8 March 2007

Jean Baudrillard has become, himself, a simulation.


  1. Reminds me of the Onion headline:

    Jacques Derrida 'Dies'

  2. Ah Peter, you'd be a good judge of this. Is this too soon?

    Furthermore, were these in fact, the drolleries that were flying around the philosophy chat rooms yesterday?

  3. I'm don't think it's too soon, but I don't think it's any good either.

    I didn't spot a single drollery in any of the philosophy chat rooms of which he speaks, but then I'm not sure that there are any philosophy chat rooms and if they are it's not philosophers who spend their times chatting in them.

    As far as I can make out Footman is just dressing up some rather tired debating points in pomo drag (now there's a great name for a post-new-wave punk band) and demonstrating once again the endless faith of the cynic in the refutational power of quotations marks.

    Has modern communications culture fundamentally changed the nature of war, especially combined with a professionalisation of the military that dramatically reduces its impact on U.S. society as a whole? Sure. Does Baudrillard have anything particular insightful to say about that change underneath the provocative rhetoric. I haven't read him so I don't know, but based on the various attempts to defend his Gulf War schtick mounted by the intellectual wannabes of the upper-middle-brow press I'm going to guess that the answer is No.

    Oh, and the fake turkey story he references is itself a fake. The New York Times issued a correction years ago, but half the commentariat, including at least one NYT columnist who apparently doesn't read her own paper, keep on repeating it to this day. What follows from the fact that the turkey was real - nothing really, because if it had been fake, nothing very important would have followed from that either. But it's an irony too crude for my taste when journalists lecturing us on the collapsing distinction between simulacrum and reality bypass basic fact-checking for the sake of a good story.

    That is all.

  4. Hi Peter,

    I've been meaning to reply properly for some time.

    I like "pomo drag". Excellent.

    Yeah, I hadn't heard of this business with the turkey. The article is pretty awful, it was there more for the cringing first paragraph (and headline) than anything else.

    You know, on a separate (but related) point, when it comes to language and truth, I sort of see us as archetypal embodiments of good and evil. You know what I mean? Right, because it kind of feels like we're destined to wrestle each other for eternity as we tumble through the void locked in what looks like an embrace, but is actually killer prowrestling moves. Isn't it? With me saying things like, "Well, in a way, the first Gulf War didn't happen, did it?" and you saying, "But of course, in a historical sense, it did take place". And so on, for eternity. That's what I think of as our "dynamic". You are the defender of language and literalism, I am the firebrand of imagination and metaphorical truth. We battle: such is destiny.

    And although I wouldn't like to say which of us is good and which of us is evil in this analogy, I will perhaps just point out that one of us is specialising in evil right now, while the other works for a company whose motto is "don't be evil".

    Oh yes, I went there.