Since Baudrillard consistently describes representative absorption of simulacra in resuscitatory terms ('a sympathetic nervous system' [Baudrillard, 13]; 'a sort of hormonal treatment through negativity and crisis--to escape--real death throes' [Baudrillard, 19]; 'a stimulant--to a dying system--fresh blood--revive it through the negative' [24]), are we then to understand simulacral 'envelopings of the whole edifice of representation' as in some sense euthenasic, delivering 'mortal blows' [Baudrillard, 27], however successfully, to ideology and power?

Simulacra and Simulation

I thought that it was a really interesting concept to think about when Baudrillard discusses the concepts of the hyperreal and the imaginary. Particularly, his examples of Disneyland and the Watergate scandal. It really just made me start second-guessing everything in the realm of politics and entertainment -- which is something he probably wants us to do.

Disneyland, Video Games and Reality TV: Opposition Blurred

Baudrillard's assessment of Disneyland (p. 12) as the explicit fantasy against which our simulated 'reality' is defined as 'real' resonates in vary tangible ways. I have been working to apply this 'real indicated by opposition' framework into other avenues of the spectacle society.

where do we go from here?

I suppose one of the integral themes of postmodernism is the denial of progress, but I keep hoping for Baudrillard to give us some guidelines on where to go from here. So what if we admit to ourselves that we are living in a simulacrum? We are living in a conspiracy world where the government and media feeds us images and events in the hopes that we will not question their morals or our reality. The notion of historical progress has collapsed and there is no reason for us to believe it will suddenly reignite. Now what?

Digital media: Chaos in the social order?

I know the leap between copying/downloading digital media content illegally and nuclear warfare is gargantuan. BUT! Suspend for a moment the difference, and consider Baudrillard's quote from page 39:

"Responsibility, control, censure, self-deterrence always grow more rapidly than the forces or the weapons at our disposal: this is the secret of the social order."


At p.4 Baudrillard writes that unmasking the simulacrum 'God' reveals that 'deep down God never existed, that only the simulation ever existed, even that God himself was never anything but his own simulacrum,' which would certainly seem to imply that simulacra were always simulacra, never 'images,' i.e. that they never concealed anything substantive.

The all powerful medium: TV

Nothing of any of this in the "TV" image, which suggests nothing, which mesmerizes, which itself is nothing but a screen, not even that: a miniaturized terminal that, in fact, is immediately located in your head -- you are the screen, and the TV watches you -- it transistorizes all the neurons and passes through like a magnetic tape -- a tape, not an image. (51)


On page 47, Baudrillard writes that "terrorism is always that of the real." I was perplexed by this claim; firstly because always is such a definitive term and it seemed odd that Baudrillard would use it so lightly. But more importantly because I had just processed his belief that there is no "ideolgical seriousness" in war. Battles and bombings are simply simulacrums to justify why a war is being fought in the first place. In fact, Baudrillard writes that war is finished before it even begins. And the media simply regurgitates images to feed into this supposed necessity of war.

iconoclasts and the simulacrum of god

In the section about simulacra in religion (p. 4-5), Baudrillard writes about how Iconoclasts, who "predicted the omnipotence of simulacra," feared images based on the knowledge "that deep down God never existed, that only the simulacrum ever existed, even that God himself was never anything but his own simulacrum." (4)

Baudrillard: Balance and Neutrality

In "The Orbital and the Nuclear", Baudrillard introduces the concept of balance and neutralization. However, "balance and neutrality" are not balanced and neutral; they seem to be more of a conscious effort to negate the eminent threat of something more. In the context of the atomic bombs potential threat as a deterrent to its use, Baudrillard claims "deterrence itself is the neutral, implosive violence of metastable systems or systems in involution." (32) Neutrality masks the inherent instability of wielding an unbelievable amount of physical power.

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