Spectacle Quotes

Quotes tagged as "spectacle" Showing 1-30 of 38
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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tracy K. Smith
“And then I think, maybe that’s what we are. An accidental spectacle.”
Tracy K. Smith

Ashim Shanker
“Of course, there is no way to avoid being a hypocrite, even when seeking to remove oneself from the falseness of this material existence. And perhaps, this attribution of ‘falseness’ is not sufficiently accurate as a descriptor either; yet, how else is it to be articulated if something of it seems inauthentic and insincere as though existence itself were mediated through codes and objects and structures that constrained the domain of possibility, or rather relegated the notion of free will as becoming a reaction to prompts and the construct of independent action as having emerged from latent subsets of choices that presented themselves according to the dynamic interplay of obligation, code, preservation and groupthink?”
Ashim Shanker, Inward and Toward

Guy Debord
“Pirmoji ekonomikos viešpatavimo socialiniame gyve- nime fazė į bet kokios žmogaus veiklos apibrėžtį įnešė aki- vaizdų nuopuolį, nurodantį perėjimą iš būti į turėti. Dabartinė fazė, nusakanti visišką socialinio gyvenimo užgrobimą remian- tis ekonomikos pasiekimais, stumia į visuotinę kaitą nuo turėti į atrodyti, iš kurios bet koks veiksmingas „turėti“ privalo būti išreikštas visuotiniu prestižu ir aukščiausiomis pareigomis. Tuo pačiu metu bet kokia asmeninė tikrovė tampa socialine, tiesiogiai priklausančia nuo visuomeninės valdžios, kurią ji ir suformavo. Vien dėl to, kad jos nėra, jai leista pasirodyti.”
Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle

Jean Baudrillard
“In this impossibility of reapprehending the world through images and of moving from information to a collective action and will, in this absence of sensibility and mobilization, it isn't apathy or general indifference that's at issue; it is quite simply that the umbilical cord of representation is severed.
The screen reflects nothing. It is as though you are behind a two-way mirror: you see the world, but it doesn't see you, it doesn't look at you. Now, you only see things if they are looking at you. The screen screens out any dual relation (any possibility of 'response').
It is this failure of representation which, together with a failure of action, underlies the impossibility of developing an ethics of information, an ethics of images, an ethics of the Virtual and the networks. All attempts in that direction inevitably fail.
All that remains is the mental diaspora of images and the extravagant performance of the medium.
Susan Sontag tells a good story about this pre-eminence of the medium and of images: as she is sitting in front of the television watching the moon landing, the people she is
watching with tell her they don't believe it at all. 'But what are you watching, then?' she asks. 'Oh, we're watching television!' Fantastic: they do not see the moon; they see only the screen showing the moon. They do not see the message; they see only the image.
Ultimately, contrary to what Susan Sontag thinks, only intellectuals believe in the ascendancy of meaning; 'people' believe only in the ascendancy of signs. They long ago said goodbye to reality. They have gone over, body and soul, to the spectacular.”
Jean Baudrillard, The Intelligence of Evil or the Lucidity Pact

“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

Mark O'Connell
“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

Margaret Atwood
“I did not see the hanging. They hanged him in front of the jail in Toronto, and You should have been there Grace, say the keepers, it would have been a lesson to you. I've pictured it many times, poor James standing with his hands tied and his neck bare, while they put the hood over his head like a kitten to be drowned. At least he had a priest with him, he was not all alone. If it had not been for Grace Marks, he told them, none of it would have happened.

It was raining, and a huge crowd standing in the mud, some of them come from miles away. If my own death sentence had not been commuted at the last minute, they would have watched me hang with the same greedy pleasure. There were many women and ladies there; everyone wanted to stare, they wanted to breathe death in like fine perfume, and when I read of it I thought, If this is a lesson to me, what is it I am supposed to be learning?”
Margaret Atwood, Alias Grace

Tony Reinke
“Our world says that seeing is believing, but for us to behold the deep glory of the cross, we must see as God sees rather than as man sees. We treasure what is invisible and that is perhaps the greatest source of the spectacle tension in this age and of the Christian life. The great spectacle of Christ crucified is a spectacle for the ear, not a spectacle for the eye. For faith comes not by seeing, but by hearing. p. 85”
Tony Reinke, Competing Spectacles: Treasuring Christ in the Media Age

“We live in the society of the capitalist spectacle, mate, the more spectacular the better. Build it and they will come, as that old baseball movie says. We worship the event, the occasion, the unmissable show. We want Super Sunday, the Thriller in Manila, the showdown of the century…the things that bring the highest profits for the capitalist organisers. If you’re not at the event, you’re nobody. Life has passed you by. That’s the tyranny of the spectacle. Yet, if you think about it, the spectacle is the biggest joke of all – because all the people at the event are desperate not to be losers. Who wants to be in a collection of people fleeing from fear of failure? Losers and the spectacle go together, the winners performing and the losers watching. The spectacle is how losers numb the pain, how they crave to be part of something, on the winning side for once. The LLN have decided to harness the society of the spectacle too, but not the capitalist version where small groups perform to large groups and get paid a fortune. Instead, the LLN offer the spectacle of life. And Revolution is the greatest spectacle of all.”
Mike Hockney, The Last Bling King

Adam Weishaupt
“People are obsessed with spectacle. We live in the society of the spectacle. People are addicted to the spectacular. They want bigger and better spectacles. They need more and more to keep them stimulated. They crave entertainment. They crave more powerful simulations, more breathtaking special effects, more everything. No one wants POR – plain old reality. Simulation – hyperreality – the simulacrum – these are what the people desire. We all live in Disneyland now – an utter fantasy world. Our true God is Mickey Mouse. At least he’s a lot nicer than Yahweh.”
Adam Weishaupt, Hypersex

Jean Baudrillard
“It is the same with text, with any 'virtual' text (the Internet, word-processing): you work on it like a computer-generated image, which no longer bears any relation to the transcendence of the gaze or of writing. At any rate, as soon as you are in front of the screen, you no longer see the text as a text, but as an image. Now, it is in the strict separation of text and screen, of text and image, that writing is an activity in its own right, never an interaction.
Similarly, it is only with the strict separation of stage and auditorium that the spectator is an actor in his/her own right.
Everything today conspires to abolish that separation: the immersion of the spectator in the spectacle, 'living theatre', 'happenings'
The spectacle becomes user-friendly, interactive. The apogee of spectacle or its end? When everyone is an actor, there is no action any longer, no scene. It's the death of the spectator as such.
The end of the aesthetic illusion.”
Jean Baudrillard, The Intelligence of Evil or the Lucidity Pact

Roland Barthes
“True wrestling, wrong called amateur wrestling, is performed in second-rate halls, where the public spontaneously attunes itself to the spectacular nature of the contest, like the audience at a suburban cinema.”
Roland Barthes, Mythologies

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