General Culture Quotes

Cited Other Than by Author:

We will stage history the way others stage plays.

Aguirre: Wrath of God

Never eat at a place called Mom’s; Never gamble with a man called Doc; And never sleep … with a woman who’s got more problems than you’ve got.

Nelson Algren citing an old Chicago black woman

To make God laugh, tell him your plans.

Amores Perros

History has a way of rewriting itself.

Angels & Demons

Proof requires agreement on a set of axioms.

Life didn’t ask anybody to approve the guest list.


Only a cynical man would call what these people have “lives,” Wayne.

Batman Begins

The maintenance of organization in nature is not-and can not be-achieved by central management; order can only be maintained by self-organization. Self-organizing systems allow adaptation to the prevailing environment, i.e., they react to changes in the environment with a thermodynamic response which makes the systems extraordinarily flexible and robust against perturbations from outside conditions. We want to point out the superiority of self-organizing systems over conventional human technology which carefully avoids complexity and hierarchically manages nearly all technical processes. For instance, in synthetic chemistry, different reaction steps are usually carefully separated from each other and contributions from the diffusion of the reactants are avoided by stirring reactors. An entirely new technology will have to be developed to tap the high guidance and regulation potential of self-organizing systems for technical processes. The superiority of self-organizing systems is illustrated by biological systems where complex products can be formed with unsurpassed accuracy, efficiency and speed!

Christof Karl Biebracher, Gregoire Nicolis & Peter Schuster

The superior of all is the servant of all.

Black Narcissus

All men die, but only a few really live.


Creation itself might have been a bold stroke of genius, a laying down of laws. But the regular, day to day tending of the world is a messy business, more like the inspired chaos of a kitchen than the sterile precision of a chartroom, or study.

Brin, Glory Season

Once a public health program has a disease on the run, it is the program, not the disease, which will be killed.

Brown’s Law of Public Health

Erase your initials and initial your erasure.

Bureaucrat’s instructions to lesser bureaucrat

Stamp our Human Chauvinism.

button (1971)

I’m my own police.

City of Industry

In a similar spirit, the universities still not registering what pk said in the mid-1960s, the public ignoring his 1970s free internet, pk says I am my own university.The truth? I thought we were talking about a court of law. Come on, you’ve been around long enough to know that a court room is not the place to look for truth. … If you’re really looking for the truth … look for it where it is: at the bottom … of a bottomless pit.

A Civil Action

Intuition: reason in a hurry.

The Commanding Heights

Gort! Klaatu barada nikto!

The Day the Earth Stood Still

Warning: Post-Larval Must Be Very Cautious in Communicating with Larval humans.

May the best God win.

Which do you want? grandchildren? or a Baggie?

environmental sarcasm on the choices of civilization

The appearance of law must be maintained, especially when it’s being broken.

Gangs of New York (Boss Tweed)

People should know when they’re conquered.


God is dead (Nietzsche)
Nietzsche is dead (God)


I first saw that joke at the Broadway IRT: Columbia station, 116th & Broadway. My other favorite from those cream and baby blue walls went:Jesus saves
Moses invests.The law will follow the money.


By the time I learned what a monster he was, it was too late: I’d already made a down payment on some furniture.

Hitler’s Barber

It is better to be fooled than to be suspicious.

Mr. Wilcox (Howards End)

Lies run sprints, but truth runs marathons.

Michael Jackson defense team

The male is born for slaughter.

Kurdish proverb

Heal us! Heal us! Or you won’t leave here alive.

The Last Temptation of Christ

Death isn’t a door that closes; it opens.

Kazantzakis’ Jesus

Men, poor weak creatures, have not the courage to pay for their sins themselves: they place them upon one who is sinless.

Kazantzakis’ Jesus

That’s my lot: a hard one — and I like it!

Kazantzakis’ John the Baptist

When all the game in the jungle is finished, what will you target next?


Everyone should spend a couple of years in jail.

The Little Drummer Girl

I’II strive for the coming of the God who is not yet.

