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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Index of Terms

Antitrust Laws

Antitrust laws are government regulations that are designed to protect consumers. According to Hedges, antitrust laws “regulate and control the marketplace […] [and] protect democracy.” (177). In Chapter 5, Hedges cites the deregulation of business practices and the “repeal of antitrust laws” (176) as a major factor contributing to America’s economic decline.

Celebrity Culture

Celebrity culture is the term that describes a widespread preoccupation with highly visible individuals whose fame is not typically based on actual accomplishments of value. Hedges describes celebrity culture as:

the spectacle of the arena and the airwaves, the lies of advertising, the endless personal dramas, many of them completely fictional, that have become the staple of news, celebrity gossip, New Age mysticism, and pop psychology (15).

In Chapter 1, Hedges cites celebrity culture as the source of many pervasive and damaging illusions.


Courtiers work on behalf of corporate interests, often under the guise of serving the public. They are an essential component to the successful operation of the corporate state, and they can take the form of politicians, pundits, newscasters, and other participants in the media. According to Hedges, courtiers often enjoy “public platforms” and purport “the hollow stagecraft of political theater” (169).