“Empire of Illusion,” DRAFT

Chris Hedges, in his book, “Empire of Illusion,” states that artifice is an essential skill in building an entertainment or political career. The political world today is plagued with dishonesty, deception, and deceit. These qualities are possessed by politicians or anyone who want to gain the favor of the population, to promote their cause. Those who unable to lie, cheat, or trick others effectively stand no chance of succeeding in the realm of politics. Though Hedges’ claim seems pessimistic, it can be true that artifice is the essential skill when viewed from a purely economic and political perspective. In modern politics, artifice is a necessary tool to succeed because transparency does not win elections. A political leader does not have to be competent, sincere, or honest, but rather just pretend to have these qualities. The reality is that the multitudes can easily be wavered by the mere appearance of desirable qualities and honesty. A Hedges states “They vote for slogan, a smile, perceived sincerity, and attractiveness, along with the carefully crafted personal narrative of the candidate” (Hedges p.46). A political candidate who truly speaks his mind, or speaks against the corruption might be shut down or even accused of the very action he/she was striving to expose. The consumer culture in today’s world heavily relies on artifice to sell products. An innovative product is unlikely to succeed without a little artifice to market with it. Consumers’ mind is flooded with commercial images that appear on televisions or roadside billboards. If a symbol or face do not accompany a product, it will be forgotten; however, artifice can be used to create a compelling character to sell the product. In conclusion, artifice is most important concept in politics and consumerism. Politicians do not win because of honesty. Similarly, products do not sell because of their ingenuity. Artifice provides the opportunity for success in both situations.

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