By Jean Baudrillard
“The selection of wild, usually hilarious postcards from his journey to the United States comprises a few of the year’s most unique and gorgeous writing.”—New Statesman and Society
In this, his such a lot available and evocative e-book, France’s top thinker of postmodernism takes to the freeways in a set of traveler’s stories from the land of hyperreality.
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But he is not trying to do anything new. He is just carrying his cross the same way as other people carry ‘Jesus Saves’ or ‘Know Jesus’ badges on their cars. You could point out that no one - not a single person - is watching, and that he is accorded only indifference and derision as he passes. But he would tell you that was exactly how it was two thousand years ago. The top of the Bonaventure Hotel. Its metal structure and its plate-glass windows rotate slowly around the cocktail bar. The movement of the skyscrapers outside is almost imperceptible.
It’s a bit like the Bermuda Triangle (or Santa Barbara). Everything vanishes. Everything gets sucked in. Total decentring, total community. After the ideal city of the future, the ideal cosy nook. Nothing converges on a single point, neither the traffic, nor the architecture, nor authority. But, by that very token, it also becomes impossible to hold a demonstration: where could you assemble? Demonstrations can only go round and round in the forest, where the participants alone can see them. Of all the Californian campuses, famous for their spaciousness and charm, this is the most idealized, the most naturalized.
We want to expose to view its billions of connections and watch itoperating like a video-game. All this cerebral, electronic snobbery is hugely affected - far from being the sign of a superior knowledge of humanity, it is merely the mark of a simplified theory, since the human being is here reduced to the terminal excrescence of his or her spinal chord. But we should not worry too much about this: it is all much less scientific, less functional than is ordinarily thought. All that fascinates us is the spectacle of the brain and its workings.