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

WED, MAR 3, 2010 (1:22:36)

In Empire of 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.

+ BIO: Christopher Hedges

New York Times reporter Chris Hedges is author and 20-year war correspondent who shared the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of global terrorism. In his 20 years as a journalist for many of the most respected news organizations in the United States, Hedges has reported from the world’s most war-ravaged regions, from the Middle East and Central America to the Balkans and the Persian Gulf. For more than a decade, Hedges covered hot spots for The New York Times, first in 1991 in Operation Desert Storm, then in Bosnia and Kosovo from 1995-98, and more recently in Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2002, he was part of a team of Times reporters that were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism for the paper’s 2001 coverage of terrorism. The winner of numerous other awards for his coverage, he received the 2002 Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism.

Cambridge Forum
The Best of 2010 Series