Toby's Reviews > Simulacra and Simulation

Simulacra and Simulation by Jean Baudrillard
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Jun 25, 2008

it was ok
Read in August, 2008

Some authors have a gift of being able to explain complex matters in simple terms. Baudrillard, on the other hand, seems to have the complete opposite - explaining essentially simple (although nontheless interesting) concepts in overly complex terms. While the core message of his essays is thought provoking and engaging, the text itself is so full of jargon, unnecessarily convoluted language, and a fair amount of repetition. If you are anything like myself you will spend an hour reading, rereading, and digesting a couple of pages before reaching a point where you can explain what Baudrillard was essentially saying in a few simple sentences.
Baudrillard also has a habit of making quite extravagant claims or suggestions with no proof, or even justification or much in the way of reasoning.
All in all a difficult and unrewarding read, I feel that I would have been better off reading something written by someone else about Baudrillard's ideas.
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01/30/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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Barry Right on man! I'm just going to copy/paste your review, okay? ;)


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

"explaining essentially simple (although nontheless interesting) concepts in overly complex terms."

Spot on. The ideas presented by Baudrillard are interesting, but just are hard to grasp due to the jargon used.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Reading this now and I completely agree with your review. Took the words out of my mouth.


message 4: by Julian (new) - added it

Julian I noticed this too, when starting new paragraphs (not even in different sections) he continually says the same thing in different words to illustrate different points. It does become a bit tedious after a few chapters, had to put it down for the day - finish it tomorrow.


message 5: by Pazuzu (new) - added it

Pazuzu Spot on


Dana Harper But after spending all this time with these pages don't you feel like you will remember what he is saying? The language gets criticized always, but I think his choice of words is very intentional. They bring you into a new frame of mind; they force you to think about concepts in ways you are not used to, and most importantly they illustrate something that otherwise cannot be articulated. I don't think any of these concepts are simple, but a lot of them are not fully developed; Jean circles around them, unable to fully state what he is trying to say, which forces you to think about the issue from every angle.


Laurance I'll agree with you up until you said its ultimately not rewarding, I think it is, but that's just opinion I suppose. I sometimes think philosophers write in this manner because they envy artists. They're trying to make an aesthetic statement through jargon.


Conor Miller I hope you've read it in the original French if you're going to comment on "Baudrillard's" prose. Translators certainly have good intentions, but good intentions often go awry. Having said that, Baudrillard is not something to pick up on a rainy day. Philosophers tend to assume their readers are well-versed in some of the underlying structures and concepts that they present. Maybe some secondary literature would help.


message 9: by Jared (new) - added it

Jared Stewart He is very hard to understand that's for sure rereading is a must sometimes


Kevin Love I completely Agree! The usage of language was so pretentious it made me gag. It was extremely verbose and repetitive. However his insights are very profound.


Shaun Ausmus 100% agree


message 12: by Tanvika (new)

Tanvika What can be an easier way of accessing his ideas?


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