File spoon-archives/baudrillard.archive/baudrillard_1994/baud.May94, message 14

Date: Mon, 23 May 1994 12:46:45 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: interpretation and praxis

On Mon, 23 May 1994 wrote:
> I see us as a collection of intellects hungry for meaning, looking
> for external validation for our interpretations.  


>Cheesy is we're seduced. 

Both of these, I think are true.  But again, I guess I would qualify a 
little and suggest that these metaphors of nourishment/consumption and 
seduction might have something to tell us about the things they would 
describe.  And in the process, they maybe tell us something about our 

Hungry for meaning--if we don't get it we'll starve.  Baudrillard 
has something to say about that in *America*.  Somewhere toward the end, I 
think.  I don't have it with me, but I can dig it up.  Basically, he 
wonders why we academics (himself included, I suppose) have to be so 
geared toward the discovery/production of "meaning."  As he looks around 
at this country, he finds that many normal (sic) people have surpassed 
(sic) us in that they have accepted the meaninglessness (sic) of meaning.  
Meaning, for them, perhaps becomes just something else to look at or to 
scan--meaning as a lifestyle decision.  And if you think about it, isn't that 
what it is for us?  We have fancier ways of talking about our desires; we can 
more fluently rationalize our cheesy seductions than can others.  But 
then, seduction isn't necessarily a bad (sic) thing.  And of course JB 
has a boatload to say about that.  Not that we're devious or anything, 
but perhaps he thinks we ought to appreciate the academic enterprise for 
what he thinks it is: a word-producing industry that employs thousands of 
people to do word-type things.  And this isn't (at least not for me) the 
usual and easy trashing of academics and academia that you often run 
into.  I like being an academic.  I think/hope I do good things with/for 
students.  But there is perhaps a sense in which all of what we do by way 
of producing and receiving symbols is no different than working for Exxon 
or some other similarly evil enterprise.  Of course, one of the things we 
can do as part of the academic conglomerate is work toward constructing 
(sic) mentalities (sic) that tend away from the conglomerates we don't 
like.  That's politics. 

Sorry to wind on for so long, for so little.



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