The Image in American Culture

An analysis of Daniel J. Boorstin’s Book, The Image: A Guide to Pseudo Events in America.

The paper shows that according to Daniel J. Boorstin in his book The Image: A Guide to Pseudo Events in America, as a society dominated by the media, America now strives for images instead of ideals. The perfection of films and television shows has created an imaginary world, distracting us from reality. Politics has become a show, and through the media, America presents itself as a perfect utopia. We tend to mistake celebrities for truly great people, when in actuality, they are merely well-known for being well-known. This paper evaluates Boorstin’s argument and concludes that, although his assessments may be true, we are not doomed by his predictions. America will not be the victim of its own devices.
“Daniel Boorstin is somewhat right in his description of how The Image has changed the character and values of America for the worse, but to say that The Image made these changes on its own is quite inaccurate. The Image and the Graphic Revolution were bound to come out of a democratic nation, and have acted as catalysts in enhancing those preexisting negative characteristics and myths of democratic America that we see today. Boorstin seems to be biased toward the American life of the past, and he seems to think it was better and more “real” than what it is today. Yet history is a ghost that haunts modern society and it always presents itself as more glorious and meaningful than current times do. We cannot really know if life was more “real” back then. Civilizations throughout history have dealt with myths, illusions, and fabrications, and it is human nature to choose to believe something or not, or to perceive something in one way or another. However, I agree with Boorstin in some instances when says that we need to “disillusion ourselves.” Most of us could probably benefit from a stronger grasp on reality, and an ability to recognize all of the fabrications that pervade the media.”