Sunday, May 1, 2011

Collapse of Illusion

Daniel Boorstin The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America, 1958.

We risk being the first people in history, to have been able to make their illusions so vivid, so persuasive, so ‘realistic,’ that they can live in them.  We are the most illusioned people on earth.  Yet we dare not become disillusioned, because our illusions are the very house in which we live, they are our news, our heroes, our adventure, our forms of art, our very experience.

We are haunted, not by reality, but by those images we have put in place of reality.
I would add that in the decades that have passed, that most of the rest of the world has joined us.

Were we once had heroes, we now have celebrities.  George Washington was celebrated because he was a hero. We do not have many people left who we celebrate for the bravery.  We celebrate the famous, the wealthy, and the powerful.
Wounded marines booed and hissed John Wayne when he visited them in a hospital in Hawaii during the Second World War.   Wayne, who never served in the military and for the visit wore a fancy cowboy outfit that included spurs and pistols, would later star in the 1949 gung-ho war movie The Sands of Iwo Jima. The marines, some of whom had fought at Iwo Jima, grasped the manipulation and deceit of celebrity culture, and social control and elicits behavior that is often self-destructive. from  Chris Hedges Emprie of Illusion.
To us, the image of booing John Wayne is odd.  Most people veiw him as a partriotic archetype.  But the reality is that he was a movie actor.  The heroics he portrayed, were the sanitized heroic of others.  He needed them; they did not need him.

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