It is also Reagan’s smile – the culmination of self-satisfaction of the entire American Nation – which is on the way to become the sole principle of government. An autoprophetic smile, like all signs in advertising. Smile and others will smile back. Smile to show how transparent and candid you are. Smile if you have nothing to say. Most of all, do not hide the fact that you have nothing to say nor your total indifference to others. Let this emptiness, this profound indifference shine out spontaneously in your smile.
With this smile, Reagan obtains a much wider consensus than any that could be achieved by a Kennedy with mere reason or political intelligence. The recourse to a pure form of compliment, be it animal or infantile is much more successful and the whole American population comes together in this toothpaste effect. No idea – not even the nation’s moral values in their entirety – could ever have produced such a result. Reagan’s credibility is exactly equal to his transparency and the nullity of his smile.
— Jean Baudriallard, America