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Welcome to the Desert of the Real!

Welcome to the Desert of the Real! of an individual living in a small idyllic Californian city, a consumerist paradise, who suddenly starts to suspect that the world he lives in is a fake, a spectacle staged to convince him that he lives in a real world, while all the people around him are effectively actors and extras in a gigantic show. The most recent example of this is Peter Weir’s The Truman Show (), with Jim Carrey playing the small-town clerk who gradually discovers the truth that he is the hero of a twenty-four-hour permanent TV show: his hometown is constructed on a gigantic studio set, with cameras following him around the clock. Among its predecessors, it is worth mentioning Philip Dick’s Time Out of Joint (), in which a hero living a modest daily life in a small idyllic Californian city of the late s gradually realizes that the whole town is a fake staged to keep him satisfied. The underlying experience of Time Out of Joint and of The Truman Show is that the late capitalist consumerist Californian paradise is, in its very hyper-reality, in a way irreal, substanceless, deprived of the material inertia. So it is not only that Hollywood stages http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png South Atlantic Quarterly Duke University Press

Welcome to the Desert of the Real!

South Atlantic Quarterly , Volume 101 (2) – Apr 1, 2002

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2002 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0038-2876
eISSN
1527-8026
DOI
10.1215/00382876-101-2-385
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

of an individual living in a small idyllic Californian city, a consumerist paradise, who suddenly starts to suspect that the world he lives in is a fake, a spectacle staged to convince him that he lives in a real world, while all the people around him are effectively actors and extras in a gigantic show. The most recent example of this is Peter Weir’s The Truman Show (), with Jim Carrey playing the small-town clerk who gradually discovers the truth that he is the hero of a twenty-four-hour permanent TV show: his hometown is constructed on a gigantic studio set, with cameras following him around the clock. Among its predecessors, it is worth mentioning Philip Dick’s Time Out of Joint (), in which a hero living a modest daily life in a small idyllic Californian city of the late s gradually realizes that the whole town is a fake staged to keep him satisfied. The underlying experience of Time Out of Joint and of The Truman Show is that the late capitalist consumerist Californian paradise is, in its very hyper-reality, in a way irreal, substanceless, deprived of the material inertia. So it is not only that Hollywood stages

Journal

South Atlantic QuarterlyDuke University Press

Published: Apr 1, 2002

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