‘Contextomy’ refers to the selective excerpting of words from their original linguistic context in a way that distorts the source’s intended meaning, a practice commonly referred to as ‘quoting out of context’. Contextomy is employed in contemporary mass media to promote products, defame public figures and misappropriate rhetoric. A contextomized quotation not only prompts audiences to form a false impression of the source’s intentions, but can contaminate subsequent interpretation of the quote when it is restored to its original context.
-Matthew S. McGlone, "Contextomy: The art of quoting out of context." Media, Culture & Society 27, no. 4 (2005): 511-522.

See also:
McGlone, M. S. (2009). Deception by Selective Quotation. The Interplay of Truth and Deception: New Agendas in Theory and Research, 54.


"Through clever and constant application of propaganda people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way around, to consider the most wretched sort of life as paradise."
-Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, 1923.

"And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the down-stairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of a half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand? After all, you knew ahead of time that those bluecaps were out at night for no good purpose. And you could be sure ahead of time that you'd be cracking the skull of a cutthroat. Or what about the Black Maria sitting out there on the street with one lonely chauffeur - what if it had been driven off of or its tires spiked? The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt.
If .... if... We didn't love freedom enough. And even more - we had no awareness of the real situation. We spent ourselves in one unrestrained outburst in 1917, and then we hurried to submit. We submitted with pleasure! ...We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.
-Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago, 1973, page 13.

“One of the shrewdest ways for human predators to conquer their stronger victims is to steadily convince them with propaganda that they're still free...”
-Dr. N.A. Scott

"We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order."
-Attributed to David Rockefeller

"The Treaty of Rome, which brought the Common Market into being, was nurtured at Bilderberg meetings."
-George McGhee, former US Ambassador to West Germany.

“We can't be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans...that we forget about reality.”
-President Bill Clinton, quoted in USA Today, March 11, 1993, Page 2A.

"When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, The Truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.''
-Dresden James

“There does exist and has existed for a generation, an international Anglophile network which operates, to some extent, in the way the radical Right believes the Communists act. In fact, this network, which we may identify as the Round Table groups, has no aversion to cooperating with the Communists, or any other groups, and frequently does so.
I know of the operations of this network because I have studied it for 20 years and was permitted for two years, in the early 1960s, to examine its papers and secret record."
-Carroll Quigley, Georgetown University history professor, in Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time, 1966, page 950.

"It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood."
-James Madison, Federalist Paper #62

"We have 50% of the world's wealth but only 6.3% of its population. In this situation we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationship which will allow us to maintain this position of disparity...We should cease to talk about the raising of living standards, human rights and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better."
-George Kennan, State Department Director of Policy Planning, 1948.

"It is so important to understand that one of the primary means of immobilizing the American people politically today is to hold them in a state of confusion in which anything can be believed but nothing can be known, nothing of significance, that is. And the American people are more than willing to be held in this state because to know the truth- as opposed to only believe the truth- is to face an awful terror and to be no longer able to evade responsibility. It is precisely in moving from belief to knowledge that the citizen moves from irresponsibility to responsibility, from helplessness and hopelessness to action, with the ultimate aim of being empowered and confident in one's rational powers."
-E. Martin Schotz, History will not absolve us: Orwellian Control, public denial, and the murder of President Kennedy.

"The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major media."
-William Colby, former director of the CIA.

"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance--that principle is contempt prior to investigation."
-Herbert Spencer, (coined the phrase 'survival of the fittest').

"Let your life be a friction against the machine."

"He who molds public opinion is more powerful than he who makes the laws."
-Abraham Lincoln

"The most dangerous of all falsehoods is a slightly distorted truth."
-G. C. Lichtenberg

"Nothing is easier than self-deceit. For what each man wishes, that he also believes to be true."

"It goes against our nature to believe the worst, to assume that we are being deceived, or to be always on guard against such deception. Every power seeker...knows this implicitly."
-Larry Abraham

"It is not a matter of what is true that counts, but a matter of what is perceived to be true."
-Henry Kissinger

"The poison and pollution in our environment affects how clearly we see things.  We need to use our intelligence and organize our consciousness and our perceptions of reality. This is hard work, but it must be done. We are in an evolutionary reality. We are never given something we can't handle. It's about activating the thinking process, about the real value of our ability to think. I say don't believe anything the corporations hand us, whether it is TV, ads or the news as they tell us it is. I am a human, a member of a tribe, not a subject for corporate mining and exploitation. I don't trust their corporate 'democracy'. We humans must think for ourselves. That's what we need to give to the next generation."
-John Trudell

"A man will be imprisoned in a room with a door that's unlocked and opens inwards; as long as it does not occur to him to pull rather push."
-Ludwig Wittgenstein

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.
-Alexander Fraser Tytler, The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic, 1776.

