The Age of Fakery

December 16, 2013 12:45 am 0 comments

President Obama greets Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's Memorial Service. Photo: Reuters.

In an age of utter fakery, when the line distinguishing what’s authentic from what’s a sham gets narrower by the nanosecond, it’s hard to know, having read it on the Internet, if we’re in the matrix or not.

Just this week the virtual news world was filled with a report about “a team of physicists who’ve provided some of the clearest evidence (evidence mind you) that our Universe could just be one big projection or hologram.”

While that earth shattering theory has been talked about by philosophers and scientists since Plato, it’s taken greater hold lately due to the fact that, on an everyday level, we seem to be living — racing towards — a made up world via simulations at every turn. So surely, because of this, the thinking goes, the entire Universe must all be virtual as well.

Given that at every turn we’re met by a glass screen beckoning us to enter a hypothetical hall of mirrors on a “smart device”, allowing our minds to travel untethered anywhere, we begin to believe that we are, in reality, actually transcending space time.

And because we live in a world where media cannot not be found, and we are so accustomed to it always there, always on, we reference it before we even look to the reality it’s supposed to be displaying.

Racing towards this brave new world, just this week, the startup Oculus VR raised $75 million to market its virtual-reality headset, called Oculus Rift, which users mount on their heads. Usually used just for gaming, Mark Andreessen of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz said, “We believe Oculus will not only alter the gaming landscape, but will redefine fundamental human experiences in areas like film, education, architecture, and design.”

If you currently get sidewalk rage trailing behind a person who’s slowly sauntering along in front of you glued to their iPhone, just imagine what’s in store!

Clairvoyantly, the postmodern philosopher Jean Baudrillard saw this phenomenon in his own crystal ball back in the early 1980s as hyperreality, using the metaphor of a map so detailed that it ends up taking the place of that which it is referencing.

Now understandably, for many who are just too busy in the “real” world, working and slaving at their jobs, all of this is nothing but post-modern, self-indulgent, self-important bunk. Which leads me to President Obama.

At the same time news was traveling at warp speed that our Universe was a fake, our world witnessed Obama’s speech in South Africa at former SA President Nelson Mandela’s funeral, which was transmitted for viewers over satellite. Obama, the ultimate post-modern President, known for his celebrity and on camera persona, where every element is staged neatly for the camera, who was whisked into office via a faux stage in a giant outdoor arena and projected onto a jumbotron at his first DNC convention at Mile High Stadium, was simulated (dangerously so) by a deranged schizophrenic who, not only faked sign language, but had a violent history to boot.

The man doing the signing, Thamsanqu Jantijie, had previously been charged with murder, attempted murder and kidnapping in 2003. He also faced rape and theft charges in 1994, housebreaking charges in 1997, and malicious damage to property charges in 1998. Like having his own virtual reality helmet on and projecting his show for the rest of us, he claimed he was in the midst of a schizophrenic episode during the ceremony, causing him to hallucinate and hear voices.

Ironically, the best (well, most entertaining) account of this Truman Show was from “The Colbert Report”, a fake news show on Comedy Central that turned the warped circus mirror of hard to believe real news back at us, depicting the absurdity in its typical mocking style.

That the actual event in South Africa really happened, that it was not some trick, and not some Saturday Night Live sketch, was for many in the Twittersphere, just too hard to believe.

Indeed we’ve become so accustomed to fake everything, that we don’t believe it when it is real. I recently taught a group of seventh graders about Nazi propaganda and they truly thought the photos and images of the crowds at Nuremberg, because they were so vast, had to be doctored in Photoshop. They didn’t just think it. They were adamant they were fake.

Years ago, before there was a movie, “The Matrix”, back when tape recorders were the it thing, Memorex ran a commercial with the line, “Is it live or is it Memorex?” The clarity of the tape was so sharp, the sound so identical to Ella Fitzgerald’s voice that it was hard to tell them apart. If the commercial ran today, it’d be the reverse. We’d first look to the tape and then judge if reality matched up with what we perceive it to be.

Abe Novick is a writer and communications consultant and can be reached at abebuzz.com.

