In an off-the-record conversation today a top security official revealed that citizens can circumvent NSA spying through the use of a thin aluminum barrier, formed into a three-dimensional geometric shape tapering smoothly from a circular flat base to a point and placed over the cerebrum. NSA officials were unavailable for comment.
The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America describes the art of the non-event and the symbiotic relationship between the purveyors of pseudo-news and the media. While this activity is sometimes malicious it is most often benign in terms of its effect. Even so, Boostin seems to disapprove mainly because it serves to provide an inaccurate or distorted portrayal of reality. Unfortunately Boorstin largely gets it wrong. The reality is that true heroes can only exist in the past.
By necessity they must die, be mythologized and their human frailties forgotten in order to become heroic. To bemoan that there are no modern heroes is akin to bemoaning the fact that there are no modern fossils. Breaking News: We interrupt our regularly scheduled program to bring you this exclusive report … Donald Trump eating a hotdog.
There are several other essays in which Boorstin bemoans a lack of authenticity in such activities as travel Boorstin claims that Americans going to remote parts of the world have been transformed from travelers into tourists and cheap reproductions of artwork, books, movies and music which he feels cheapens the original versions. But Boorstin has largely run out of steam by this point in the text and the essays take on the fuddy-duddy tone of an old man politely asking neighborhood kids to kindly remove themselves from his manicured greensward.
Do people really need to be told that most of what passes for news is crap? That the characters people play on TV and in the movies are different from the actors themselves? Yet to Boorstin these things are symptomatic of the phoniness he sees everywhere around him. Today in science news researchers report that experiments conducted at the CERN particle physics laboratory have conclusively demonstrated that the universe was formed as a result of a minor fluctuation in the quantum vacuum energy of empty space, that life arose spontaneously as a result of a random collision of organic chemicals, that the meaning of life is what each individual makes of it, and that consciousness is permanently extinguished at the time of death so we should make this life as pleasant for one another as we possibly can.
Now over to Cindy for the weather. Aug 07, Robert Terrell rated it really liked it. Reads like it was written in the last year rather than the 60s. Boorstin was prophetic in his description of American culture. Jun 16, Tamhack rated it liked it. At first I was not sure about this book and the message it was trying to convey; but it was intriguing and something to think about.
It was eye-opening and made me look around the world and question what were the motives not in a paranoia sense behind the events on TV, radio, newspapers, people, politics, business, etc Summary: The Image takes a bold look at the political, social, and psychological impacts of "pseudo-events", or those events that create a false sense of reality.
Daniel Boorst At first I was not sure about this book and the message it was trying to convey; but it was intriguing and something to think about. Daniel Boorstin examines how these events originated in and have been shaped by the media as well as the specific cultural dynamics of America.
Boorstin asserts America's cultural expectations of the world including "what the world holds" and "our power to shape the world" underlies the propensity to develop pseudo-events, which create even grander expectations. Boorstin continues by claiming the media has played a large role in the creation of pseudo-events. He describes the various aspects of pseudo-events and how they function.
Praise for Daniel J. Boorstin's The Image “A very informative and entertaining and chastising book.” —Harper's “A book that everyone in America should read. The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America is a book by the political In his book, Boorstin argues that Americans have a false "image" of what.
He concludes the first chapter by exploring the use of pseudo-events in politics, including Joseph McCarthy's use of morning press conferences to announce an afternoon press conference. In the next section, Boorstin analyzes pseudo-events at the individual level.
In particular, he posits that the shift from heroic figures that have actually accomplished great works to a focus on celebrity figures represents a "human pseudo-event". He discusses the impact of science on our perceptions of old heroic figures and the historical impact of totalitarian dictators on perceptions of leaders. The culture has lost the sanctity and transformative power of its leaders and heroes. Boorstin suggests that our new heroes, celebrities, act as reflections of ourselves and are thus unable to "extend our horizon".
Pseudo-events are then carried into the realm of travel. Boorstin asserts that people have changed from "travelers to tourists". Travelers to the Orient helped to pave the way for the Enlightenment through exposure to other ways of being, thinking, and perceiving. In the modern age, tourists "expect both more strangeness and more familiarity than the world naturally offers". Travel has become a kind of "commodity", and it thus it has become more of an experience and less of an activity.
Soft news reports popular interests, curiosities, and diversions: it includes sensational local reporting, scandalmongering, gossip columns, comic strips, the sexual lives of movie starts, and the latest murder. Many might be put out of work if we should suddenly moderate our expectations. Stop being a tourist. This itself disqualifies them from becoming heroes or demigods. Go to Africa and stay in places that could just as well be the United States. Neither story named any person as a source of the ostensible facts.
In a sense it is more like watching a movie of the jungle than actually being in the jungle. Boorstin discusses pseudo-events in the context of art and literature. He suggests that the movement towards making art accessible and understandable turned it into a commodity. Boorstin describes this process as "disembodying". This made contact with the felt experience of art and literature more remote. He continues that the "search for the essence" was favored over form.
Following the cultural belief that the world can be formed to our desire, Boorstin extends his thesis and states that people also determine what is ideal. He suggests that this belief allows for God to be made into a pseudo-event. The ideal thus formed allows for the creation of an image which is a kind of publicly sanctioned ideal. The problem is that the image does not necessarily correlate to the reality of what it is supposed to portray. Boorstin then concludes with an examination into the "self-deceiving magic of prestige".
He suggests that the "American Dream" is in danger of becoming an illusion. Boorstin asserts that "problems" overseas are really about our inability to "project" our dreams into those countries. Pseudo-event, an event produced by a communicator with the sole purpose of generating media attention and publicity. These events lack real news value but still become the subject of media coverage.
In short, pseudo-events are a public relations tactic. My thoughts and notes: But, generally speaking, they are closer to propaganda. For they simplify rather than complicate. Stereotypes narrow and limit experience in an emotionally satisfying way; but pseudo-events embroider and dramatize experience in an interesting way.
The mania for news was a symptom of expectations enlarged far beyond the capacity of the natural world to satisfy. It required a synthetic product.
It stirred an irrational and undiscriminating hunger for fancier, more varied items. Stereotypes there had been and always would be; but they only dulled the palate for information. They were an opiate. Pseudo-events whetted the appetite; they aroused news hunger in the very act of satisfying it. This can most easily be done by fabricating pseudo-events. Although every experienced newspaperman and inquirer knows that the most thoughtful and responsive answers to any difficult question come after long pause, and that the longer the pause the more illuminating the thought that follows it, nonetheless the electronic media cannot bear to suffer a pause of more than five seconds; a pause of thirty seconds of dead time on air seems interminable.
Thus, snapping their two-and-a-half-minute answers back and forth, both candidates could only react for the cameras and the people, they could not think.
N THE last half century we have misled ourselves, not only about how much novelty the world contains, but about men themselves, and how much greatness can be found among them. His generation thanked God for him as for the rain, for the Grand Canyon or the Matterhorn, or for being saved from wreck at sea.
Celebrity-worship and hero-worship should not be confused. Yet we confuse them every day, and by doing so we come dangerously close to depriving ourselves of all real models. We lose sight of the men and women who do not simply seem great because they are famous but who are famous because they are great. We come closer and closer to degrading all fame into notoriety. The celebrity is a person who is known for his well-knownness. His qualities—or rather his lack of qualities—illustrate our peculiar problems.
He is neither good nor bad, great nor petty. He is the human pseudo-event. He has been fabricated on purpose to satisfy our exaggerated expectations of human greatness. He is morally neutral.