29 October 2007

bread and circuses (day 1)

Bread and circuses
From Wikipedia

"Bread and circuses" has come to be a derogatory phrase that can criticize either government policies to pacify the citizenry, or the shallow, decadent desires of that same citizenry. In both cases, it refers to low-cost, low-quality, high-availability food and entertainment that have become the sole concern of the People, to the exclusion of matters that some consider more important: e.g. the Arts, public works projects, human rights, or democracy itself. The phrase is commonly used to refer to short-term government palliatives offered in place of a solution for significant, long-term problems.

circus and bread

what’s it all worth
what’s it all about
what can be done to wake us up
to inspire some rage
some angst
some doubt

restrain yourself and wait around
for the baker’s bread and circus clowns

distracted, destroyed
by our own free will
the empirical imperial
we come
they cry
they beg
we steal

this is us
this is us
it is real

this is america

where everyone
is blue or red
where progress
requires the dead
where words of life
are left unsaid
where a child could eat
but it’s diamonds instead
where eyes are so distracted
they fall out of our head
where dreaming is sadly
restricted to bed
where lies are eaten
by whomever is fed
where all we want
is our circus and bread


  1. Kyle,

    Please understand me when I say...this is a less sophisticated parallel to North American culture...

    Entertain me, thrill me, make me feel alive...distract me from the haunting thoughts of the purpose of life...

  2. Is it the fault of the entertainment industry or the government that the lowest common denominator is pandered to? Individuals, families, and communities can create sacred spaces where priorities are different and the even mundane is sanctified.

    As a side note, notice that the parable of the rich young man is immediately followed up by the "laborers in the vineyard" story. Jesus is saying to us something more here than just "sell all you have" but more deeply is speaking of life in the "kingdom" that is here NOW.

  3. thanks for the comments...

    i guess the idea is that we are all the lowest common denominator at some point, all begging for something little in the midst of our chance to be part of something big, something transcendent.

    not that there isn't value in the bread and sanctity in the circus - i believe that there might certainly be.

    the kingodm is now. amen. so maybe we will find ourselves a little less distracted by the corners of our eyes.

  4. Pointing out the problems and flaws are way too easy, everyone can do that. It's finding the solution that's the issue, because no one wants to seek out an answer. They'd rather just focus on what's wrong. Even the nightly news focus on all that's wrong in your city, country, world. You watch that enough and you start to believe that's just how it is. Then you start to live only for yourself...