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 Commentary In ‘America in Retreat,’ a Real-Life Risk Board

    In ‘America in Retreat,’ a Real-Life Risk Board

    JNS.org – “Risk: The Game of Strategic Conquest,” the classic Parker Brothers board game, requires imperial ambitions. Players imagine empires and are pitted against each other, vying for world domination. Amid this fictional world war, beginners learn fast that no matter the superiority of their army, every advance is a gamble determined by a roll of the dice. After a defeat, a player must retreat. Weighted reinforcement cards provide the only opportunity to reverse a player’s fortunes and resume the [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Sports Does Working Out With Other Jews Keep You Jewish?

    Does Working Out With Other Jews Keep You Jewish?

    JNS.org – For Daphna Krupp, her daily workout (excluding Shabbat) at the Jewish Community Center (JCC or “J”) of Greater Baltimore has become somewhat of a ritual. She not only attends fitness classes but also engages with the instructors and plugs the J’s social programs on her personal Facebook page. “It’s the gym and the environment,” says Krupp. “It’s a great social network.” Krupp, who lives in Pikesville, Md., is one of an estimated 1 million American Jewish members of more [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Sports Illustrated Profiles Orthodox NCAA Basketball Player Aaron Liberman

    Sports Illustrated Profiles Orthodox NCAA Basketball Player Aaron Liberman

    Sports Illustrated magazine featured an extensive profile on Orthodox-Jewish college basketball player Aaron Liberman on Wednesday.  The article details Liberman’s efforts to balance faith, academics and basketball at Tulane University, a challenge the young athlete calls “a triple major.” Sports Illustrated pointed out that Liberman is the second Orthodox student to play Division I college basketball. The other was Tamir Goodman, the so-called “Jewish Jordan.” As reported in The Algemeiner, Liberman started his NCAA career at Northwestern University. According to [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Cycling the Desert: New Israel Bike Trail Connects Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat

    Cycling the Desert: New Israel Bike Trail Connects Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat

    As the popularity of cycling continues to increase across the world, Israel is working to develop cycling trails that make the country’s spectacular desert accessible to cyclists. The southern segment of the Israel Bike Trail was inaugurated on Feb. 24 and offers for the first time a unique, uninterrupted 8-day cycling experience after six years of planning and development. The southern section of the Israel Bike Trail stretches over 300 kilometers in length and is divided into eight segments for mountain biking, [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Forthcoming Major Action Movies Inspired by Jewish Comic Artist Jack Kirby

    Forthcoming Major Action Movies Inspired by Jewish Comic Artist Jack Kirby

    JNS.org – With the recent Oscars in the rearview mirror, Hollywood’s attention now shifts to the rest of this year’s big-screen lineup. Two of the major action films coming up in 2015—Avengers: Age of Ultron, which hits theaters in May, and the third film in the Fantastic Four series, slated for an August release—have Jewish roots that the average moviegoer might be unaware of. As it turns out, it took a tough Jewish kid from New York City’s Lower East [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – Rabbi Gordon Tucker spent the first 20 years of his career teaching at the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and the next 20 years as the rabbi of Temple Israel Center in White Plains, N.Y. I confess that when I heard about the order of those events, I thought that Tucker’s move from academia to the pulpit was strange. Firstly, I could not imagine anyone filling the place of my friend, Arnold Turetsky, who was such a talented [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    JNS.org – I’m in love, and have been for a long time. It’s a relationship filled with laughter, tears, intrigue, and surprise. It was love at first sight, back when I was a little girl—with an extra-terrestrial that longed to go home. From then on, that love has never wavered, and isn’t reserved for one, but for oh so many—Ferris Bueller, Annie Hall, Tootsie, Harry and Sally, Marty McFly, Atticus Finch, Danny Zuko, Yentl, that little dog Toto, Mrs. Doubtfire, [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    At the turn of the 21st century through today, American involvement in Middle Eastern politics runs through the Central Intelligence Agency. In America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East, historian Hugh Wilford shows this has always been the case. Wilford methodically traces the lives and work of the agency’s three most prominent officers in the Middle East: Kermit “Kim” Roosevelt was the grandson of president Theodore Roosevelt, and the first head of [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.