File spoon-archives/baudrillard.archive/baudrillard_1995/baudrillard.09-95, message 21


Date: Mon, 25 Sep 1995 20:04:38 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: dab->beginning(s)


On Mon, 25 Sep 1995 quisp-AT-utarlg.uta.edu wrote:

> I get the sense that nothing does exist for Baudrillard (which brings up 
> a sepreate discussion); only simulations of simulations are what we 
> mistake (?) for the real.

...

> 	unonscious reversion, which only gives dead and circular response to a 
> 	dead and circular interrogation. (9). What I read in this is that
> Buad believes that the master/slave cannot be destroyed since the subject
> which moved into the object position only continues the cycle. 

These questions are more complicated if asked of the whole of 
Baudrillard's work - i.e. some of that written prior to '75 as well as 
Simulations & the like, because I think in Simulations the problem gets 
oversimplified in an aesthetic maneuver of sorts.  I'm not saying you 
have to read everything he wrote to get the point; just that Simulations 
makes a lot more sense in the context of some of his work prior to 
Symbolic Exchange and Death -- the essays in Critique of Political 
Economy of the Sign, for example.  In those essays Baudrillard seems to 
argue that there is hope (both for the real and for escaping M/S 
dialectics) in radical ambiguity of the sign and in symbolic exchange (as 
opposed to sign exchange).  The dissolution of the real is foreshadowed 
(with a much clearer explanation :) in these essays, but it doesn't take 
the hyperbolic form it seems to take in Simulations.  Or in Fatal 
Strategies, for that matter, which offers the same "hope" offered in In 
the Shadow of Silent Majorities, which basically amounts to "if the 
ruling classes think they're in charge because we watch too much TV then 
let's watch even more" -- pushing the object into the top of the 
subject/object hierarchy in an ironic move which (somehow - it's not 
entirely clear to me) disrupts the hierarchy.  I might suggest that a 
sympathetic reading of Baudrillard would see these hyperbolic turns in 
his later work as a performance of the very strategy of radical ambiguity 
first laid out in his early work, but I'm not sure yet if I agree thats 
the case.  That's part of what makes him so frustrating -- the sense that 
he's on to something yet at the same time a countervailing sense that 
he's lost in a fantasy land and is something of a pig.   

Ben Attias

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