Thursday, October 16, 2008

Facing reality

John R. MacArthur: America remains the land of infinite redemption where any crook can suddenly go straight. In part, it stems from our turbo-charged ethos of capitalism. America has always been the land of get-rich-quick and damn the consequences. We are a nation of fantasists, and things have to get really bad before a politician has the right to trade in hard truth. So far, I don't think they've gotten bad enough. 
(The Providence Journal, 15 October 2008)

Sarah Pogell: In Simulacra and Simulation (1981), French philosopher Jean Baudrillard singled out American theme parks as exemplary "simulacra" -- shallow imitations of the real world that that have no connection to the history they represent. The popularity of theme parks... reflects Americans' marked preference for the sanitized, the artificial, and the unreal... Americans prefer nostalgia to knowledge of the real past. They pick and choose which parts of history to remember... Historical landmarks and theme parks are nostalgic bait-and-switches that ignore or even deny the violence and pain of actual history. ("The Wonderful World of Saunders," Maisonneuve Fall 2008)
Image source here.