The Awdude's Reviews > Forget Foucault (Foreign Agents) (Semiotext

Forget Foucault (Foreign Agents) (Semiotext by Jean Baudrillard
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Nov 06, 2010

really liked it

I like reading Baudrillard because his writing style reminds me of my own: inflammatory, hyperbolic, impatient, and anything but objective or dispassionate. The title of this book is a bit misleading, in the provocative Baudrillardian fashion, in order to raise a few eyebrows and get folks all riled up. Nevertheless, it's obvious that Baudrillard respects Foucault, as everyone should, for his monumental achievements in the history of Western thought. The titular forgetting refers, rather than to a forgetting of Foucauldian theory, to a forgetting of theory in general, of the theoretical lines drawn in the sand between, say, Foucauldian power and Deleuzian desire. Baudrillard points out the similarities between power and desire, mostly with respect to their productive capacities, and suggests that contemporary theory is far too rooted in and loyal to unnecessary terminological differences. Foucauldian power and Deleuzian desire, according to Baudrillard, are both examples of a theoretical nostalgia for the real. We can only theorize about power once power has vanished, or become only a sign for itself in its simulacral disappearance. In this respect, Baudrillard has a lot in common with contemporary psychoanalysis. Especially Zizek. Both are interested in the event, which is a pure irruption of the real prior to its narratization, theorization, and symbolic appropriation. The unconscious, for example, ceased to exist after Freud theorized it. It could no longer be an event, something real. It could only thence be the metonymic displacement of itself, that which is reflected in the mirror in the spaces surrounding the image of the other. The unconscious, much like power and desire, is produced through our simulacral positing of it. Baudrillard's mission here, as always, is to destabilize such positing, to negate the referent, and to remind us that everything is real in so far as everything is a simulacra. Gosh I love this guy. The Andy Kaufman of theory he is.
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