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Simulations (Semiotext(e) / Foreign Agents)

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  569 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Baudrillard's bewildering thesis, a bold extrapolation on Ferdinand de Saussure's general theory of general linguistics, is in fact a clinical vision of contemporary consumer societies where signs don't refer anymore to anything except themselves. They all are generated by the matrix.
Paperback, 169 pages
Published January 1st 1983 by MIT Press
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Praj
Oct 13, 2013 Praj rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: ctext
**(This review has been dedicated to the charitable literary contribution of Alfonso’s (a.k.a The Crimson Fucker) penis , an essential piece of conceptual art of penile architecture.)



The simulacrum is never that
which conceals the truth-it is
the truth which conceals that
there is none.
The simulacrum is true. -Ecclesiastes


It has been a week and Sammy hasn't stopped humping the cilantro or sucking the lonely grape. The dung beetle has left its profession for some weed. Since Martha’s (the pig) dea
...more
Magdelanye
In spite of the difficulties I had with this challanging work, I believe I get it.
We are living in end times and we're screwed by our notions of and distance from reality.

From the premises "Reproduction is always diabolicalin its very essence....simulation...is still and always the place of a giagantic enterprise of manipulation, of control and of death..."p153
we get the conclusion:
"there remains only a demand linked to the empty form of the institution- perverse demand,and for that reason all t
...more
Sophia Left
To say that reading Baudrillard would give one a different way of looking at things would be an understatement. On the surface the words are understandable, the use of simple/accessible and direct to the point manner of elaborating ideas made the experience easier. I find this work as an engaging read, vacillating from deductive and inductive methods of exposing his concepts. Engaging as it may be, some concepts are, for now, too abstract and difficult for my mind to wrap around. I have decided ...more
Steven Peterson
Jean Baudrillard, postmodern thinker, despairs; he claims, in "Forget Foucault," that there is an "impossibility of any politics" in our current situation. An important part of this context are media simulations, of reality so obscured by the play of images completely unrelated to any "reality" which might be out there that we are hopelessly incapable of arriving at any judgments on which to base political decisions and actions. Images on television and in the movies and in other media are "floa ...more
Jeremy
I read part of the first half back in college. Going through it again I find myself having the same reservations, Baudrillard's style is overly dependent on these really repetitive, almost cheekily nihilistic assertions. And while his in-your-face style is provocative, ultimately, it just amounts to an aweful lot of empty rhetoric about how totally empty everything is. A lot of it just seems like stuff he read and regurgitated from Deleuze and Foucault and then mixed up with his own sense of che ...more
Hibou
The further I get from college and my cultural criticism days, I find it harder to believe in jargon, at least in the absence of humor. That is perhaps why I prefer Roland Barthes, Terry Eagleton, even Jean-Francois Lyotard to Baudrillaud. This is my second attempt at Baudrillaud and while he is a provocateur, he sacrifices clarity and coherence in the name of apocalytic and somewhat absurd pronouncements (such as there can be no wars that we accept as wars but rather in today's age, it is merel ...more
Tracy

Easy to read? No!

But, fascinating.

I'm rereading this work because I want to contrast Bettelheim's notions of the ways that we can find meaning with Baudrillard's critique that we have to access to reality, and therefore little (no?) access to meaning.

How can we reconcile free-floating signs with finding meaning *in* texts?

I very much want to explore this issue...so much so, I assigned it as part of the essay question. Think my introduction to literature students will be able to enlighten me?
Meghann
I read this a number of years ago and picked it up again for a reading group this summer. It's amazing how different your experience of something can be, depending on the context of the reading. This time I was struck by the style of the writing - dramatic, poetic, sometimes so much so that it was difficult to treat it as a piece of critical writing. It brought up interesting questions for me about style and the content of style itself, and what expectations we have for different kinds of writin ...more
Ugh
I bought Simulations mainly for its amazing lurid tech-noir cover:

http://allmannerofenquiry.blogspot.co...

And it's good that I wasn't so bothered about the contents, because the contents are about 80% gibberish, e.g.:

"Everywhere the disposition of force and forcing yield to dispositions of ambiance, with operationalization of the notions of need, perception, desire, etc. Generalized ecology, mystique of the "niche" and of the context, milieu-simulation right up to"Centres of Esthetic and Cultura
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Chris
"I thought Simulations by Jean Baudrillard read a little like a Philip K. Dick novel."
- Abraham Lincoln.

Can you tell the difference between real and unreal?

Semiotics is hard enough without obtuseness, but Baudrillard does his very best to make sure you don't know what he's talking about. Or maybe he's trying to make the reader feel like they're part of the conspiracy? idk

Essentially, this is a book about linguistics and the inherent meaning-making of language. The simulacrum is a system of empt
...more
Zut Alors
I learned that we are all partially schizophrenic. Serious density. Out dated
Tiredstars
If you want to understand the different reactions people have to postmodernism, Simulations may be an excellent place to start. My assessment was that it's roughly divided into thirds. One third is at insightful, or at least thought-provoking. Another third is nonsense. And the final third is I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THIS MEANS.

