Saturday, January 28, 2006

Terry Pratchett Quotes

I'm feeling kind of petulant of late and not much like sharing my thoughts. Part of that comes from having spent too much time laying around being sick and/or injured lately probably. Anyway, as a bit of filler for my loyal readers, here are some quotes from one of my most-read authors, Terry Pratchett.

On Government and Politics:

  • Ankh-Morpork had dallied with many forms of government and had ended up with that form of democracy known as One Man, One Vote. The Patrician was the Man; he had the Vote.
  • Lord Vetinari won't stop at sarcasm. He might use...irony.
  • He did of course sometimes have people horribly tortured to death, but this was considered to be perfectly acceptable behavior for a civic ruler and generally approved of by the overwhelming majority of citizens. [Footnote: The overwhelming majority of citizens being defined in this case as everyone not currently hanging upside down over a scorpion pit]
  • The Patrician was a pragmatist. He never tried to fix things that worked. Things that didn't work, however, got broken.
  • Taxation, gentlemen, is very much like dairy farming. The task is to extract the maximum amount of milk with the minimum amount of moo. And I am afraid to say that these days all I get is moo.
  • It’s amazing how good governments are, given their track record in almost every other field, at hushing up things like alien encounters. One reason may be that the aliens themselves are too embarrassed to talk about it. Representatives of several hundred space-going races have taken to hanging out, unsuspected by one another, in rural corners of the planet and, as a result of this, keep on abducting other would-be abductors. The planet Earth is now banned to all alien races until they can compare notes and find out how many, if any, real humans they have actually got. It is gloomily suspected that there is only one - who is big, hairy, and has very large feet. The truth is out there, but lies are in your head.
  • On the fifth day the Governor of the town called all the tribal chieftains to an audience in the market square, to hear their grievances. He didn't always do anything about them, but at least they got heard and he nodded a lot, and everyone felt better about it at least until they got home. This is politics.
On War and the Military:

  • The sergeant put on the poker face which had been handed down from NCO to NCO ever since one proto-amphibian told another, lower-ranking proto-amphibian, to muster a squad of newts, and Take That Beach!
  • The consensus seemed to be that if really large numbers of men were sent to storm the mountain, then enough might survive the rocks to take the citadel. This is essentially the basis of all military thinking.
  • Winners never talk about glorious victories. That’s because they're the ones who see what the battlefield looks like afterwards. It’s only the losers who have glorious victories.
On Religion and the Afterlife:

  • The Gods Of The Disc have never bothered much about judging the souls of the dead, and so people only go to hell if that’s where they believe, in their deepest hearts, that they deserve to go. Which they can't do if they don't know about it. This explains why it is important to shoot missionaries on sight.
  • What our ancestors would really be thinking, if they were alive today, is: "Why is it so dark in here?"
  • When you hit your thumb with an 8-pound hammer, it’s nice to be able to blaspheme. It takes a very strong, special minded atheist to jump up and down, with their hand clasped under their other armpit and shout "Oh random fluctuations in the space time continuum!"

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