Simulacra and Simulation

Jean Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation describes the “hyper-real” plane that has developed and reverberates through our lives. You can find it all throughout the U.S.: Disneyland, strip malls, Cancun’s in Red Hook. They are all simulations.
He describes how today, we reinjection the natural into new synthetic forms; we drive to the gym to stare out the window while running on a treadmill, chain restaurants put faux grill marks on their food, we take vitamin supplements, go camping in an act of modern asceticism, buy expensive pre-distressed jeans. Things have been processed and then reprocessed to appear less processed. Such actions must be undertaken in order to pacify the illusion, and make our reality appear more real.
The fictional lives of Barbie, Family Circus in the Funnies pages, and sitcoms all serve to reinvest our world with the American dream and reinvigorate our belief in reality. By creating tiny worlds that mimic and redesign our reality, everyday life is “fed reality, the energy of the real” through these “imaginary stations.” In creating a false imagined world they washout the false emptiness of daily reality. These stations have one primary task, to hide that all of “modern” life is an utter sham, as absurd as any fun house, ‘living history settlement’ or Sea World. Our reality is already falsified to its peak.
Images and simulacra hide, not the real world, but the fact that there is no real world behind them. They mask the lack of substance in our society, Baudrillard says, just as prisons obfuscate that fact that our entire modern society is a prison, Disneyland is one sprawling artificial land that hides the fact that L.A. itself is an artificial sprawl.
Consider Kanye West describing his goal to become an artist/business tycoon alongside the names of Disney and Steve Jobs. Both Kanye and Kim Kardashian are masters of the world of simulacra, at home there. She encapsulates the “simulation of scandal for regenerative ends” building her fame empire out of her supposedly leaked sex tape.
Disneyland capitalizes on a second power: by presenting Disneyland as the world of the childish, we are led to believe that “adults are elsewhere in the ‘real’ world” hiding the fact that most adults are very childish and that childishness is everywhere. Through Disney adults can indulge their false maturity, and their secret inner state of adolescence.

  1 comment for “Simulacra and Simulation

  1. September 18, 2019 at 12:45 am

    Nice article..

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