The habit of resorting to signs and symbols to create the illusion of charm in our everyday surroundings is symptomatic of a growing American character disorder: the belief that it is possible to get something for nothing.
The culture of advertising – which bombarded Americans daily, hourly – eroded our capacity to distinguish between the truths and the lies. And not even in moral terms, but on the practical level. You could name a housing development Forest Knoll Acres even if there was no forest and no knoll, and the customers would line up with their checkbooks open.
They had more meaningful relationships with movie stars and characters on daytime television shows than they did with members of their own families. They didn’t care if things were real or not, if ideas were truthful. In fact, they preferred fantasy. They preferred lies. And the biggest lie of all was that the place they lived was home.