Empire Of Illusion: The End Of Literacy And The Triumph Of Spectacle

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Empire Of Illusion: The End Of Literacy And The Triumph Of Spectacle

by Chris Hedges

Knopf Canada | August 24, 2010 | Trade Paperback |

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Pulitzer prize-winner Chris Hedges charts the dramatic and disturbing rise of a post-literate society that craves fantasy, ecstasy and illusion.

Chris Hedges argues that we now live in two societies: One, the minority, functions in a print-based, literate world, that can cope with complexity and can separate illusion from truth. The other, a growing majority, is retreating from a reality-based world into one of false certainty and magic. In this "other society," serious film and theatre, as well as newspapers and books, are being pushed to the margins.

In the tradition of Christopher Lasch's The Culture of Narcissism and Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death, Hedges navigates this culture - attending WWF contests as well as Ivy League graduation ceremonies - exposing an age of terrifying decline and heightened self-delusion.


From the Hardcover edition.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 240 Pages, 5.12 × 7.87 × 0.39 in

Published: August 24, 2010

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307398471

ISBN - 13: 9780307398475

Found in: Current Events

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– More About This Product –

Empire Of Illusion: The End Of Literacy And The Triumph Of Spectacle

Empire Of Illusion: The End Of Literacy And The Triumph Of Spectacle

by Chris Hedges

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 240 Pages, 5.12 × 7.87 × 0.39 in

Published: August 24, 2010

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307398471

ISBN - 13: 9780307398475

Read from the Book

I / The Illusion of Literacy Now the death of God combined with the perfection of the image has brought us to a whole new state of expectation. We are the image. We are the viewer and the viewed. There is no other distracting presence. And that image has all the Godly powers. It kills at will. Kills effortlessly. Kills beautifully. It dispenses morality. Judges endlessly. The electronic image is man as God and the ritual involved leads us not to a mysterious Holy Trinity but back to ourselves. In the absence of a clear understanding that we are now the only source, these images cannot help but return to the expression of magic and fear proper to idolatrous societies. This in turn facilitates the use of the electronic image as propaganda by whoever can control some part of it. –John Ralston Saul, Voltaire’s Bastards We had fed the heart on fantasy, The heart’s grown brutal from the fare. –William Butler Yeats, The Stare’s Nest By My Window John Bradshaw Layfield, tall, clean-cut, in a collared shirt and white Stetson hat, stands in the center of the ring holding a heavy black microphone. Layfield plays wrestling tycoon JBL on the World Wrestling Entertainment tour. The arena is filled with hooting and jeering fans, including families with children. The crowd yells and boos at JBL, who has had a long career as a professional wrestler. Many chant, “You suck! You suck! You suck!” “Last week I made Shawn Michaels an offer, and I have
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Table of Contents

I
The Illusion of Literacy

II
The Illusion of Love

III
The Illusion of Wisdom

IV
The Illusion of Happiness

V
The Illusion of America

Notes
Acknowledgments
Bibliography
Index



From the Hardcover edition.

From the Publisher

Pulitzer prize-winner Chris Hedges charts the dramatic and disturbing rise of a post-literate society that craves fantasy, ecstasy and illusion.

Chris Hedges argues that we now live in two societies: One, the minority, functions in a print-based, literate world, that can cope with complexity and can separate illusion from truth. The other, a growing majority, is retreating from a reality-based world into one of false certainty and magic. In this "other society," serious film and theatre, as well as newspapers and books, are being pushed to the margins.

In the tradition of Christopher Lasch's The Culture of Narcissism and Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death, Hedges navigates this culture - attending WWF contests as well as Ivy League graduation ceremonies - exposing an age of terrifying decline and heightened self-delusion.


From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Chris Hedges, the author of the bestselling War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, is currently a senior fellow at The Nation Institute and the Anschutz Distinguished Fellow at Princeton University, and writes for many publications including Foreign Affairs, Harper's, The New York Review of Books, Granta and Mother Jones. He is also a columnist for Truthdig.com.


From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

"Remarkable, bracing and highly moral, Empire of Illusion is Hedges'' lament for his nation."
- Maclean''s

"Each chapter of Empire of Illusion makes a strong case for how different illusions - of literacy, love, wisdom, happiness - taken together are destroying the American mind, culture and the nation itself."
- National Post

"Each chapter torches one of our cultural illusions."
- The Globe and Mail

"Hedges is a fan of big ideas, and in Empire of Illusion, he draws upon the culture of professional wrestling and pornography, the elite university, positive psychology and the financial crisis to fashion a social theory of everything."
- Winnipeg Free Press


From the Hardcover edition.
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