Must Read Books:
The Image

The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America. by Daniel J. Boorstin. NY: Atheneum, 1987.

Note: The following are notes from the above book. I found the book seminal, eye-opening, life-changing. I recommend that you buy and read the entire book. Only by reading the entire book will you get the whole picture. The following quotes, I hope, will whet your appetite. --Colby Glass


"[This book] is about our acts of self-deception, how we hide reality from ourselves" (ix).

"I am suspicious of all mass medicines... The bigger the committee, the more "representative" its membership.. the less the chance that it will do more than ease or disguise our symptoms. The problem of "national purpose" is largely an illusion... Our real problem is personal" (x).

"...each of us individually provides the market and the demand for the illusions which flood our experience.

"We want and we believe these illusions because we suffer from extravagent expectations... "beyond the limits of reason or moderation".." (3).

"The making of the illusions which flood our experience has become the business of America... advertising and public relations and political rhetoric... journalists.. book publishers.. manufacturers and merchandisers.. entertainers..." (5).

"To discover our illusions will not solve the problems of our world. But if we do not discover them, we will never discover our real problems... It will cleaer away the fog so we can face the world..." (6)


The News

"There was a time when the reader of an unexciting newspaper would remark, "How dull is the world today!" Nowadays he says, "What a dull newspaper!"" (7).

"Demanding more than the world can give us, we require that something be fabricated t make up for the world's deficiency. This is one example of our demand for illusions" (9).

Pseudo-Events -- "The common prefix "pseudo" comes from the Greek word meaning false, or intended to deceive" (9).

Most public relations events are pseudo-events. These are the characteristics of a pseudo-event:

"It was in 1828 that Macaulay called the gallery where reporters sat in Parliament a "fourth estate of the realm"" (16).

"Propaganda.. is information intentionally biased. Its effect depends primarily on its emotional appeal... propaganda feeds on our willingness to be inflamed" (34).


Please send comments to: Colby Glass, MLIS

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