"If the development of civilization has such a far-reaching similarity to the development of the individual and if it employs the same methods, may we not be justified in reaching the diagnosis that, under the influence of cultural urges, some civilizations, or some epochs of civilization- possibly the whole of mankind- have become 'neurotic'?
-Sigmund Freud

"We have internalized our masters, which is a well-known psychological response to trauma. When faced with overwhelming terror, the human mind splits, with part of itself modeling itself after the oppressor. This is an act of appeasement: 'Look,' the mind says in effect, 'I am like you, so do not harm me.' As a result of the civilizing process, together with this psychological defense mechanism known as 'identification with the aggressor,' we now hear the alien voices of the various representatives of civilization in our heads. Because of these alien ego-identifications we no longer hear our own tribal/primal voice."
-Glenn Parton, The Machine in Our Heads.

"Possibly the most important source of life on this planet is the thin film of topsoil....The soil depth and its richness is a basic standard of health of the living planet....The life of the earth is fundamentally predicated upon the soil. If there is no soil, there is no life as we know it...The soil is maintained by its vegetative cover and its optimal, balanced health, this cover is the natural climax ecosystem. If one can accept these few simple principles then we have established a basis of communication upon which we may proceed. Anyone who cannot accept these principles must demonstrate that the world works in some other way."
-William H. Koetke

“War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses...There isn't a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its "finger men" to point out enemies, its "muscle men" to destroy enemies, its "brain men" to plan war preparations, and a "Big Boss" Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism...I spent thirty- three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism....I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.”
-Major General Smedly Butler, 1933.

"In March of 1915 the J.P. Morgan interests, the steel, ship building, and powder interests and their subsidiary organizations, got together 12 men high up in the newspaper world in the United States and employed them to select the most influential newspapers in the United States and a sufficient number of them controlled generally the policy of the daily press of the United States. These 12 men worked the problem out by selecting 179 newspapers and they began, by an elimination process, to retain only those neccessary for the purpose of controlling the general policy of the daily press throughout the country. They found it was only neccessary to purchase the control of 23 of the greatest papers. The 25 papers were agreed upon; emisaries were sent to purchase the policy, national and international, of these papers; an agreement was reached; the policy of the papers was bought to be paid for by the month; an editor was furnished for each paper to properly supervise and edit information regarding the questions of preparedness, militarisim, financial policies and other things of national and international nature considered vital to the interests of the purchasers. This contract is in existence today and continues to this present time and it accounts for the news columns of the daily press of the country focusing on military matters and military preparedness."
-Testimony of Congressman Oscar Callaway, 2nd Session of the 64th Congress,
February 1917.

“History will be kind to us because I plan to write it.”
-Winston Churchill

"One of the first things I was taught in teacher's college is to control the classroom by creating the illusion of choice. The trick is to present the class with two or more ideas (it's best if you can deceive them into thinking they came up with the idea themselves-which is very easy to do) and then lead them to believe this means they exert some kind of control over what goes on in the classroom. In reality you, the authority figure, intend for both ideas to be covered eventually. So it doesn't matter which they choose, it matters that they think they have a choice."
-Heather, quoted in Adbusters, ??

"If the periodicity of the past prevails, a major sustained creedal passion period will occur in the second and third decades of the twenty-first century. The oscillations among the responses could intensify in such a way as to threaten, to destroy both ideals and institutions. Yet the continued presence of deeply felt moralistic sentiments among major groups in American society could continue to ensure weak and divided government, devoid of authority and unable to deal satisfactorily with the economic, social and foreign challenges confronting the nation. Intensification of this conflict between history and progress could give rise to increasing frustration and increasingly violent oscillations between moralism and cynicism. This situation could lead to a two-phase dialectic involving intensified efforts to reform government, followed by intensified frustration when those efforts produce not progress in a liberal- democratic direction, but obstacles to meeting perceived functional needs. The weakening of government in an effort to reform it could lead eventually to strong demands for the replacement of the weakened and ineffective institutions by more authoritarian structures more effectively designed to meet historical needs. Given the perversity of reform, moralistic extremism in the pursuit of liberal democracy could generate a strong tide toward authoritarian efficiency." 
-Samuel Huntington, American Politics: The Promise of Disharmony, 1981, page 232.

