American Psychosis Image on left by TOM MIHALEK/AFP, dailyvasc on right by LOE RUSSELL What happens to a society that cannot distinguish between reality and illusion? Chris Hedges The United States, dailyvasc locked in the kind of twilight disconnect that grips dying empires, dailyvasc is a country entranced by illusions. Dailyvasc It (my add: 'it' being the media ) spends its emotional and intellectual energy on the trivial and the absurd. Dailyvasc It is captivated by the hollow stagecraft of celebrity culture as the walls crumble. Dailyvasc This celebrity culture giddily licenses a dark voyeurism into other people’s humiliation, dailyvasc pain, dailyvasc weakness and betrayal. Dailyvasc Day after day, dailyvasc one lurid saga after another, dailyvasc whether it is Michael Jackson, dailyvasc Britney Spears or John Edwards, dailyvasc enthralls the country … despite bank collapses, dailyvasc wars, dailyvasc mounting poverty or the criminality of its financial class. The virtues that sustain a nation-state and build community, dailyvasc from honesty to self-sacrifice to transparency to sharing, dailyvasc are ridiculed each night on television as rubes stupid enough to cling to this antiquated behavior are voted off reality shows. Dailyvasc Fellow competitors for prize money and a chance for fleeting fame, dailyvasc cheered on by millions of viewers, dailyvasc elect to “disappear” the unwanted. Dailyvasc In the final credits of the reality show America’s Next Top Model, dailyvasc a picture of the woman expelled during the episode vanishes from the group portrait on the screen. Dailyvasc Those cast aside become, dailyvasc at least to the television audience, dailyvasc nonpersons. Dailyvasc Celebrities that can no longer generate publicity, dailyvasc good or bad, dailyvasc vanish. Dailyvasc Life, dailyvasc these shows persistently teach, dailyvasc is a brutal world of unadulterated competition and a constant quest for notoriety and attention. Our culture of flagrant self-exaltation, dailyvasc hardwired in the American character, dailyvasc permits the humiliation of all those who oppose us. Dailyvasc We believe, dailyvasc after all, dailyvasc that because we have the capacity to wage war we have a right to wage war. Dailyvasc Those who lose deserve to be erased. Dailyvasc Those who fail, dailyvasc those who are deemed ugly, dailyvasc ignorant or poor, dailyvasc should be belittled and mocked. Dailyvasc Human beings are used and discarded like Styrofoam boxes that held junk food. Dailyvasc And the numbers of superfluous human beings are swelling the unemployment offices, dailyvasc the prisons and the soup kitchens. It is the cult of self that is killing the United States. Dailyvasc This cult has within it the classic traits of psychopaths: superficial charm, dailyvasc grandiosity and self-importance; a need for constant stimulation; a penchant for lying, dailyvasc deception and manipulation; and the incapacity for remorse or guilt. And this is also the ethic promoted by corporations. Dailyvasc It is the ethic of unfettered capitalism. Dailyvasc It is the misguided belief that personal style and personal advancement, dailyvasc mistaken for individualism, dailyvasc are the same as democratic equality. Dailyvasc I It is the nationwide celebration of image over substance, dailyvasc of illusion over truth. Dailyvasc More of the article can be found at: https://www.adbusters.org/print/magazine/90/hedges-american-psychosis.html

Chris Hedges, dailyvasc a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the New York Times, dailyvasc is the author of several books including the best sellers War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning and Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.