"In the picture the face is terribly smashed with blows, swollen, covered with terrible, swollen, and blood-stained bruises, the eyes open and squinting; the large, open whites of the eyes have a sort of dead and glassy glint...Looking at that picture, you get the impression of nature as some enormous, implacable, and dumb beast, or, to put it more correctly, thought it may seem strange, as some huge engine of the latest design, which has senselessly seized, cut to pieces, and swallowed up—impassively and unfeelingly–a great and priceless Being...The picture seems to give expression to the idea of a dark, insolent, and senselessly eternal power, to which everything is subordinated, and this idea is suggested to you unconsciously."
—Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Idiot, 1869
He lies in his grave
and I know not where
Though I keep asking people
Perhaps the poor child
Lies in a rough ditch
and instead he could have been
lying in his warm bed
—from a mid-15th-century Polish folk song of the Opole region
"However, I stand for 8–10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to 4 hours?"
—Donald Rumsfeld, handwritten note on torture memo, 2002
"Why didn't I know about this?"—George W. Bush, Decision Points, 2011
"That is what Paul West, novelist, had written about, page after page after page, leaving nothing out; and that is what she read, sick with the spectacle, sick with herself, sick with a world in which such things took place, until at last she pushed the book away and sat with her head in her hands. Obscene! she wanted to cry but did not cry because she did not know at whom the word should be flung: at herself, at West, at the committee of angels that watches impassively over all that passess. Obscene because such things ought not to take place, and then obscene again because having taken place they ought not to be brought into the light but covered up and hidden forever in the bowels of the earth, like what goes on in the slaughterhouses of the world, if one wants to save one's sanity."
—J.M. Coetzee, Elizabeth Costello and the Problem of Evil in Salmagundi, 2003