As a writer, Baudrillard is horrible. His prose is dense and confusing. He throws in all manner of obscure terms, or common terms used in a special way he doesn't clearly expr
...more
David Auerbach
The translation is criminally bad. Half in UK English, half in US English. There are numerous typos and misquotes. It's unfortunate that this was never edited properly.
Li
mixing postmodernism with existentials, this book suggests the meat of where my thoughts have lied over the last six years. like most theory from this time, I am familiar with the terms from my conversations with the poetry community in Seattle. I am not always as enamored with the articulation, though at times sentences grab me by the eyelashes for a good shake. Not the best book for subway reading... but it's smaller than the Frank Lloyd Wright autobiography, and so it goes.
Matt
So you're trying to tell me that late capitalism has been responsible for the fabrication of a society where all symbols and exchanges are only simulations of something else? And, as a result, everything we do is completely meaningless?

I don't buy that for a second.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to visit some friends on myspace, finish up some online banking, and work on my latest blog.
Rachel Calvert
One of the most important texts I have ever read. Will change how you (mis)understand everything/nothing. Will make Borges and the Bible even better.

Reading this book will definitely impress young "creative types" who want to smooch you and understand nothing (in the bad way). Use them then lose them, and then read more Baudrillard and try not to hate yourself.
elliot
Jul 20, 2008 elliot rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: the pretentious or aspirants to pretense, Matrix fans
Recommended to elliot by: the Wachowski Brothers
In one of those famous-thesis-statement books, Baudrilliard shifts between plausable and untenable ideas of what he calls reality, but when lacking in truth, throttles up to the Hyperreal, that which is at once real and simulated, an alignment of fact and persuasion, idea and conviction. A fast read. But I only read the first part of two. . .
Kat
Jun 16, 2007 Kat rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: class
Ahhhh, good ol' "Bowl of lard." I'd love to say that this book is totally useless...but, it isn't. Not totally anyway. It *is* short, and the concepts aren't terribly difficult, but it there is a fair bit about simulacra, what is and what is seen, etc. Very, very pretentious author and writing style.
Nathalie
This book gets another of my black hole ratings. Baudrillard has what I see to be morality of altitude: a kind of puss-modern version of Hume.

I would give a mental health warning on the jacket advising that: This book should only be read along with a good dose of Korzybski.
W.B.
Creepy anti-humanist shit by a pomo post-humanist. He should go be a robot at Euro Disney. Very insulting when he writes about those with physical disabilities. Everyone's a metaphor; no one's a human being to this philosophaster. Waste of time. NEXT!
Sarahfina
May 07, 2008 Sarahfina rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Dan, and most other people
This is a good book to start with if you're just beginning with Baudrillard. It details his idea of hyper-reality which is a sort of basis for many of his theories. Even if you;re not into political theory, it's a good read.
Jess Scott
I probably have to re-read this a few times to gather what I missed from the time I first read it (I was around 17 years old), though the author "opened my eyes" to the very real horrors of cultural commodification.
Oliver Bateman
An absolute must-read for a host of reasons. What a wonderful pair of essays. The "duopoly." "Watergate is NOT a scandal." And so on. Baudrillard dances around the outer limits of critical theory.
Nate Weber
Dense, insightful, prophetic, very French and academic. I think that this, "Snow Crash", and "Being Digital" should be required reading for all geeks in the 21st century.
Laura
Mind bending. This little book was very helpful for architectural design explorations. I have read it many times and gain new insight each time. Fun.
Brian
Seminal for lit crit types. Lots of valuable concepts, but suffers from the French crit tendency to put sweeping romantic generalities ahead of nuance.
Tom
Read chapters in Fosso's Lit Theory course but never finished. It is all about hyper-reality. interesting stuff.
Adrian Colesberry
Again, not a huge fan of Baudrillard. Read Derrida instead.
Alexis
Simulations (Foreign Agents) by Jean Baudrillard (1983)
Matt Baxter
This man is beyond genius. Give his readings a shot.
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Jean Baudrillard (27 July 1929 – 6 March 2007) was a French sociologist, philosopher, cultural theorist, political commentator, and photographer. His work is frequently associated with postmodernism and post-structuralism.

Jean Baudrillard was also a Professor of Philosophy of Culture and Media Criticism at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, where he taught an Intensive Summer S
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“And so art is everywhere, since artifice is at the very heart of reality. And so art is dead, not only because its critical transcendence is gone, but because reality itself, entirely impregnated by an aesthetic which is inseparable from its own structure, has been confused with its own image. Reality no longer has the time to take on the appearance of reality. It no longer even surpasses fiction: it captures every dream even before it takes on the appearance of a dream.” 3 likes
“We need a visible past, a visible continuum, a visible myth of origin to reassure us as to our ends, since ultimately we have never believed in them.” 2 likes
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