File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0112, message 67

Date: Wed, 12 Dec 2001 01:28:18 -0800
Subject: Re: Baudrillard

Eric and all:

Eric, thanks for reposting this. I didn't catch it the first time.

you said:

>  > I admit Baudrillard usually leaves me cold. Most of his insights come
>>  across as a kind of bargain basement McLuhan. However, his recent piece
>  > on 911 seems haunting to me.

The same word occured to me.  Here is something i wrote on another 
list in November.

At 3:51 PM -0800 11/21/01, Judy wrote:
>the Baudrillard riff is quite brilliant.  He does something all his
>own with the common binaries.  It has a haunting and somehow
>inexplicably reassuring resonance for me.  It's like standing way
>back from it in a way.

Your comments capture some highlights of what I appreciated about 
what B. had to say.  What you said made the reasssuring resonance 
explicable, i.e. when you said

>Despite our latent fears,
>  > history had not ended after all. Another world was still possible.

exactly.  and not only because of the reaction of those who are the 
obvious victims of globalization, but because of a universal "allergy 
to definitive order":  "...For it is the world itself which resists 
domination..."  The despair I've felt in the face of "a system whose 
excess of power creates an unsolvable challenge" is not just my 
despair, not just the despair of the weak, but is a universal 
despair, and there was a universal relief from such despair in the 
striking imagery of the evidence of the actual vulnerability of the 
supreme power.  Power itself is on my side, as it "becomes suicidal 
and declares war on itself."

That sort of thing.  And much more.

Here let me paste in something I've been saving from the Los Angeles 
Times on Oct. 5:

>Draws No Reaction
>Clearly, President Bush didn't mean it.
>Winding up a speech, Bush said America will be tough and resolute to 
>defeat terrorists so future generations can live in peace. "And 
>there is no doubt in my mind, not one doubt in my mind, that we will 
>fail," the president said.
>His audience at the Labor Department did not react. Bush, known to 
>make occasional verbal gaffes, continued in a positive vein: 
>"Failure is not a part of our vocabulary. This great nation will 
>lead the world and we will be successful."

In light of Baudrillard, maybe it's not exactly that he didn't mean it.

Anyway, reading Baudrillard's essay on 911 helped me with my despair. 
It's the most positive thing I've come across since the election last 
year.  That's funny because it's a rather dark piece.  That's the 
weird place i find myself in, and I must not be alone, of finding the 
only hope in a violence that may become dangerous to me personally 
and to many precious others.  But to blame those of us who feel this 
way for such an attitude is just blaming the victim.  How i wish 
there were some other cause for hope.

>  >
>>  Which again for the umpteenth time is not to defend the actions of what
>>  those terrorists did.  Their motivations are much closer to those of
>>  Ashcroft and Sharon than they are to mine.

Yes, I do not like to have to apologize for acknowledging the 
system's need to self suicide.

>  >
>>  What Bauddrillard evokes in his essay is exactly this strange, uncanny
>>  ambivalent feeling which many of us felt, but could not really express
>>  in the midst of the retribalization and suspicion that occurred among
>  > us.

Yes. I'm still wary, and have written some things here and then 
deleted them for fear of sounding too...outside.  Too angry about 
finding hope only in horror.  And it scares me to say that too. 
there's a terror of sorts.

>  >
>>  p.s. - Is it ironic, or merely convenient, that exactly when the
>>  nomadism of which you speak is on the rise, terrorism is used as an
>>  excuse to combat it?  Only the corporation is permitted to become
>>  nomadic under the law of capitalism because only the corporation and the
>>  fetus are considered real. The multitude remains an interloper which
>  > must be utilized before it is exterminated like vermin.

Here, you were anticipating the Greenspan. I think you wrote this 
before his words on this subject were posted.

thanks for inviting talk about what Baudrillard said.  there's a lot 
(more) to say about it.


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