"I think this is a very hard choice, but the price — we think the price is worth it."
-Madeleine Albright, responding to a question regarding the death of half a million
children as a result of sanctions against Iraq.

"The public be damned."
-William H. Vanderbilt, 1882.

"I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races; that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people...and in as much as they cannot so live while they do remain together, there must be a position of superior and inferior; and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."
-Abraham Lincoln, 1858.

"All societies divide themselves into the few and the many. The first are rich and the well-born; the other the masses of people. And however often it is said that the voice of the people is the voice of God, it is not true in fact. The people are forever turbulent and changing; they seldom judge right."
-Alexander Hamilton

"The food crisis appeared to explode overnight, reinforcing fears that there are just too many people in the world. But according to the FAO, with record grain harvests in 2007, there is more than enough food in the world to feed everyone—at least 1.5 times current demand. In fact, over the last 20 years, food production has risen steadily at over 2.0% a year, while the rate of population growth has dropped to 1.14% a year. Population is not outstripping food supply. 'We’re seeing more people hungry and at greater numbers than before,' says World Hunger Program’s executive director Josette Sheeran, 'There is food on the shelves but people are priced out of the market.'”
-Eric Holt-Gimenez and Loren Peabody, From Food Rebellions to Food Sovereignty: Urgent call to fix a broken food system, Institute for Food and Development Policy, May 16, 2008.

"To deal with this problem [increasing population and decreasing food supplies] it will be necessary to find ways of preventing an increase in world population. If this is to be done otherwise than by wars, pestilence, and famines, it will demand a powerful international authority. This authority should deal out the world's food to the various nations in proportion to their population at the time of the establishment of the authority. If any nation subsequently increased its population it should not on that account receive any more food. The motive for not increasing population would therefore be very compelling. What method of preventing an increase might be preferred should be left to each state to decide." 
-Bertrand Russell, The Impact of Science of Society, 1952.

"Isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn't it our responsiblity to bring that about?"
-Maurice Strong, founder of the UN Environment Programme

“To be governed is to be watched, inspected, directed, indoctrinated, numbered, estimated, regulated, commanded, controlled, law-driven, preached at, spied upon, censured, checked, valued, enrolled, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. To be governed is to be, at every operation and at every transaction, taxed, stamped, registered, numbered, counted, noted, measured, assessed, authorized, licensed, admonished, prevented, forbidden, corrected, reformed, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be placed under contribution, fleeced, drilled, extorted from, exploited, monopolized, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at slightest resistance and first word of complaint, to be sacrificed, betrayed, harassed, repressed, disarmed, hunted down, clubbed, abused, fined, sold, and, to crown it all, to be outraged, ridiculed, mocked, derided, dishonored. THAT is government; that is its justice, that's its morality.”
-Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, "What Is Government?", in General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century, translated by John Beverly Robinson, 1923, page 293–294.

"There were two kinds of slaves, the house Negro and the field Negro. The house Negroes — they lived in the house with master, they dressed pretty good, they ate good because they ate his food — what he left. They lived in the attic or the basement, but still they lived near the master; and they loved the master more than the master loved himself. They would give their life to save the master's house — quicker than the master would. If the master said, 'We got a good house here,' the house Negro would say, 'Yeah, we got a good house here.' Whenever the master said 'we,' he said 'we.' That's how you can tell a house Negro. If the master's house caught on fire, the house Negro would fight harder to put the blaze out than the master would. If the master got sick, the house Negro would say, 'What's the matter, boss, we sick?' We sick! He identified himself with his master, more than his master identified with himself. And if you came to the house Negro and said, 'Let's run away, let's escape, let's separate,' the house Negro would look at you and say, 'Man, you crazy. What you mean, separate? Where is there a better house than this? Where can I wear better clothes than this? Where can I eat better food than this?' That was that house Negro. In those days he was called a 'house nigger.' And that's what we call them today, because we've still got some house niggers running around here."
-Malcolm X, Malcolm X Speaks: Selected Speeches and Statements, George Breitman,ed., 1965.

To be continued....


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