"The sound shivers through the walls, through the table, through the window frame, and into my finger. These distraction-oholics. These focus-ophobics. Old George Orwell got it backward. Big Brother isn't watching. He's singing and dancing. He's pulling rabbits out of a hat. Big Brother's holding your attention every moment you're awake. He's making sure you're always distracted. He's making sure you're fully absorbed... and this being fed, it's worse than being watched. With the world always filling you, no one has to worry about what's in your mind. With everyone's imagination atrophied, no one will ever be a threat to the world."
"There are worse things than finding your wife and child dead. You can watch the world do it. You can watch your wife get old and bored. You can watch your kids discover everything in the world you've tried to save them from. Drugs, divorce, conformity, disease. All the nice clean books, music, television. Distraction."
"People are always spray the air with their moods. Their car stereos, broadcasting their grief or joy or anger all over the neighborhood."
"The trick to forgetting the big picture is to look at everything close-up. The shortcut to closing a door is to bury yourself in details."
"People who would never throw litter from their cars will drive past you with their radios blaring. People who'd never blow cigar smoke at you in a crowded restaurant will bellow into their cell phones.... These people who would never spray herbicides or insecticides will fog the neighborhood with their stereos playing Scottish bagpipe music. Chinese opera. Country and western. Outdoors, a bird singing is fine. Patsy Cline is not..."
"You turn up your music to hide the noise. Other people turn up their music to hide yours. You turn up yours again. Everyone buys a bigger sound system. This is the arms race of sound. You don't win with a lot of treble. This isn't about quality, it's about volume. This isn't about music. This is about winning. You stomp the competition with the bass line. You rattle windows. You drop the melody line and shout the lyrics. You put in foul language and come down hard on each cussword. You dominate. This is really about power."
"'People die,' she says. 'People tear down houses. But furniture, fine, beautiful furniture, it just goes on and on, surviving everything.' She says, 'Armoires are the cockroaches of our culture.' And without breaking her stride, she drags the steel point of the key across the polished walnut face of a cabinet."