Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Chris Hedges: Empires of Illusion

There are some great lines in Chris Hedges' Empires of Illusion: the End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle:

For starters, at one point we have Chris Hebdon calling the atmosphere at a live sporting event "neo-Pavlovian crowd training." Ha! So true.

At another point we have Hedges listening to the jargon of academia and calling it a "retreat into specialized, impenetrable verbal enclaves." Sad.

Again, upon the observation of what passes for "mulitculturalism" on a prominent university campus, Hedges comes to describe it as "segmenting the powerful sea of students into diverse but disarmed droplets." Hmm.

And then there's this litany against Las Vegas:
"It is, in Marc Cooper's memorable phrase, The Last Honest Place in America. Las Vegas strips away the thin moral pretension and hypocrisy of consumer society to reveal its essence. The commodification of human beings, the heart of the consumer society, is garishly celebrated.... A trip to Las Vegas is a visit to a sanitized, cutout version of foreign countries without the intrusion of foreign people, the hassle of unintelligible languages, strange habits, different ideas, or bizarre food.... Las Vegas, unlike the rest of the culture, is brutally honest about its exploitation.... as Neil Postman observed in his 1985 book... [it] is 'a city entirely devoted to the idea of entertainment' ... a monument to our nation's cult of eternal childishness."

Love the way with words. Only half done the book, but it is an evocative and gripping cultural analysis.

1 comment:

s$s said...

amazing.
Hedges is great.

"our nation's cult of eternal childishness"

hmmm.

i need to read this.