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nomadologist

Guest
IAnd saying "things only happen BECAUSE they are, or will be, seen" seems pretty anthopocentric to me, unless you give a much more rigorous definition of 'things'. As for the idea that "the media gaze instigates pseudo-events, 'happenings' which would never take place unless they were filmed or reported" - well, sure, people have always played up to the camera, this isn't new. Neither is it universally true - I hardly thing the Congolese have spent the past ten years butchering each other for the benefit of the developed world's media gaze, especially given the scandalously small amount of attention being paid to the conflict.

It becomes clear that you are not familiar with Lacanian psychoanalysis here. Baudrillard's metaphysics are very firmly rooted in the psychoanalytical tradition. You would really have to read up on Lacan's use of "the Real" to even have a clue where Baudrillard is coming from (apparently.)
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
It becomes clear that you are not familiar with Lacanian psychoanalysis here. Baudrillard's metaphysics are very firmly rooted in the psychoanalytical tradition. You would really have to read up on Lacan's use of "the Real" to even have a clue where Baudrillard is coming from (apparently.)

I've never read any Baudrillard or Lacan (or even heard of the latter), it's not really an area of thought that interests me much. It's just that the line about Baudrillard on the BBC news website sums up a position I'm deeply antipathic towards. If it's genuinely a misrepresentation of what he thought, then fair enough.
 
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nomadologist

Guest
I've never read any Baudrillard or Lacan (or even heard of the latter), it's not really an area of thought that interests me much. It's just that the line about Baudrillard on the BBC news website sums up a position I'm deeply antipathic towards. If it's genuinely a misrepresentation of what he thought, then fair enough.

It is a grossly mis-/underinformed oversimplification of a vast (according to contemporary standards) body of work.
 
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nomadologist

Guest
I've never read any Baudrillard or Lacan (or even heard of the latter), it's not really an area of thought that interests me much. It's just that the line about Baudrillard on the BBC news website sums up a position I'm deeply antipathic towards. If it's genuinely a misrepresentation of what he thought, then fair enough.

Also: if you've never even heard of Lacan, how do you know his thought doesn't interest you much? You might be surprised, if you gave psychoanalysis a chance...
 

k-punk

Spectres of Mark
I got that from the BBC article: "He argued that spectacle is crucial in creating our view of events - things do not happen if they are not seen." If that's not what he thought, then it's their fault for misrepresenting him, not mine for reading it.

Ah, turning to the media for the truth of something, then disclaiming responsibility when it turns out not to be true... there's a Baudrillardian irony there...

And saying "things only happen BECAUSE they are, or will be, seen" seems pretty anthopocentric to me, unless you give a much more rigorous definition of 'things'.

Evidently, it doesn't mean all things. It is cultural analysis, not a scientific theory.

As for the idea that "the media gaze instigates pseudo-events, 'happenings' which would never take place unless they were filmed or reported" - well, sure, people have always played up to the camera, this isn't new.

It's somewhat new; like since there were cameras for instance? In any case, it's not a matter of 'playing up to the camera', as if people did the same old things and simply showed off a bit more because cameras are there. It is that there are certain activities which only happen because there will be a camera or some other mode of recording device to capture them. Moreover, these 'pseudo-events' aren't the exception, they become the rule in contemporary culture

Neither is it universally true - I hardly thing the Congolese have spent the past ten years butchering each other for the benefit of the developed world's media gaze, especially given the scandalously small amount of attention being paid to the conflict.

No-one said that it was 'universally true' - but (1) is it really the case that the Congolese conflict does not involve elements of mediatization? and (2) is the choice of the Congo an implicit concession of Baudrillard's point that, for instance, Vietnam and Gulf 'Wars' 1 and 2
were mediatized to the core?
 

gek-opel

entered apprentice
I hardly think the Congolese have spent the past ten years butchering each other for the benefit of the developed world's media gaze, especially given the scandalously small amount of attention being paid to the conflict.

Keep banging on the death and furniture...
 
