Thursday, March 08, 2007

"God exists, but I don't believe in him" - Cool Memories II



Jean Baudrillard (June 20, 1929 – March 6, 2007)

I could not do this man justice without saying nothing at all. In the manner of all of the bad jokes and banal references to The Matrix today in most of the obituaries and commentary, these words will not take place:

Fall 2003, Stonybrook University, Herman Lebovics' Intellectual History, my first exposure to Baudrillard, many years too late. Lebovics told us not to try to understand Simulacra and Simulation, but just simply read it and take what we would. At the end of the semester, he showed us the clip from The Matrix with Neo's hollowed out version of the book, five or six times as thick as it appears on my bookshelf. I marvelled at his enthusiasm, seeing a bad joke unfold in front of me as he expected some kind of reaction. I knew even then that I was witnessing the simulacra in action in one scene only, not the one on the screen, but in that ugly classroom. Since then, J.B.'s thinking has overdetermined my own extreme skepticism, even of itself. In that kind of world, everything imaginable is in question, especially the critical distance to think that thought. Then in fact, this has always implied certainties: "the code", "fatal strategies", "impossible exchange", etc. Paradoxically, there is a hard metaphysical kernel in there somewhere. So contradictory, so incredibly simple.

NPR revealed his continued relevance..

March 7, 2007 · Jean Baudrillard, a French philosopher and sociologist, wrote dozens of books. But his ideas may have found their biggest platform in the movie The Matrix. Baudrillard died Tuesday at the age of 77.


..as well as their complete ignorance of how the logic (if any) functions, as dictated by their role in simulation. J.B. was quoted on this topic, "The most embarrassing part of the film is that the new problem posed by simulation is confused with its classical, Platonic treatment ... The Matrix is surely the kind of film about the matrix that the matrix would have been able to produce."

Or Reuters:

Baudrillard argued that mass media and modern consumerist society had built up such a complex structure of symbols and simulated experience that it was no longer possible to comprehend reality as it might actually exist.


What they forgot was that "mass media and modern consumerist society" is itself a production, the "third order" beginning much earlier in J.B.'s McLuhan-esque model. Refer to the rise of movable type, arguably the most powerful accelerant this side of homonisation.

A few respectable tributes:

AGORAVOX

ANTIGRAM

THE GUARDIAN

12 Comments:

Anonymous dejan said...

i tried to answer your question in a separate post on romero's land of the dead. i think baudrillard's simulacrum died with him, and what we're now going to face is the material reality that the simulacrum foreclosed.

7:55 PM  
Blogger J. said...

then the simulacrum melts away at the moment of J.B.'s death. if the "collapse" producing the "corpse" had happened during his time here, we would not have knowledge of it anyway? maybe this IS the post-apocalypse. ridiculous

12:55 AM  
Anonymous dejan said...

What they forgot was that "mass media and modern consumerist society" is itself a production,

I don't know what exactly you meant by the last comment, but I agree with the above, essentially.

1:06 AM  
Blogger J. said...

I was quoting your, "What comes after the simulacrum is the material/empirical that Baudrillard repressed by inventing the simulacrum. When virtual states like Communist Yugoslavia, or the current World Government, collapse, what you get is the corpse - dirt, blood, geopolitical reality, but also, the conceretely-existing angry prole."


as for, "i think baudrillard's simulacrum died with him, and what we're now going to face is the material reality that the simulacrum foreclosed."

then the simulacrum was NOT true, and the material reality was not forclosed, merely postponed.

1:31 AM  
Anonymous dejan said...

it was foreclosed in the lacanian sense, as in psychosis

not just denied, but ''banished'' by the simulacrum

but psychosis can also be manufactured

2:27 AM  
Anonymous dejan said...

you could also say ''we behaved AS IF the simulacrum was true''

comes out to the same

but my point is in essence that they're now doing to you the same they did to us in yugoslavia, so if there's some positive message i can transmit then it's: face up to reality as soon as possible because when it gets too late it will be HORRIBLE (literally)

3:27 AM  
Anonymous dejan said...

as you can see baudrillard still reverberates

www.antigram.blogspot.com

(all the articles about Snyder's movie 300)

5:36 PM  
Blogger J. said...

I followed that whole business last week a bit, and got tired of it. I simply do not have the time, the analytical skill, nor the inclination to add to it. It STILL has not been revealed to me whether I should even SEE 300 or not.


"I think Baudrillard's pessimistic idea that all is simulated (actively) generates non-dissent."

Right on brother. Fatal strategies indeed.

7:20 PM  
Blogger J. said...

And by the way, Cerebral Jetsam is great. Saw it in your comments on antigram.

7:32 PM  
Anonymous dejan said...

i'm sure as a historian you could add to the debate by demining all the stupid ways in which this film reads greek history!

yes jetsam is a rising blog star, like you,a little less bombastic in his approach, but much better than many other blogs i've seen

9:01 PM  
Blogger J. said...

rising blog star? i bristle at the thought. i guess i should feel dirty for my references to Zizek and Mrs. Dean?

9:20 PM  
Anonymous dejan said...

i guess i should feel dirty for my references to Zizek and Mrs. Dean?

that depends on how hard your perverse kernel is, or something

but seriously, i think a historic perspective of nationalism and patriarchy is very interesting for this baudrillard-via-Snyder debate

10:58 PM  

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