Empire of Illusion and the Lies of the Life
Throughout the ages, we have been constantly deluded by our society. Moreover, even love, relationship, wisdom or happiness could all be just an illusion. The way that people perceive things can be heavily influenced by many outside factors such as the media, entertainment, literature, and so on. In Empire of Illusion, the author Hedges uncovers the truth of how humans’ points of views about media, entertainment, love, relationship, and wisdom has been influence by the surrounding environment. He has shown the values of those aspects are being change by peoples’ point of view. Media and entertainment could have, and have had, a negative impact on the way people think – as a consequence of how the media and such have shaped the world, many people do not believe in love. They believe that the need for relationships and sex can be satisfied easily without ever loving someone. There are also other people who believe that wisdom can be gained by wealth and power rather than intelligence and hard work. Hedges points out this serious issue in his book of Empire of Illusion by targeting the huge unavoidable impact of media, entertainment, porn industry, and prestigious universities.
Empire of Illusion begins by appealing to people with their interests of professional wrestling and reality television shows in the first chapter of “the Illusion of Literacy”. As one of the more popular choices of entertainment, television shows have played an invisible role of feeding their audiences with biased perceptions of the world. While watching and enjoying those shows, their audiences just follow blindly about what the television show tells them to do. In “the Illusion of Literacy”, Hedges traces how media creates the illusion of human lives, or pseudo-events by overlaying reality in the minds of those who follow them. “The success of professional wrestling, like most of the entertainment that envelops our culture, lies not in fooling us that these stories are real. Rather, it succeeds because we ask to be fooled. We happily pay for the chance to suspend reality” (Hedges, 5). Although people are usually conscious of the fact that the shows are not real and that its only purpose is to make a profit, they still tend to fool themselves into believing them and relying on those television shows to enrich their lives.
Moving along, Hedges explores other common phenomena, such as cults dedicated to celebrities. Nowadays, there are many TV shows like American Idol, the Swan Brother, and Survivor. From those shows, we noticed that most of the idols are connected to the notion of “perfection” by the viewers because of their beautiful faces. Most of audiences tend to believe that changing one’s lifestyle will come naturally after changing one’s appearance. With the influences of those media, people tend to believe that if someone has a perfect appearance, he/she can enjoy the luxurious and perfect life just as easily as the celebrities do. Hedges said “They leave us chasing vapors. They urge us toward a life of narcissistic self-absorption. They tell us that existence is to be centered on the practices and desires of the self rather than the common good” (33). Hedges tends to uncover the messages about following the cults of celebrities blindly could be harm the society in the way that it changes the peoples’ perspective of reality. Medias have already influenced the society heavily; many people already believe in the idea that having a “perfect body” can change someone’s entire life, as shown by the abundance of plastic surgery in today’s society. In fact, it is so common that many people talk about it as easily as they would about getting a haircut. Not just females but also males are willing to have plastic surgery in order to perfect their external appearance to make themselves look better than others so that they can have a better or higher opportunity to do whatever they want to do or dream...
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