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nomadologist

Guest
funny wording, too--"for the benefit of the world's media gaze." no one cares about the Congolese conflict in large part because the media hasn't turned its gaze toward it.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
It's not psychoanalysis per se that I don't like; it's more the whole postmodern mode of thought, which I dislike for two main reasons: firstly, its smug relativism, its rejection of the empirical/rational/scientific worldview as 'merely another set of conventions' (or, worse still, 'beliefs' or even 'superstitions') despite the fact that this tradition of thought has been uniquely successful in explaining the phenomena of the natural world, not to mention useful in a entirely practical sense (try building a jet engine according to the principles of feng shui, etc. etc.); secondly, its denial of objective truths about the world. Perhaps not all postmodernists hold these beliefs, and I've just heard about examples of the most perniciously anti-rational strains of the movement (or whatever it is), I don't know.

I'm certainly not saying that science has the answers to everything, but then, it never claimed to. Physics or biology can't tell you how to run a country or be a good person or bring about world peace. Science 'merely' answers questions about the natural., material world, and I think a big reason why some otherwise intelligent people are antipathic towards science is that they misread the discipline's intended remit.

As far as psychoanalysis goes, I think it's interersting, but it has problems of its own, not least because it's unfalsifiable (and, according to the Popperian view I tend towards, therefore disquailified from being a science), whereas people sometimes treat it as if it were a scientific discipline. The same goes for sociology.
 
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nomadologist

Guest
It's not psychoanalysis per se that I don't like; it's more the whole postmodern mode of thought, which I dislike for two main reasons: firstly, its smug relativism, its rejection of the empirical/rational/scientific worldview as 'merely another set of conventions' (or, worse still, 'beliefs' or even 'superstitions') despite the fact that this tradition of thought has been uniquely successful in explaining the phenomena of the natural world, not to mention useful in a entirely practical sense (try building a jet engine according to the principles of feng shui, etc. etc.); secondly, its denial of objective truths about the world. Perhaps not all postmodernists hold these beliefs, and I've just heard about examples of the most perniciously anti-rational strains of the movement (or whatever it is), I don't know.

Could you name me one "post-modernist" thinker who fits in with one or both of those assessments? I can't think of one thinker I've ever read who's said any of those things, and I've read quite a lot of "post-modernist" thought.

No one ever said science was "merely a set of conventions." If you're trying to reference Lyotard there, he actually said that science was one of the meta-narratives once used in the West to prop up Enlightenment ideals, in fact--he is responding to the rather dangerous idea that science is the only useful narrative in describing the world--that science is the source of all enlightenment. It isn't. Logical positivism is as stupid as moral relativism, if not more so.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Ah, turning to the media for the truth of something, then disclaiming responsibility when it turns out not to be true... there's a Baudrillardian irony there...

Well I think I have a *right* to disclaim responsibility - it's scarcely my fault if the article was incorrect. In any case, all the evidence I have to the contrary is what a couple of people on here have said.

No-one said that it was 'universally true' - but (1) is it really the case that the Congolese conflict does not involve elements of mediatization? and (2) is the choice of the Congo an implicit concession of Baudrillard's point that, for instance, Vietnam and Gulf 'Wars' 1 and 2
were mediatized to the core?

Sure, those wars were 'mediatized' - but to claim that a war 'didn't happen'? What purpose does this really serve? Why the inverted commas (in 'Wars')? To me it just sounds like a sensational statement made to grab people's attention.
 
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nomadologist

Guest
Sure, those wars were 'mediatized' - but to claim that a war 'didn't happen'? What purpose does this really serve? Why the inverted commas? To me it just sounds like a sensational statement made to grab people's attention.

Like I said--you need to read the thinkers to whom and within whose tradition he was responding/working. He is making a very interesting claim regarding whether the Real exists anymore. He thinks it doesn't--that we've replaced the Real with the "virtual." There is no longer any "Real" that underlies our representations. Our representations have become one-in-the-same as the Real, so that they're now the same phenomenon.
 

k-punk

Spectres of Mark
Naturally, I echo everything that Nomadologist says...

I just don't see any sense in which Derrida, for example, is postmodernist.

Neither do I understand how anyone could read Baudrillard's writings on something like Las Vegas and read them as 'celebrations'; they are masterpieces of cool fascination and studied ambivalence. Baudrillard thinks that critique is easily absorbed by the system; other strategies need to be developed.

