America by Jean Baudrillard

By Jean Baudrillard

'Since de Toqueville, French thinkers were excited about the USA. but if it involves mysterious paradoxes and lyrical complexity no French highbrow suits Jean Baudrillard in considering the hot World... [He] has develop into a sharp-shooting Lone Ranger of the post-Marxist left." -- manhattan occasions "The number of wild, frequently hilarious postcards from his journey to the United States comprises the various year's such a lot orignal and lovely writing." -- New Statesman and Society " ... sometimes provocative and mainly infuriating ... the United States is full of perceptive, nearly poetic observations." -- Rolling Stone "A mix of loopy notions and dead-on insights, the United States is a priceless (and voluable) photo of what Mr. Baudrillard calls 'the purely final primitive society' -- ours." -- manhattan occasions e-book evaluation

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Low tar. Low energy. Low calories. Low sex. Low speed - anorexic society. Curiously, in this world where everything is available in profusion, everything has to be saved and economized. The obsession of a young society, concerned to protect its future? The impression given is rather that of a sense of threat, all the more insidious for being groundless. It is profusion which creates an hallucination of a sort of backfiring into shortage and penury, which has to be averted by homeopathic discipline.

All bunched together in the heart of the city, alongside the big airlines. Money is fluid. Like grace, it is never yours. Coming to claim it is an offence against the divinity. Have you deserved this favour? Who are you and what are you going to do with it? You are suspected of wanting to put it to some use, and an evil one no doubt, whereas money is so beautiful in the fluid and intemporal state it is in at the bank, when it is being invested rather than spent. Shame on you and kiss the hand that gives it to you.

If the Getty villa at Malibu were suddenly engulfed by lava, what difference would there be, a few centuries from now, between that building and the ruins of Pompeii? What would the promoters of the bicentenary do if a new revolution broke out between now and 1989? But there is no way that can happen. And yet you cannot help but wish that the actual event might really occur and short-circuit the simulacrum, or that the simulacrum might itself end in catastrophe. In the same way, at Universal Studios, you hope constantly that the special effects will turn into some real drama.

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