March 17th, 2010

CameraGuy

Empire of Illusion by Chris Hedges

Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle by Chris Hedges, ©2009.

The title pretty well sums it up: spectacle wins, literacy loses. Very bleak. Trite "religious" ending left me cold to what was an otherwise fascinating read. I would recommend Chapter 5 to anyone who is still literate in America.

Uhm, there is Chapter 2, on the pornography industry, which presented graphic blow-by-blow (literally, in several cases) descriptions of current trends in the industry. I didn't quite understand the need for this intensely graphic chapter.

Speaking of spectacle over literacy, I can't help but find it ironic that Pulitzer winning author Chris Hedges split from his first wife (with whom he had two children) and married an actress (a cute Asian girl, if you're keeping score in such things -- which, being part of our spectacle-over-critical-thinking culture, I am).

I'm participating less in Plurk these days. I realized as I read this book that Plurk is illustrative of the triumph of spectacle-over-literacy. Even many of my once thought-provoking internet contacts have reduced their online presence to what amount to tits-and-ass jokes. And woe betide anyone who dares criticize the Obama administration on Plurk; further evidence that "discussion" and "debate" are dead in our culture.