1. "Now, there was a time when we believed that what a human mind could accomplish was determined by genetic factors. Piffle, of course, but it looked convincing for many years, because distinctions between tribes were so evident. Now we understand that it's all cultural. That, after all, is what a culture is—a group of people who share in common certain acquired traits."
- Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age: or
2. "Atomism was viciously persecuted as heresy throughout the early Christian era, and only one printed manuscript of De Rerum Naturum survived the flames. There are several translations; I have chosen the one translated by my fellow Devonian and Oxonian, W. Hannaford Brown. Brown’s own manuscript was almost destroyed during the Nazi bombardment of England in 1943: if a religious book had survived so many vicissitudes we can easily imagine what the faithful would say. But Lucretius teaches us to live without such piffle."
- Christopher Hitchens, The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever
3. "I see the beauty of Mike's attempt to devise an ideal ethic and applaud his recognition that such must start by junking the present sexual code and starting fresh. Most philosophers haven't the courage for this; they swallow the basics of the present code--monogamy, family pattern, continence, body taboos, conventional restrictions on intercourse, and so forth--then fiddle with details...even such piffle as discussing whether the female breast is an obscene sight! (p.365)"
- Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land
4. "Most moral philosophers consciously or unconsciously assume the essential correctness of our cultural sexual code — family, monogamy, continence, the postulate of privacy, ... restriction of intercourse to the marriage bed, etcetera. Having stipulated our cultural code as a whole, they fiddle with details - even such piffle as solemnly discussing whether or not the female breast is an "obscene" sight! But mostly they debate how the human animal can be induced or forced to obey this code, blandly ignoring the high probability that the heartaches and tragedies they see all around them originate in the code itself rather than the failure to abide by the code."
- Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land
5. "We have only faith to guide us, say the theologians. Which faith? It is my acceptance that what we call evidence, and whatever we think we mean by intuition and faith are the phenomena of eras, and that the best of minds, or minds best in rapport with the dominant motif of an era, have intuition and faith and belief that depend upon what is called evidence, relatively to pagan gods, then to the god of the christians, and then to godlessness—and then to whatever is coming next. . . . . If now, affairs upon this earth be fluttering upon the edge of a new era, and I give expression to coming thoughts of that era, thousands of other minds are changing, and all of us will take on new thoughts concordantly, and see, as important evidence, piffle of the past. CHARLES FORT, LO!"
- Whitley Strieber, The Super Natural: A New Vision of the Unexplained
6. "The sign in the pan, stuck to the honey, was no handsome stranger, no trip, no money, but a bone-chilling warning of danger ahead, the frightening footprint of a great giant’s tread. Bigpaw! breathed Mama. Good grief and alas! The Thanksgiving Legend is coming to pass! Legend? asked Sister. What legend is that? It says when the Bears of Bear Country grow greedy and fat, and fail to share Nature’s great bounty, that monster of monsters, Bigpaw, will come and gobble up Bear Country county by county! Nonsense! mocked Papa. Nonsense and stuff! Nonsensical piffle! Pure Bear Country guff! But Papa Bear couldn’t have been more wrong. The Thanksgiving Legend was coming on strong."
- Stan Berenstain, The Berenstain Bears' Thanksgiving
7. "A note on language. Be even more suspicious than I was just telling you to be, of all those who employ the term "we" or "us" without your permission. This is another form of surreptitious conscription, designed to suggest that "we" are all agreed on "our" interests and identity. Populist authoritarians try to slip it past you; so do some kinds of literary critics ("our sensibilities are enraged...") Always ask who this "we" is; as often as not it's an attempt to smuggle tribalism through the customs. An absurd but sinister figure named Ron "Maulana" Karenga—the man who gave us Ebonics and Kwanzaa and much folkloric nationalist piffle—once ran a political cult called "US." Its slogan—oddly catchy as well as illiterate—was "Wherever US is, We are." It turned out to be covertly financed by the FBI, though that's not the whole point of the story. Joseph Heller knew how the need to belong, and the need for security, can make people accept lethal and stupid conditions, and then act as if"
- Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian
8. " comforted. It is for those who’ve dreamed of entertaining angels but found instead a few friends of great price. It is for the younger and elder prodigals who’ve come to their senses again, and again, and again, and again. It is for those who strain at pious piffle because they’ve been swallowed by Mercy itself. This book is for myself and those who have been around the block enough times that we dare to whisper the ragamuffin’s rumor— all is grace."
- Brennan Manning, All Is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir
9. ", Krokinole oysters, filet of Darango Five-Horn! My wealth is my shelf of books! My privileges are my dreams! — Sistie Fael, in The Outlook … He moves me to tooth-chattering wrath; he has inflicted upon me, personally, a barrage of sheer piffle, and maundering insult which cries out to the Heavens for atonement. I will thrust my fist down his loquacious maw; better, I will horsewhip him on the steps of his club. If he has no club, I hereby invite him to the broad and convenient steps of the Senior Quill-drivers, although I must say that the Inksters maintain a superior bar, and this shall be my choice since, after trouncing the old fool, I will undoubtedly ask him in for a drink. — McFarquhar Kenshaw, in The Gaean"
- Jack Vance, Demon Princes
10. " even walk without bumping into things. He paused, cocking one eyebrow in response to Adrian’s expression. I know you do not believe it. I did not either…much to my own folly. Reginald turned to glare at the girl and continued: I was warned, but ignored it and took her in to dinner…. He glanced back at Adrian. I was wearing dark brown trousers that night, unfortunately. She mistook my lap for a table, and set her tea on me. Or rather, she tried to. It overset and… Reg paused, shifting uncomfortably at the memory. Damn me if she did not burn my piffle. Adrian stared at his cousin and then burst into laughter. Reginald looked startled, then smiled wryly. Yes, laugh. But if I never sire another child—legitimate or not—I shall blame it solely on Lady Clarissa Crambray. Shaking his head, Adrian laughed even harder, and it felt so good. It had been many years since he’d found anything the least bit funny. But the image of the delicate little flower along the wall mistaking Reg’s lap for a table"
- Lynsay Sands, Love Is Blind