Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Baudrillard's Geography

When reading Deogolwulf's curmudgeonly proclamation that "No fair-minded man could damn me for suspecting that Professor Baudrillard finds it impossible to say something banal when he has the narrowest opportunity to say something absurd," I was reminded of the time I was assigned to read Baudrillard's America in graduate school.

America was so frivolous that Baudrillard's name became a joke in and of itself in that cultural studies course (a bit like saying "Buttafuoco" was). One of my great triumphs in grad school was that I drew a map of "America according to Baudrillard," which had the general outline of the country, two-thirds of which was dominated by a giant Las Vegas and a giant Disney World.

Incidentally, I was talking to an old friend from grad school about Bernard-Henri Lévy's book American Vertigo (which he had read and I have not), and asked if it was worth-while to read it. In response, he brought up my "America according to Baudrillard" map.

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