I like this Lewis Lapham, writing essays in Harpers Notebook. Check it out: “…the de facto American empire presuming to teach, rule, enlighten, and administer a world that it knows almost nothing about.
A wonderful, albeit grim joke, consistent with the explanation given by the French philosopher Jean Baudrillard for the American assault on Baghdad: ‘What we want is to put the rest of the world on the same level of masquerade and parody that we are on, to put the rest of the world into simulation, so all the world becomes total artifice and then we are all powerful. It’s a game.”
What a great word, albeit. This German had a similar take: “But for the present age , which prefers the sign to the thing signified, the copy to the original, representation to reality, appearance to essence…truth is considered profane and only illusion is sacred.” That’s old Fuerbach.
And of course, what would a spiel on the nature of reality be without a little Debord: “The Spectacle appears at once as society itself ,as part of society ,and as a means of unification. As a part of society, it is that sector where all attention, all consciousness, converges. Being isolated- and precisely for this reason- this sector is the locus of illusion and false consciousness; the unity it imposes is merely the official language of generalized separation.”
Lapham again on cost-conscious Republicans and conscience stricken Democrats attempting to bail upon realizing the movie is not turning out the way they thought: “On their better days they can remember that Iraq is a faraway Arab country famous for its mosques and palm trees, but when asked why Baghdad is burning, or how it has come to pass that 2,096 American soldiers are no longer reporting for work on what in the winter of 2003 was imagined as a movie set, they become anxious and forgetful. Last fall’s sudden rise in newly discovered cases of amnesia coincided with the seasons news reports about the Bush administration’s having set up the invasion of Iraq behind a screen of flag waving lies- the CIA misinforming the Pentagon, the Pentagon falsifying its dispatches to the State Department, the White House gulling the Congress, Congress running a shell game on itself.”
It is not obligatory for a generation to have great men. - Jose'Ortega y Gasset