Empire of Illusion

August 28th, 2009

When he ran for President in 2004, John Edwards spoke of "two Americas."  Today the gap between those two Americas is even wider.  Separated now, not just by economics, but by a culture that has become detached from intellectualism.  Instead, more than half the country relies on spectacle, false idols and snake oil salesman to distract it from the economic, moral and political decay that is abound. Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chis Hedges, in his new book Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle argues that a culture that cannot distinguish between reality and illusion dies and that we are dying now.  He argues that America is divided against itself, split between a minority that lives and functions in a  literate world and is able to discern deception from truth, and a majority that is informed by simplistic, childish narratives and cliches and is thrown by nuance, complexity and hard realities.    My conversation with Chris Hedges.