Give them bread and circuses

What does 'bread and circuses' mean?

give them bread and circuses

Bread and circuses is a metonymic phrase critiquing superficial appeasement. It is attributed to by introducing a grain dole: giving out cheap food and entertainment, "bread and circuses", became the most effective way to rise to power.

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It is a metonymic idiom for a superficial means of appeasement. It may also be translated bread and games. In reference to politics, the phrase is used to describe the creation of public approval or the quieting of dissent through diversion, distraction, or the mere satisfaction of the immediate self-indulgent interests of the people. Juvenal wrote, ".. This phrase originates from his Satire X.

The phrase comes from the Roman poet Juvenal. I really think this event is just bread and circuses to get us to stop protesting. See also: and , bread , circus. People use bread and circuses to talk about a situation in which a government provides people with things which seem to make their lives more enjoyable in order to stop them complaining about important problems. He limited political dissent through a policy of bread and circuses backed up by a fearsome secret police. Our children and grandchildren will curse us for squandering their prosperity in exchange for today's bread and circuses.

Give them bread and circuses and they will never revolt. What I may call the messages of Brave New World, but it is possible to make people contented with their servitude. I think this can be done. I think it has been done in the past. I think it could be done even more effectively now because you can provide them with bread and circuses and you can provide them with endless amounts of distractions and propaganda.

You've just cajoled the last lo mein noodle out of a takeout container and narrowly avoided choking on it, thanks to the dangerously hilarious comedy special you're watching. Then, just as soon as you've begun to recover, that friend starts texting -- railing against the inadequacies and inequities of local government. Instead of replying, though, you put your phone on vibrate and turn back to the entertainment at hand. It's just too difficult to get upset when your belly is full and your mind is distracted. The idea that people can be pacified by food and entertainment when they should be rallying to their prescribed civic duties isn't a new one.

Bread and circuses

Bread and Circuses in Rome and America

It is attributed to Juvenal , a Roman poet active in the late first and early second century AD and is used commonly in cultural, particularly political, contexts. In a political context, the phrase means to generate public approval, not by excellence in public service or public policy , but by diversion, distraction or by satisfying the most immediate or base requirements of a populace [1] by offering a palliative : for example food bread or entertainment circuses. Juvenal, who originated the phrase, used it to decry the selfishness of common people and their neglect of wider concerns. AD In context, the Latin panem et circenses bread and circuses identifies the only remaining interest of a Roman populace which no longer cares for its historical birthright of political involvement. Here Juvenal displays his contempt for the declining heroism of contemporary Romans, using a range of different themes including lust for power and desire for old age to illustrate his argument.

The use of propaganda for diversion to an altered state of reality that is defined by the politicians and the political parties is not new. We even observe this concept of diversion in antiquity. The Oxford Reference provides the following definition :. In a column for Bloomberg, Alice Schroeder provides a list of specific conditions that existed during the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. Do we not face an ever increasing gap between the rich and the poor? Is not American influence declining while our military forces are thinly stretched?

In the Roman Empire, it was bread and chariot races and gladiatorial games that filled the belly and distracted the mind, allowing emperors to rule as they saw fit. There's truth to the view that people can be kept tractable as long as you fill their bellies and give them violent spectacles to fill their free time. Heck, Americans are meekly compliant even when their government invades their privacy and spies upon them. But there's a deeper, more ominous, sense to bread and circuses that is rarely mentioned in American discourse. It was pointed out to me by Amy Scanlon. Basically ancient Rome was a society that completely revolved around war, and where compassion was considered a vice rather than a virtue



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