Lavinia, Androcles and the Lion

Good is better than Evil because it’s nicer.

Leena, Queen’a the Jungle

Be the first kid on your block to conquer the world and destroy the universe.


I hate the living.

Men in Black

“You’re a stupid man, with a stupid job, on a stupid case.”
“I get it: I’m stupid”

Robert Mitchum’s Philip Marlowe

You’re not too bright, are you? I like that in a man.

Charlotte Ramping, Farewell My Lovely

Fortunately, men are weak, bribable, so sometimes justice can be done.

Mother Courage

I’m the president of the United States. I can bomb anyone I want.

Nixon (Oliver Stone)

Unfortunately, kid, I’ve heard it all before.

[The School building, listening to Sally complain]

We have seen the enemy and he is us.


Some of us know how we came by our fortune, and some of us don’t, but we wear it all the same.

The Poisonwood Bible

I could never work out whether we were to view religion as a life-insurance policy or a life sentence.

The Poisonwood Bible

War is policy’s next step after policy has failed.

political saying

Political economy explains some of the benefits from having a homogeneous population within a given state. If diversity is great — measured say by the inequality in potential earnings — then there is a strong incentive for people to spend their energies in efforts to redistribute income rather than to produce goods. In particular, a greater dispersion of constituent characteristics leads to the creation of interest groups that spend their time lobbying the central government to redistribute resources in their favor.

PK: History takes too long.
St. John: History is never kind to those who try to hurry it.

The Power of One

The law is the real source of the state’s power. Strip away its flattering pretenses and you’ll find only raw, brutal force.

Privately Produced Law

Epistemology: a branch of philosophy that investigates the origin, nature, methods, and limits of human knowledge

Random House Unabridged

Our scars have the power to remind us that the past is real.

Red Dragon

“Did you know that there are more than five hundred religions practicing in the United States?”
“Yes. And they’re going to keep practicing until they get it right.”

Rowan & Martin

Hope is the last to die.

Russian proverb

They see only what they want to see.

The Sixth Sense

The kid says it of the dead: but doesn’t it just apply all over the place?The sooner you get behind, the more time you’ll have to catch up.

Shanghai Fortune Cookie

I’ve played the game of Shanghai for a decade now, sometimes a dozen or more games in a day. My version won’t work in OS X, but I still play it on the Mac G3. It’s supply of fortune cookies seemed to have run out years ago, I’ve been seeing only repeats: till this one appeared yesterday, I believe for the first time!Honey, lately your low self-esteem is just good common sense.


Forty messages start to look needy.


I live my life for myself. You live your life for your daughter. None of it works.


The plural of anecdote is not data.

The Straight Dope

God, Stink, I admire the Germans. They really do do things, don’t they? Bloody pity they do the wrong things.

Tapestry of Spies

Leonardo can’t have been a genius; because it he were a genius, he’d be famous.

a teacher’s son

A man always enjoys a certain feeling of mental superiority over those whose lives he knows better than they suspect.

The Three Musketeers

War: Young men dying, old men talking … Ignore the politics.

Troy‘s Odysseus

Trying to understand


Always in the right he always put himself in the wrong.

Said about H. G. Wells

If things were different … but then, they never are.

Bertie Wooster

The truth is out there.

The X Files

If you see the Buddha, kill him.

Zen master

And if you see the Zen master …To abducted priestess: Why did you choose to love a god? I think you’ll find the romance one sided.

Troy‘s Achilles


Mad Comics:
My memory of that line, from a pseudo-mail-order ad collection, is now over a half-century old. A few years ago, when I wanted a scan of a graphic from a similar pseudo-ad, I’d called the Mad offices and described what I was looking for. Ann Gaines, the widow of the original publisher came on the phone and said that my description sounded cute, but it wasn’t Mad. Trusting her to know every detail since issue #1, I had to switch my memory: “It must have been from Panic“: Mad‘s principal immitator. But, even if the above quote too in from Panic, in my book it’s still from Mad: because the former was merely mimicking the latter.

About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
This entry was posted in quotes and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s