Artful people create 'pseudo-events'. Western consumers demand them.
They fulfil a purpose. They satisfy our 'extravagant expectations'.
Daniel Boorstin coined the term 'pseudo-event' in his book 'The
Image', first published in 1962. The following mini-excerpts from
the book are linked for readability. They are in order of appearance but
are out of context. The words are all Boorstin's...
Notes from The Image by Daniel Boorstin (1962)
'In this book I describe the world of our making, how we have used
our wealth, our literacy, our technology and our progress, to create the
thicket of unreality which stands between us and the facts of life.
We expect anything and everything. We expect the contradictory and the
impossible. We expect compact cars which are spacious; luxurious cars
which are economical. We expect to be rich and charitable, powerful and
merciful, active and reflective, kind and competitive…We expect
to eat and stay thin, to be constantly on the move and ever more neighbourly…
Never have people been more the masters of their environment. Yet never
has a people felt more deceived and disappointed. For never has a people
expected so much more than the world could offer.
We have become so accustomed to our illusions that we mistake them for
reality. We demand them. And we demand that there be always more of them,
bigger and better and more vivid. They are the world of our making: the
world of the image.
To dispel the ghosts which populate the world of our making will not give
us the power to conquer the real enemies of the real world or to remake
the real world. But it may help us discover that we cannot make the world
in our image.
1) Is not spontaneous, but comes about because someone has planned, planted,
or incited it.
2) Is planted primarily (not always exclusively) for the immediate purpose
of being reported or reproduced. Therefore, its occurrence is arranged
for the convenience of the reporting or reproducing media. Its success
is measured by how widely it is reported. Time relations in it are commonly
fictitious or factitious; ... the question 'Is it real?', is less important
than 'Is it newsworthy?'
3) Its relation to the underlying reality of the situation is ambiguous…
Without some of this ambiguity a pseudo-event cannot be very interesting.
4) Usually it is intended to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The disproportion between what an informed citizen needs to know and what
he can know is ever greater. The disproportion grows with the increase
of the officials' powers of concealment and contrivance... A deft administrator
these days…must master 'the technique of denying the truth without
The pseudo events which flood our consciousness are neither true nor false
in the old familiar senses. The very same advances which have made them
possible have also made the images - however planned, contrived, or distorted
- more vivid, more attractive, more impressive, and more persuasive than
We have become eager accessories to the great hoaxes of the age…
pseudo-events, from their very nature, tend to be more interesting and
more attractive than spontaneous events… Earnest, well-informed
citizens seldom notice that their experience of spontaneous events is
blurred by pseudo-events. Yet nowadays, the more industriously they work
at 'informing' themselves, the more this tends to be true.
Characteristics of pseudo-events:
1) More dramatic.
2) Easier to disseminate and to make vivid.
3) Can be repeated at will, and thus their impression can be reinforced.
4) Cost money to create.
5) Matter we can grasp.
6) Occurrence is planned for our convenience.
7) Knowledge of pseudo-events… becomes the test of being 'informed'.
8) Spawn other pseudo-events.
1) An image is synthetic. It is planned: created especially to
serve a purpose, to make a certain kind of impression.
2) An image is believable. It serves no purpose if people do
not believe it… it must not outrage the ordinary rules of common
[Note] the shift in common experience from an emphasis on 'truth' to an
emphasis on 'credibility'. All of us… are daily less interested
in whether something is a fact than in whether it is convenient that it
should be believed. Today the master of truth is not the master of facts
but the practitioner of the arts of self-fulfilling prophecy… the
socially rewarded art is that of making things seem true… Skilful
advertising men bring us our illusions, then make them seem true…more
and more of our experience nowadays imitates advertising:
1) The appeal of the neither-true-nor-false… The advertiser's
art…consists largely of the art of making persuasive statements
which are neither true nor false.
2) The appeal of the self-fulfilling prophecy…The successful
advertiser is the master of a new art: the art of making things true by
saying they are so. He is a devotee of the technique of the self-fulfilling
3) The appeal of the half-intelligible… Advertising is,
of course, our most popular reading, listening, and watching matter, precisely
because it transports us to where the rigidities of the real world have
dissolved…we listen to commercials to discover functions, ogres,
needs and perils of which we never dreamed and never would have known.
Advertising attenuates, making everything more interesting, more fanciful,
4) The appeal of the contrived...The shrewd planner of advertising
pseudo-events plays on our puzzlement. Even our own suspicions and doubts
themselves become themes for new pseudo-events.
When 'truth' has been displaced by 'believability' as the test of the
statements which dominate our lives, advertisers' ingenuity is devoted
less to discovering facts than to inventing statements which can be made
to seem true. Making them seem true is relatively easy. With the apparatus
of the Graphic Revolution, almost anything can be made to seem true -
especially if we wish to believe it…. believability is produced
only if quasi-facts are invented within certain limits…. the citizen-consumer
enjoys the satisfactions of being at the same time the bewitched, the
bewitcher, and the detached student of witchcraft.
We risk being the first people in history to have been able to make their
illusions so vivid, so persuasive, so 'realistic' that they can live in
them. We are the most illusioned people on earth. Yet we dare not become
disillusioned, because our illusions are the very house in which we live.
The most important single influence in parts of the world which have heard
of the United States has been the prevalence of American movies.
While we have given others great powers to deceive us, to create pseudo-events,
celebrities and images, they could not have done so without our collaboration.
If there is a crime of deception being committed in America today, each
of us is the principal, and all others are only accessories.
We must discover our illusions before we can even realise that we
Ends | 1 Oct 2009 | Edited and compiled by The Leg
''The aide said that guys like me were ''in what
we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who
''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible
reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles
and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works
anymore,'' he continued. We're an empire now, and when we act, we create
our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously,
as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you
can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors
. . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''
A Bush aide, reported
by Ron Suskind of the New York Times, 2004
Boston marathon bombing 2013: Was one of the most shocking leg injuries
filmed at the marathon sustained by ... an
'more vivid, more attractive, more impressive, and more persuasive than
reality itself'... 1969. Man walks on the moon. Happily, although the
live TV transmission is fuzzy
and the moon inhospital, the astronauts snap press
photos of studio quality. In 2009 NASA reveal that the original high-resolution
footage of the moon walk has long since been carelessly
erased or recycled. Furthermore, the mirror NASA spent all that money
putting on the moon ($170bn in 2005 dollars according
to NASA) was made
redundant in 2009 for the sake of a $125,000 NSF budget saving. And
in 2012 we learn the last man on the moon left
his camera behind.
"I saw a black very large aeroplane fly into the second
building… it came out at south right in front of our eyes…
it was so surreal it looked like a movie set."
Fireman's 9/11 testimony. View
here if not on YouTube.
The 9/11 Solution
'Experts' had all the 'right' answers on the day - surprising?
Who briefed the BBC on 9/11? Note the premature explanation
of the WTC7 collapse (40.30) and the helpful evidence - the
hijacker's passport (1.14.07) and bandana! From '911 and the British Broadcasting
Conspiracy', also available here
in better quality.
"The American people believed Colin Powell. If Colin Powell said
it was so, it was so" Lawrence Wilkerson (Powell's former adviser).
In fact, within three weeks of Baghdad falling it became plain for all
to see that Iraq
possessed no weapons of mass destruction.
Wars of Desert Storm. A month and a half after Saddam Hussein invaded
Kuwait, the US persuaded Saudi Arabia to invite in US troops showing satellite
images said to show the build up of Iraqi troops on their border. Russian
satellite images suggest that these