"The opposite of real now is optional. The slight feeling of unreality that attends all the commitments you actually make attends them because they're made against this horizon of choices. So this plays into the idea that reality is accident and necessity. To the degree that your life is literally furnished with people, things, activities, places that you've chosen, there's a slight feeling of surface-ness about it all. Because on the horizon there is always 'Oh, I could have done this other thing, or been this other way, and maybe I still will'. That haunts the way you are. And that's why real things in your life have this slight feeling of simulacra-ness."
"In his of 1936 essay, 'The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction', Benjamin argued that technological change (particularly mechanical reproduction) fosters a new perspective he called the 'progressive reaction'. This reaction is 'characterized by the direct, intimate fusion of visual and emotional enjoyment with the orientation of the expert'. Benjamin compared the live stage actor to the film actor to demonstrate this point: 'The film actor lacks the opportunity of the stage actor to adjust to the audience during his performance, since he does not present his performance to the audience in person. This permits the audience to take the position of a critic, without experiencing any personal contact with the actor. The audience's identification with the actor is really an identification with the camera. Consequently the audience takes the position of the camera; its approach is that of testing'.
"Today, an increasing number of us consume culture through mediating technologies—the camera, the recording device, the computer—and these technologies are increasingly capable of filtering culture so that it suits our personal preferences. As a result, we are more willing to test and to criticize. As we come to expect and rely on technologies that know our individual preferences, we are eager as well to don the mantle of critics. And so we vent our frustrations on Amazon.com and are in turn ranked by others who opine on the helpfulness and trustworthiness of our views."
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