerate poetry,) the fossil theology of the mythic-materialistic, superstitious, untaught and credulous, fable-loving, primitive ages of humanity.”
Walt Whitman, Complete Prose Works

Guy Debord
“Spectacle is the sun that never sets over the empire of modern passivity”
Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle

Timothy Snyder
“Believe in truth. To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.”
Timothy Snyder

Criss Jami
“Controversy is a last resort for the talentless.”
Criss Jami, Healology

Guy Debord
“This society eliminates geographical distance only to produce a new internal separation.”
Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle

Eric Hoffer
“Glory is largely a theatrical concept. There is no striving for glory without a vivid awareness of an audience... The desire to escape or camouflage their unsatisfactory selves develops in the frustrated a facility for pretending -- for making a show -- and also a readiness to identify themselves wholly with an imposing spectacle.”
Eric Hoffer, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements

Jawaharlal Nehru
“The spectacle of what is called religion, or at any rate organised religion, in India and elsewhere, has filled me with horror and I have frequently condemned it and wished to make a clean sweep of it. Almost always it seemed to stand for blind belief and reaction, dogma and bigotry, superstition, exploitation and the preservation of vested interests.”
Jawaharlal Nehru

Comte de Lautréamont
“When one wants to be famous, one has to dive gracefully into rivers of the blood of cannon-blasted bodies.”
Comte de Lautréamont, Maldoror and Poems

René Girard
“The distance between Don Quixote and the petty bourgeois victim of advertising is not so great as romanticism would have us believe.”
René Girard, Deceit, Desire and the Novel: Self and Other in Literary Structure

Elif Shafak
“It seemed to Jahan that, in truth, this world, too, was a spectacle. One way or another, everyone was parading. They performed their tricks, each of them, some staying longer, others shorter, but in the end they all left through the back door, similarly unfulfilled, similarly in need of applause.”
Elif Shafak, The Architect's Apprentice

Charlotte Eriksson
“... and isn't the world a treasure in itself? A spectacle glittering every single day, without a concern if anyone's watching or not. It simply goes on, elegantly, letting nature have its way.
We only need to open our eyes to witness the biggest masterpiece ever created, the ticket is already in your hand.”
Charlotte Eriksson, Everything Changed When I Forgave Myself: growing up is a wonderful thing to do

Thomas Ligotti
“Unfortunately they failed to appreciate the best part of you, preferring to lose themselves in the labyrinth of your grosser illusions. Didn't I show our well-behaved audience an angelized version of you? And you saw their reaction. They were bored and just sat in their seats like a bunch of stiffs. Of course, what can you expect? They wanted the death stuff, the pain stuff. All that flashy junk. They wanted cartwheels of agonized passion; somersaults into fires of doom; nosedives, if you will, into the frenzied pageant of vulnerable flesh. They wanted a tangible thrill.

("Drink To Me Only With Labyrinthine Eyes")”
Thomas Ligotti, The Nightmare Factory

Michael Pollan
“Each spring for a period of weeks the imperial gardens were filled with prize tulips (Turkish, Dutch, Iranian), all of them shown to their best advantage. Tulips whose petals had flexed wide were held shut with fine threads hand-tied. Most of the bulbs had been grown in place, but these were supplemented by thousands of cut stems held in glass bottles; the scale of the display was further compounded by mirrors placed strategically around the garden. Each variety was marked with a label made from silver filigree. In place of every fourth flower a candle, its wick trimmed to tulip height, was set into the ground. Songbirds in gilded cages supplied the music, and hundreds of giant tortoises carrying candles on their backs lumbered through the gardens, further illuminating the display. All the guests were required to dress in colors that flattered those of the tulips. At the appointed moment a cannon sounded, the doors to the harem were flung open, and the sultan's mistresses stepped into the garden led by eunuchs bearing torches. The whole scene was repeated every night for as long as the tulips were in bloom, for as long as Sultan Ahmed managed to cling to his throne.”
Michael Pollan, The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World

David J. Schow
“Suppose every photo of me ever taken was an infinitesimal piece? Every magazine ad, every negative, every frame of motion picture film - another tiny molecule of me, stolen away to feed an audience that is *never* satiated. And when someone is fully consumed - vampirized - they move on, still hungry, to pick their next victim by making him or her a star. That's why they're called consumers. ("Red Light")”
David J. Schow, Seeing Red

Benjamin Franklin
“Some guns were fired to give notice that the departure of the balloon was near. ... Means were used, I am told, to prevent the great balloon's rising so high as might endanger its bursting. Several bags of sand were taken on board before the cord that held it down was cut, and the whole weight being then too much to be lifted, such a quantity was discharged as would permit its rising slowly. Thus it would sooner arrive at that region where it would be in equilibrio with the surrounding air, and by discharging more sand afterwards, it might go higher if desired. Between one and two o'clock, all eyes were gratified with seeing it rise majestically from above the trees, and ascend gradually above the buildings, a most beautiful spectacle. When it was about two hundred feet high, the brave adventurers held out and waved a little white pennant, on both sides of their car, to salute the spectators, who returned loud claps of applause. The wind was very little, so that the object though moving to the northward, continued long in view; and it was a great while before the admiring people began to disperse. The persons embarked were Mr. Charles, professor of experimental philosophy, and a zealous promoter of that science; and one of the Messrs Robert, the very ingenious constructors of the machine.

