First published in , this wonderfully provocative book introduced the notion of “pseudo-events”—events such as press conferences and presidential debates . introduced the notion of “pseudo-events”—events such as press conferences It is the book to end all books about ‘The American Image’—what it is, who. THE IMAGE. A Guide to Pseudo Events. in America. DANIEL J. BOORSTIN. From News Gathering to News Making: A Flood of Pseudo‑Events. ADMIRING.

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Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — The Image by Daniel J.

Paperbackpages. Published September 1st by Vintage first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Imageplease imagw up. Lists with This Book. Mar 05, Jon Boorstin rated it it was amazing Shelves: My dad wrote this book.

I remember stamping the pages with a rubber number-stamper on our dining room table. He’d spent ten years on his latest amercia of The Americans; this he wrote in three months. View all 8 comments.

Boorstin, Librarian of Congress emeritus, is an outstanding social historian who defines pseudo-events as events created to promote. Generally, these events have no intrinsic newsworthiness.

They are not spontaneous, they are usually arranged for the convenience of the media, their relationship to reality is ambiguous and they are intended to be self-fulfilling. The news media hungers for anything to put in its pages. We are besieged with radio, TV, hour news, magazines, newspapers, books, each requiring “information.

It has become terribly important that something always be happening. Pseudo-events help fill the vacuum.

Boorstin is like the little boy who shouts, “the emperor has no clothes. McCarthy was an expert at creating reportable events that had “an ambiguous relationship to the underlying reality. At the afternoon conference he would proclaim that a witness was not ready or could not be found. The headlines would trumpet, “Mystery witness sought! Even those who hated him became his best allies.

News has become a dramatic presentation.

The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America

The president speaking “off-the-cuff” is now more newsworthy than the original prepared speech. It has become difficult to distinguish between the actual and the pseudo event. Organizations manipulate the media to create events all the while castigating the press for opinions on the editorial page. Boorstin argues we now confuse fame with greatness.

It is very easy to become famous. By confusing heroes with celebrities “we deny ourselves the role-models of heroes, truly great individuals. It used to be people traveled to experience a different culture or way of life or language. Rarely did it not affect a person’s view of the world. Now more and more people travel, yet are influenced less. We seek to re-create an environment similar to the one we left.

Boorstin cites digests as an example of how forms have dissolved, “the shadow has become the substance. Reader’s Digest has perfected the form to the point where articles are “planted” in magazines so they can be digested in its publication. The demand for digested articles was so great it had forced the creation of articles to meet the demand: We are now engaged in a competition to create more credible images.


The images have become more real than reality. We can persuade ourselves of our image. But we have pseudo-evnts sight of the need to create ideals. This book was originally published in Ah, the more things change.

Jul 05, Ryan Holiday rated it it was guidd. The central point of the book is so incisive that it not only survived the major technological and cultural shifts of the last 50 years but is made stronger by them: Most ofe take as important or news is image and artifice.

Think aboutpress conferences to announce press conferences, awards, articles about how much money celebrities make, news pseudp-events, news breaks, annual “Best of” list, press releases, “no comment”, et al. None of it is real. As in, if it hadn’t been known biorstin advance that they’d g The central point of the w is so incisive that it not only survived the major technological and cultural shifts of the last 50 years but is made stronger by them: As in, if it hadn’t been known in boorsyin that they’d generate press they wouldn’t have occurred.

A nice example is foreign policy. A president might say he wants to increase our “prestige” abroad. What does that even mean? As far as I can tell it means nothing, except perhaps a naive desire to receive credit for something you’re not taking any action to produce. The w of the book is on what he calls “unreality”, a place similar to the dream would where many bloggers live. It remains in line with the central premise, that the prevalence of news and newspapers has given us the belief paeudo-events we can change reality by altering what reporters tell thee.

There is the sense from the title that it was going to be about the media or PR but it is much deeper and more personal than that. This book is critical to understanding Western culture and its direction. Jul 07, Owen rated it liked it Shelves: As America’s Graphic Revolution was spiraling with television, movies, and other ‘images’ created for easy consumption, Boorstin wrote about how there is simultaneously much more and much less to everything we see.

This book was written inso many of the examples he uses seem so innocuous and quaint compared to what we’re accustomed to today. Boorstin died inso how did he not go crazy through “Always the play; never the thing” A superbly titled and entirely prescient book, this one. I suppose each of the chapters presented in this book has spawned entire genres of ‘image’ studies: Overall I recommend this book as a skimmer, as the scholastic, academic approach to the topic was a bit much.

Of course, my preference for an easier read only reinforces Boorstin’s point, right? Oct 13, Cheryl rated amerida really liked it. Would love to have an excuse, such as a book club discussion, to read carefully as it’s well-written and still relevant. Recommended to anyone interested in sociology, advertising, popular media, politics. Jul 11, Clif rated it really liked it. Good thing Daniel Boorstin is deceased.

The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-events in America – Daniel Joseph Boorstin – Google Books

Facebook would send him into despair – but it would not surprise him, as it is a logical extension of what this book is all about. The root of the problem he addresses is we demand and expect far more than real life can give, thanks to the illusions that the Graphic Revolution presents to us. The Graphic Revolution is the coming of media print, sound, video that allow the creation of the pseudo-world, the artificial world that implies that all things are Good thing Daniel Boorstin is deceased.


The Graphic Revolution is the coming of media print, sound, video that allow the creation of the pseudo-world, the artificial world that implies that all things are possible. In our desire, we have come to prefer illusion to reality because reality can’t possibly come up to our expectations. This book was written in and, though the celebrities mentioned are from the ‘s to the ‘s, Boorstin’s thesis holds true today.

We live in a self-referential world of images, of pseudo-news packaged “news” instead of spontaneous eventsof celebrities that are known for being known, of “adventure” vacations that are packaged so that nothing unexpected will happen. Never bored, and never resentful of the illusions that make up our world, we are instead fascinated even by the process that creates them.

We love to watch how a movie is made, we are eager to hear about the ad campaigns that are designed to beguile us. Reality TV is as far from reality as can be, but we watch. We are pleased and entertained yet uncomfortable and never more than temporarily satisfied by living with illusion rather than reality. The image that things and people convey has become what we deal with rather than the actual things and people themselves. Boorstin is dead on when he speaks of businesses redesigning logos and ad campaigns in order to appear in a different way to the public – while the actual nuts and bolts company and product changes not at all.

Think of BP as “Beyond Petroleum” with pleasing flowery green and yellow colors at the gas stations. Here is something right from the newspaper today in a story about South Africa – “During the past month, this country has shown its best side to the world. Leaders from both government and business have declared that South Africa has successfully “rebranded” itself, recasting an image tarnished by AIDS, poverty and corruption, into one of geniality, prosperity and competence.

And so it goes with everything. Go to Africa and stay in places that could just as well be the United States. Take a “safari” in total safety with no unexpected encounters. In short, we do not live lives of real experience. We are removed from the real and constantly exposed to reflections of our own expectations. Taking pictures of the Grand Canyon with a new electronic gadget can more than equal the thrill of seeing the Grand Canyon itself.