Archive for July 27th, 2009

Chris Hedges’ New Jeremiad … And a Plague of Chrises

Chris Hedges has published a new book called Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.

Hedges is an award-winning journalist and a bestselling author, and he’s intellectually double-jointed: one of his earlier books was I Don’t Believe in Atheists, and he has debated Christopher Hitchens, the scourge of religious crazies, while himself having a go at religious crazies.

Empire of Illusion is in the grand tradition of windbags decrying the decline of Western civilization. The windbags have a point, but they often try a little too hard to show off their cultural populism. Hedges goes boldly where few before have gone to deconstruct the lowbrow imagery of Jerry Springer (now there’s an up-to-minute junk TV icon) and … WWE. News flash from Hedges: pro wrestling no longer neatly divides into heroes and villains.

My other observation on Empire of Illusion is to wonder why there are so many Chrises in my life. Chris Hedges, Christopher Hitchens. Also Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, Chris Masters, Chris Nowinski. Even Christopher Baynes, the prosecutor in the Albany DA’s office who helped bust Signature Pharmacy.

Supply your own punch line.

Irv Muchnick

Damien Steele Was 34

Touching up our earlier item, Julie Patterson tells me that Damien Dothard (“Damien Steele”) actually turned 34 on June 27.

The funeral in Georgia is now set for 2 p.m. Wednesday. The friends of Damien at Facebook note that, in lieu of flowers, donations are solicited for the support of the two young children he left behind.

Irv Muchnick

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July 2009