Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle

By Chris Hedges

We now reside in Americas. One—now the minority—functions in a print-based, literate global that could deal with complexity and will separate phantasm from fact. The other—the majority—is chickening out from a reality-based global into one in every of fake walk in the park and magic. To this majority—which crosses social category strains, although the bad are overwhelmingly affected—presidential debate and political rhetoric is pitched at a sixth-grade studying point. during this “other America,” critical movie and theater, in addition to newspapers and books, are being driven to the margins of society.

In the culture of Christopher Lasch’s The tradition of Narcissism and Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death, Pulitzer Prize-winner Chris Hedges navigates this culture—attending WWF contests, the grownup Video information Awards in Las Vegas, and Ivy League commencement ceremonies—to reveal an age of terrifying decline and heightened self-delusion.

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Although there's a robust, unidealistic, unwarmed realism approximately his angle at backside, that's his leader kind of initiative; of different forms—the freely-ranged brain, the daring flying of psychological kites, the braveness to reject a few ‘lines’ even if they're formally as vital as all of the rest-of those he most likely has little, and his education doesn't usually inspire them. thirteen the goods of those associations, as Hoggart famous, have “difficulty in deciding upon a course in an international the place there's no longer a grasp to thrill, a toffee-apple on the finish of every degree, a certificates, a spot within the top half the assessable global. ”14 The very traits and highbrow inquiries that maintain an open society are usually overwhelmed through elite associations. The elite institution, as Saul writes,actively seeks scholars who are suffering from the correct imbalance after which units out to magnify it. mind's eye, creativity, ethical stability, wisdom, logic, a social view—all this stuff wither. Competitiveness, having an ever-ready resolution, a expertise for manipulating situations—all this stuff are inspired to develop. therefore amorality additionally grows; as does severe aggressivity once they are wondered via outsiders; as does a confusion among the character of excellent as opposed to having a prepared solution to all questions. exceptionally, what's inspired is the expansion of an undisciplined kind of self-interest, within which profitable is what counts. 15 One iciness evening i used to be returning books to Firestone Library at Princeton collage. i peeked on the ebook the coed in the back of the most table was once interpreting. It was once how one can Win in school by means of Cal Newport. The flap conceal promised that it used to be “the in basic terms consultant to getting forward as soon as you’ve gotten in—proven innovations for taking advantage of your collage years, according to profitable secrets and techniques from the country’s such a lot profitable scholars. ” “What does it take to be a standout pupil? ” the flap learn. how are you going to utilize your university years—graduate with honors, select fascinating actions, construct a head-turning résumé, and achieve entry to the simplest post-college possibilities? in keeping with interviews with famous person scholars at universities national, from Harvard to the collage of Arizona, the best way to Win in school provides seventy-five uncomplicated principles that might rocket you to the head of the category. those college-tested—and usually surprising—strategies comprise: • Don’t do your entire examining • Drop sessions each time period • develop into a membership president • Care approximately your grades, forget about your GPA • by no means pull an all-nighter • Take 3 days to write down a paper • consistently be engaged on a “grand venture” • Do something greater than a person else you recognize “Proving that good fortune has little to do with being a genius workaholic, and every little thing to do with enjoying the game,” it went on. “How to Win in school is the must-have consultant for benefiting from those 4 vital years—and getting an area on existence after commencement. ”16 First-year scholars arrive on elite campuses and start to community their means into the specific consuming golf equipment, fraternities, sororities, or mystery societies, attempt into the elite educational courses and foyer for aggressive summer season internships.

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