{While U.S. ambassador to France, writing about witnessing, from his carriage outside the garden of Tuileries, Paris, the first manned balloon ascent using hydrogen gas by Jacques Charles on the afternoon of 1 Dec 1783. A few days earlier, he had watched the first manned ascent in Montgolfier's hot-air balloon, on 21 Nov 1783.}”
Benjamin Franklin, Writings: The Autobiography / Poor Richard’s Almanack / Bagatelles, Pamphlets, Essays & Letters

Ralph Waldo Emerson
“My life is for itself and not for a spectacle.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance and Other Essays

Milan Kundera
“What does it mean to demonstrate in the streets, what is the significance of that collective activity so symptomatic of the twentieth century? In stupefaction Ulrich watches the demonstrators from the window; as they reach the foot of the palace, their faces turn up, turn furious, the men brandish their walking sticks, but “a few steps farther, at a bend where the demonstration seemed to scatter into the wings, most of them were already dropping their greasepaint: it would be absurd to keep up the menacing looks where there were no more spectators.” In the light of that metaphor, the demonstrators are not men in a rage; they are actors performing rage! As soon as the performance is over they are quick to drop their greasepaint! Later, in the 1960s, philosophers would talk about the modern world in which everything had turned into spectacle: demonstrations, wars, and even love; through this “quick and sagacious penetration” (Fielding), Musil had already long ago discerned the “society of spectacle.”
Milan Kundera, The Curtain: An Essay in Seven Parts

Ali Smith
“She was living in a time when historically it was permissible to smile like that above the face of someone who had died a violent death.”
Ali Smith, The Accidental

Dean Cavanagh
“Spectacular sporting events are bread & circuses. The Superbowl, for instance, is anything but “super”. It is a Petri dish under the lens of mediaocrity, where surveillance of the spectators is just as mind numbing as the incomprehensible homo-erotic beefcake ballet being enacted on the pitch”
Dean Cavanagh

Jean Lorrain
“The Marquis de V... - whose falsetto voice and little watery eyes I have always detested - was saying to me with a wicked smile: 'Then again, the master gymnast might break his neck at any moment. What he is doing now is very dangerous, my dear, and the pleasure you take in his performance is the little frisson that danger affords you. Wouldn't it be thrilling, if his sweaty hand failed to grip the bar? The velocity acquired by his rotation about the bar would break his spine quite cleanly, and perhaps a little of the cervical matter might spurt out as far as this! It would be most sensational, and you would have a rare emotion to add to the field of your experience - for you collect emotions, don't you? What a pretty stew of terrors that man in tights stirs up in us!

'Admit that you almost wish that he will fall! Me too. Many others in the auditorium are in the same state of attention and anguish. That is the horrible instinct of a crowd confronted with a spectacle which awakens in it the ideas of lust and death. Those two agreeable companions always travel together! Take it from me that at the very same moment - see, the man is now holding on to the bar by his fingertips alone - at the very same moment, a good number of the women in these boxes are ardently lusting after that man, not so much for his beauty as for the danger he courts.'

The voice subtly changed its tone, suddenly becoming more interested. 'You have singularly pale eyes this evening, my dear Freneuse. You ought to give up bromides and take valerian instead. You have a charming and curious soul, but you must take command of its changes. You are too ardently and too obviously covetous, this evening, of the death - or at least the fall - of that man.'

I did not reply. The Marquis de V... was quite right. The madness of murder had taken hold of me again; the spectacle had me in its hallucinatory grip. Straitened by a penetrating and delirious anguish, I yearned for that man to fall.

There are appalling depths of cruelty within me.”
Jean Lorrain, Monsieur De Phocas

Ruth Ozeki
“Once in a while a story is spectacular enough to break through and attract media attention, but the swell quickly subsides into the general glut of bad news over which we, as citizens, have so little control.”
Ruth Ozeki, My Year of Meats

“Michel Foucault notait ainsi, à propos du regard clinique, sa "paradoxale propriété d'entendre un langage au moment où il perçoit un specatcle".”
Aleberto Castoldi

Ufuoma Apoki
“We'd rather have a grand spectacle of retribution of the 'wicked', than their silent walk towards redemption that our wishes questions the depth and nature of our love and hearts.”
Ufuoma Apoki

“The smell of hot popcorn drifted upward from the concourse below, lingering in the warm Californian air like an atmospheric irony, and a Jumbotron directly in front of me displayed a blandly handsome announcer seated behind a curved desk emblazoned with DARPA’s logo: a sports broadcast mise-en-scène from some speculative future, vaguely fascist, in which the machinery of national defense had become a spectacle of mass entertainment.”
Mark O'Connell, To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death

Eudora Welty
“It is not for nothing that an ominous feeling often attaches itself to a procession. In films and stories we see spectacles forming in the street and parades coming from around the corner, and we know to greet then with distrust and apprehension: their intent is still to be revealed.”
Eudora Welty, On Writing

Dean Cavanagh
“The future promises us all our very own Truman Shows and when every man and woman is a star the spectacle becomes auto- cannibalizing; the audience forced to watch itself due to lack of spectators”
Dean Cavanagh

Catherynne M. Valente
“When you don’t need anything anymore, the only thing you need is stories, and songs, and beauty, and spectacle. That’s the good stuff. The stuff that reminds us who we are.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Refrigerator Monologues

Susan Sontag
“Citizens of modernity, consumers of violence as spectacle, adepts of proximity without risk, are schooled to be cynical about the possibility of sincerity. Some people will do anything to keep themselves from being moved.”
Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others