Saturday, August 21, 2010
Daniel Boorstin in The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America, first published in 1961,
claimed that America was living in an "age of contrivance," in which illusions and fabrications had become a dominant force in society. Public life, he said, was filled with "pseudo-events" -- staged and scripted events that were a kind of counterfeit version of actual happenings. Just as there were now counterfeit events, so, he said, there were also counterfeit people - celebrities - whose identities were being staged and scripted, to create illusions that often had no relationship to any underlying reality. Even the tourism industry, which had once offered adventure seekers a passport to reality, now insulated travelers from the places they were visiting, and, instead, provided "artificial products," in which "picturesque natives fashion(ed) papier-mâché images of themselves," for tourists who expected to see scenes out of the movies.
The only thing is that Boorstin came from the political right. I wonder what he would think of events today, especially those contrived by the political right?