As for frivolity: in many ways, I can't think of a less frivolous, more solemn, thinker than Baudrillard. That there is a certain playfulness, rhetorical provocation and hyperbolic excess in his writing doesn't subtract from its seriousness, any more than that it did in the case of Swift, whom Baudrillard in many ways resembled. (The idiotic Brit-empiricist social realist commonsense book-burning of The Gulf War did not Happen was in many ways horribly reminisicent of the po-faced credulity of those who attacked Swift's A Modest Proposal because they believed it was literally recommending that the Irish eat their children.)

On the denigration of the dead: in the modern west, it is simpy considered bad to be dead. There is none of the ambivalence towards the dead that previous cultures evinced, i.e. in ancestor worship etc.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Perhaps I've just been taking claims like that too literally - confusing 'the Real' with the real, if you like. If all we're talking about is media representations and people's perceptions of what is still an objective, external reality, then I'm cool with that. :cool:
 
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nomadologist

Guest
As for frivolity: in many ways, I can't think of a less frivolous, more solemn, thinker than Baudrillard.

Exactly. I got in trouble, as an undergrad, for using Baudrillard to talk about one of the posters in the Utopia Station at the Venice Biennale (the poster depicted Mickey Mouse) in a class with Molly Nesbit, an art historian/strict social realist and lover of Bourdieu and anyone/everyone who would've found Baudrillard too conservative.

Baudrillard, if anything, is considered NOT pomo enough for the diehards. God how they hated him when he said AIDS was our punishment...
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
On the denigration of the dead: in the modern west, it is simpy considered bad to be dead. There is none of the ambivalence towards the dead that previous cultures evinced, i.e. in ancestor worship etc.

Equal rights for the vitally challenged? :)
 
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nomadologist

Guest
Perhaps I've just been taking claims like that too literally - confusing 'the Real' with the real, if you like. If all we're talking about is media representations and people's perceptions of what is still an objective, external reality, then I'm cool with that. :cool:

Yeah, being literal doesn't help when you're talking about the Real. This is why it's important to understand where Baudrillard gets his notion of "the Real"
 

zhao

there are no accidents
maybe I have not read enough of Baudrillard and my impressions of his work based on incomplete knowledge. will read more and see if I should re-consider my position... what i have read certainly leads me to think that he was a rather un-serious and inconsequential thinker.

ironic though, that I DO think science is, or at the very least has become, a set of conventions. born into a family of jet-propulsion engineers and quantum physicists, I clearly see how the scientific method becomes a religion of sorts and impose all kinds of biases on one's thinking and view of life and the world - which just does not necessarily operate according to rules derived from very limited human observation. but this is minor compared to how science is MIS-used and MIS-interpreted by cultures at large... but i digress.
 
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nomadologist

Guest
ironic though, that I DO think science is, or at the very least has become, a set of conventions. born into a family of jet-propulsion engineers and quantum physicists, I clearly see how the scientific method becomes a religion of sorts and impose all kinds of biases on one's thinking and view of life and the world - which just does not necessarily operate according to rules derived from very limited human observation. but this is minor compared to how science is MIS-used and MIS-interpreted by cultures at large... but i digress.

then i would think you'd like post-modernism. i think it's important to keep your wording very specific. while post-modernism is critical of science as the basis of all enlightenment, it does not "reduce" it to a "mere set of conventions", either. it's important to police our use of these words/terms, so as not to misrepresent what someone said/wrote/believed...
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
maybe I have not read enough of Baudrillard and my impressions of his work based on incomplete knowledge. will read more and see if I should re-consider my position.

ironic though, that I DO think science is, or at the very least has become, a set of conventions. born into a family of jet-propulsion engineers and quantum physicists, I clearly see how the scientific method becomes a religion of sorts and impose all kinds of biases on one's thinking and view of life and the world - which just does not necessarily operate according to rules derived from very limited human observation. but this is minor compared to how science is MIS-used and MIS-interpreted by cultures at large... but i digress.

Hmmm..."very limited human observation"? You realise scientists of all types have spent hundreds of years deliberately looking at the world in novel and often deeply counterintuitive ways? That astronomers look out into the sky in wavelengths of radiation that span tens of orders of magnitude, or detect particles the man-in-the-street hasn't even heard of, while other physicists recreate conditions that existed a fraction of a second after the Big Bang? I'd hardly call that "very limited".
I'd also take issue with the notion that science is a 'sort of religion', or at least equivalent to one. There are some extremely important differences between science and any belief system that has ever been called a religion.
 
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