There are countless variations on this, depending on context. One of them is the Sizzle is more important than the Steak, which is used by soulless Marketing geeks to describe the importance of branding. Branding, of course, means the creation of perception about something that trumps reality. Like Nikes improving your sports performance, BMWs making you a better driver, or Chanel clothing making you sexier. It's why you see so many label whores walking around.
And it’s the axis around which the capitalist world revolves, Skippy. If you don’t like it you can shove off to
Astonished? Then you haven’t been paying attention to life for the past few decades. Particularly not American politics. Nixon was a master at it, though he wasn’t subtle (his Pink Lady smear campaign was a ham-handed bit of slander). LBJ also had an instinctive understanding of it. (Most elegantly expressed in an anecdote from an early, local campaign. Johnson, facing stiff competition, ordered his minions to spread a rumor that his opponent fucks pigs. His staffer replied that no one would believe it, but Johnson, understanding the power of perception, replied, “Yeah, but make him deny it.”) Kennedy, Clinton, Reagan - they all knew it too.
Perception. Packaging. Illusion. Style over substance. Hype. Whatever you want to call it, Americans have pretty much perfected the art of putting lipstick on a pig, or pissing on your shoes while claiming it’s sweet summer rain. I mean, how else can one explain the mad rush and overwhelming public support for our Idiot Boy-King’s invasion of
If you can’t see that, well, then the terrorists have already won.