Baudrillard: Hyperreality

I made mention in a previous post to Baudrillard’s notion of hyperreality. A very boiled down version of this concept is the idea that as we are constantly outputting memory in the form of a signified history, at some point these histories will come to replace our actual memories. As Umberto Eco states it is ‘the authentic fake’. But what I would like to approach here is the idea that this is really relevant, in the ways Eco and Baudrillard speak of it, to the west, to the aggressors.

This can be seen as a sort of flip side to what Alloula describes in his text. Whereas he must sift through the history that France produced for him to find cultural memory, these post-structuralist suggests that we in the west will be unconsciously doing the same thing.

A U.K. University posted this some time ago, a review of Baudrillard’s now famous text:

“The Gulf War Did Not Take Place

The Gulf War was presented like some star wars video game, a simulation of a war. Jean Baudrillard, a French sociologist, wrote an essay that the Gulf War did not happen. Many critics miss the point and assume that he means that it did not literally happen. That was not his point. His real criticism was the way that the conflict was presented. The media was not allowed to really report the war.

Perhaps the American military learned from Vietnam. Vietnam was presented on television many times in an unedited manner to the American public. The American public turned against the war.

Thus to Baudrillard, never was there a true conflict during the Gulf War. America won before the first bullet was shot. The video presentation of the war only demonstrated the constructed nature of the war. War is hell and should never be edited. If it is allowed to be edited, the true lessons are lost. Baudrillard commented that even the idea of peace was a simulation. Saddam Hussein was allowed to stay in power.”

How does this connect to our current situation in Iraq? Well, I would argue that all wars since Vietnam are taking place, culturally, in the space of a historical/sociological complex, whereby bullets may kill an individual but the production of media-transmitted ideologies and histories can kill a nation, belief, or regime – whether true or not, they will be incorporated into belief soon enough.


~ by 1womanarmy on March 19, 2008.

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