Full episode
38: Simulated Worlds
Act One

Travels in Hyperreality

Host Ira Glass uses Italian author Umberto Eco's essay Travels in Hyperreality as a guidebook to American simulated worlds. Eco says that the urge to create these miniature simulated worlds is a very American impulse — a significant American aesthetic — and one that's not often discussed. Ira visits the Wax Museum at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, plays clips from Jessica Yu's documentary on Civil War reenactors (called Men of Reenaction and available from the Independent Television Service at 800/343-4727), stops by a fake coal mine under Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry, and discusses "the poor man's Hearst Castle" — a California hotel called the Madonna Inn. (13 minutes)