But the key concept here is not so much its legitimacy as its illusoriness
, and the threat can be seen as much a metaphysical as a political one.
The theoretical underpinnings of cultural studies (however attenuated now) are poststructuralist, attentive to the illusoriness
of the subject's autonomy, the play of desire in language, the instability and bad faith of binary oppositions.
At times this hard-won stance seems to him just a habit of mind, perhaps absorbed from Hindu notions of the illusoriness
of ordinary life (maya) and the fusion of opposites (nondualism, advaita; see his "Mystery as Mantra: Letter from Oris-sa," WLT 68:2 [Spring 1994], p.
The illusory character of reality and the reality of illusoriness
are dramatized and symbolized by the manner in which television informs Annie Eliza's consciousness and language.
Mocking the lord chief justiceship and, ultimately, the monarchy (though, interestingly, not the chief target of Puritan attacks, the prelacy--a point that I will ultimately address), Falstaff demonstrates the illusoriness
of claims to hereditary authority and to authority bestowed by hereditary monarchs.
Bill Gass knows too that any "command of the world" is illusory at best, and the difference in this regard between what he calls, after Dante, "the ravenous politician" and the writer is that the writer has some inkling of the illusoriness
of it all, whereas the tyrant relentlessly insists upon the reality of his command and browbeats every shadow into confirming his invulnerability.