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, 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)