Thursday, March 25, 2010

"bread and circuses" - meaning

(bred and SUR-kuh-sez)

noun: Things intended to keep people happy and to divert their
attention from the problems.

Translation of Latin term panis et circenses, from panis (bread) + et
(and), circenses (circuses). The term originated in the satires of
Roman poet Juvenal (c. 60-140). Circus refers to the circus games,
such as chariot races, held in the Roman times. The term has been loan
translated into many other languages. In Spanish, for example, it is
pan y toros (bread and bullfights).

"Madrid has set up a series of summits that look a lot like bread and
circuses for a domestic audience at time of economic misery."
John Vinocur; Still Waiting for a Brave New Europe; The New York
Times; Jan 4, 2010.

The human mind is inspired enough when it comes to inventing horrors;
it is when it tries to invent a heaven that it shows itself cloddish.
-Evelyn Waugh, novelist (1903-1966)

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