This article was originally published by The Jerusalem Post.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Book Reviews Personalities How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    JNS.org – What would you do if you found out that you had only three more months to live? Gordon Zacks was a successful businessman, a leader of Jewish life, and a confidante and adviser to President George H.W. Bush. He knew that he had prostate cancer, but doctors advised him that it was very slow-growing and nothing to worry about. Then came the day when the doctors told him his cancer metastasized to his liver, and that he had [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Theater 10 Things I Learned From My Play About Holocaust Denial

    10 Things I Learned From My Play About Holocaust Denial

    Last month, my one-man show Hoaxocaust! Written and performed by Barry Levey with the generous assistance of the Institute for Political and International Studies, Tehran ran in the New York International Fringe Festival, where it won an Overall Excellence Award. The play has now been selected to run in the Fringe Encores Series at Baruch College’s Performing Arts Center, for four performances which started on Thursday, September 11. Getting the play to the stage was not easy, however. Here are [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel Israeli Music Producer Racks Up Over 535,000 YouTube Hits – in Two Days

    Israeli Music Producer Racks Up Over 535,000 YouTube Hits – in Two Days

    Phenomenon: Tel Aviv-based musician and “sampler” extraordinaire, Kutiman (aka Ophir Kutiel) has hit another one out of the park with “Give It Up,” a fully-functioning song in its own right, assembled from hundreds of ameteur and instructional music videos. The Jerusalem-born musical prodigy is best know for his diverse online musical projects. In the latest video, uploaded to YouTube on Sept. 12th, Kutiel thanked most of the musicians and individuals he chose to include in the meticulously-edited clip, which opens with [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada Behind-the-Scenes Reel of Ridley Scott’s Moses Epic Shows Scenes Using 4000 Extras (VIDEO)

    Behind-the-Scenes Reel of Ridley Scott’s Moses Epic Shows Scenes Using 4000 Extras (VIDEO)

    A recently released behind-the-scenes reel of Ridley Scott’s upcoming film Exodus: Gods and Kings shows just how far the director has gone to portray one of the Bible’s most famous narratives. In the clip, which shows scenes involving up to 4,000 extras, the visionary director discusses what drew him to the biblical tale of Moses. “The Moses story was a massive challenge, which I really love. I wanted to explore the complexity of his character and I was stunned by [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Turner Classic Movies Showcases ‘Broad Sweep’ of the Jewish Experience on Film

    Turner Classic Movies Showcases ‘Broad Sweep’ of the Jewish Experience on Film

    JNS.org – Since 2006, the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) cable and satellite TV network has hosted “The Projected Image,” a month-long showcase examining how different cultural and ethnic groups have been portrayed on the big screen. At last, after previously covering African Americans, Asians, the LGBT community, Latinos, Native Americans, Arabs, and people with disabilities, the annual series is delving into Jewish film this month. “The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film,” whose first segment aired Sept. 2, runs [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity An Inside Look at the Hasidim (REVIEW)

    An Inside Look at the Hasidim (REVIEW)

    The sight of young girls in pinafores and young boys wearing peyos – sidelocks – dangling over their ears is a sure sign that you have entered the enigmatic precincts of the Hasidim – the pious ones. Veteran New York Times journalist Joseph Berger’s new book, THE PIOUS ONES: The World of Hasidim and their Battles with America, takes the reader on a journey into the enclaves where various sects of Jews live a seemingly outmoded way of life in [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity How Jewish Television Pioneer Milton Berle Inspired Modern Comedy Stars

    How Jewish Television Pioneer Milton Berle Inspired Modern Comedy Stars

    JNS.org – Today’s comedy superstars, especially those whose careers are driven by television, may very well owe their success to pioneering Jewish entertainer Milton Berle. Born Mendel Berlinger in Manhattan in 1908, Berle became America’s first small-screen star. Aptly nicknamed “Mr. Television,” he influenced and helped promote the work of hundreds of younger comics. “Milton Berle was deceptively successful and very Jewish,” says Lawrence Epstein, author of The Haunted Smile: The Story of Jewish Comedians in America, published the year [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Jewish ‘Hoops Whisperer’ a Secret Weapon for NBA Stars

    Jewish ‘Hoops Whisperer’ a Secret Weapon for NBA Stars

    JNS.org – Idan Ravin’s friends chipped in to buy him a humble but life-changing bar mitzvah gift—a basketball hoop his father attached to the roof of his garage. Little did his friends know that years later, he would be the personal trainer of National Basketball Association (NBA) stars Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, and Stephen Curry. Ravin’s new book, “The Hoops Whisperer: On the Court and Inside the Head of Basketball’s Best Players,” details his rise from a Jewish upbringing [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.