34 pages 1 hour read

Chris Hedges

Empire Of Illusion: The End Of Literacy And The Triumph Of Spectacle

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 2009

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Important Quotes

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“‘You lost your 401(k). You lost your retirement. You lost your nest egg. You lost your children’s education fund,’ Layfield bellows into the mic, his face inches from Michaels’s.”

(Chapter 1, Page 3)

At the beginning of Chapter 1, Hedges samples the kind of dialogue on display at WWE wrestling events. Here, one wrestler stokes audience anxieties about the economic recession by taunting   another wrestler who is said to have lost his savings.

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“Those who were once born with the virus of inherent evil, the Russian communist or the Iranian, now become evil for a reason. It is not their fault. They are victims. Self-pity is the driving motive in life.”

(Chapter 1, Page 11)

According to Hedges, the narratives behind professional wrestling matches change to reflect the times. While in the past, wrestling reflected concerns regarding international politics, Hedges argues that contemporary wrestling matches reflect more personal and domestic concerns.

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“Wrestling operates from the popular (and often inarguable) assumption that those in authority are sleazy.”

(Chapter 1, Page 12)

One of Hedges’ main tasks in Chapter 1 is to draw parallels between what happens in the wrestling ring and what happens in the lives of real Americans. Here, Hedges suggests that neither authority figures in the wrestling nor leaders in society are trustworthy nor are they accountable.