produces that astral quality I have not found anywhere else. America is neither dream nor reality. It is a hyperreality. It is a hyperreality because it is a utopia. “France is just a country. America is a concept.” -Jean Baudrillard. Hegel wrote that tragedy occurs when two value-systems—both of which are. I’m a big Jean Baudrillard fan: Simulacra and Simulation, which I’ll be writing an essay on soon (tying his notion of hyper-reality to our modern.

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Hegel wrote that tragedy occurs when two value-systems—both of which are valid in their own way yet at the same time fundamentally opposed—clash. Nothing could better describe the Nov. On the other hand, the paradigm of the urban journalist — incisive, discerning, alert, moral, pragmatic, and Jewish.

America, by Jean Baudrillard | Media Bytes

Reading this interview, one can feel the tension, the quick responses, and rapid sallies of gesticulation they must have exchanged. It is truly one of the strangest interviews I have ever read. But, then again, who could have possibly predicted so ridiculous an answer as Baudrillard gave. What can you really wmerica to baudrilllard Baudrillard writes with a kind baudrilladr breathless electric lyricism, fast-paced and translucent, spangled with jargon and a technological idiom which gives his prose both a metaphorical suppleness and a character connotative of post-industrial modernity.

For instance, to pick just one jewel from a treasure-trove, he writes of New York. I first read the book Simulacra and Simulations in a few glorious hours while riding the Munich public tram system in an endless loop. There could be no elective affinity between the content of a book and ameruca context of its reading more felicitous — the intricate choreography of intersecting trams, the feeling of transience which all motion imparts, the themes of the technological and the mechanical, astrral eminent repeatability of the experience, the theme of endless circulation, the abrogation of physical distance as lived experience — even the pall of strangeness and urge to decipher which are natural to the expatriate had parts to play.

Emerson once wrote that from a carriage the world looks like a little play. From a tram it looks like stock footage for an unaired advertisement.

The basic thesis Baudrillard presents in Simulacra and Simulations is that the historical ratio between a thing and its representation has irrevocably elapsed and come undone. It asfral as if instead of the mirror being held up to nature, somehow the mirror had come to be held up to itself, bringing into being some entirely new nature in a space of infinite reflection. By way of comparison Baudrillard references a story of Borges in which there is a map of an empire so perfect as to be exactly coextensive with the territory itself.


However, as the empire begins a new decadent phase, the maintenance of the map suffers, and slowly it peels away to reveal the underlying earth. Something similar is happening today, Baudrillard claims, but it is not the map but the territory itself which is disappearing. A simulacrum is a symbol without a real referent.

Our representations are simulacral, Baudrillard argues, because they are no longer representative of anything real.

The map precedes the territory; the representation precedes the real which is instead generated and produced according to its pre-given representation. With respect to simulation, Baudrillard gives an example of a bauvrillard patient who in the process of simulating an illness exhibits all the symptoms of that illness. If an illness is constituted by a set of symptoms, and if some patient possesses those symptoms, then it becomes deeply problematic to distinguish between what is genuine and what is simulated, and indeed there is no operational difference.

All action has become simulation, Baudrillard argues, because we no longer do anything which is not a mock-up of something else. We go to war pretending to go to war, prepossessed by some vague notion that this is how people go to war. Doctors give their best impression of being doctors. Yet the crucial movement for Baudrillard is not to malign this state of affairs as a fall from genuineness or authenticity, but rather to assert simulation as the definitive condition of the present period.

If all doctors give their best impressions of being doctors, then this is all it could ever mean to be a doctor: The predominance of simulacra and simulation has resulted in what Baudrillard calls the hyperreal, the real which is too real to be real: Moreover, this notion of hyperreality is centered in America as its diffusive, spiritual center.

The book America answered the question, asked by no one really, what would it be like if De Tocqueville and Kerouac took a lot of benzedrine and read a lot of critical theory and drove around America writing an insane book about it. He thinks that Disneyland is a microcosm of America. The lyrical nature of pure circulation. As against the melancholy of European analyses….


The exhilaration of obscenity, the obscenity of obviousness, the obviousness of power, the power of simulation…. Star-blasted, horizontally by the car, altitudinally by the plane, electronically baurrillard television, geologically by deserts, stereolithically by the megalopoloi, transpolitically by the power game, the power museum that American has become for the whole world.

Throughout his journey in America, Baudrillard is acutely conscious of his status as a European in America.

Whereas he sees Europe as inescapably historical, ethnic, factitious, cloistered, and conditioned, he sees America as hyperreal, autochthonous, and as a glamorous totality of simulation. Almost since its very inception America has found herself the uneasy object astrla some European fantasy. America is simultaneously a land ameerica barbarism and of the Enlightenment in americaa eyes of Europe, a land where flourish both The Nature Theater of Oklahoma and the culture-industry.

I ask of the Americans only that they be Americans. I do not ask them to be intelligent, sensible, original. I ask them only to populate a space incommensurate with my own, to be for me the highest astral point, the finest orbital space. The continual reaction I have when reading Baudrillard is one of appreciation tempered by reflexive moderation.

America by Jean Baudrillard – review

The question of reading Baudrillard comes down to whether one tropes this exaggerative propensity as a prolepsis of the future or just pointless hyperbole. There is no diamond as big as the Ritz somewhere in the West. Unfortunately, the real is here to stay. Please consider donating a small amount to help support independent journalism at Princeton and whitelist our site.

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