America Quotes

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America America by Jean Baudrillard
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America Quotes Showing 1-21 of 21
“There is nothing more mysterious than a TV set left on in an empty room. It is even stranger than a man talking to himself or a woman standing dreaming at her stove. It is as if another planet is communicating with you.”
Jean Baudrillard, America
tags: life
“…sense of futility that comes from doing anything merely to prove to yourself that you can do it: having a child, climbing a mountain, making some sexual conquest, committing suicide.
The marathon is a form of demonstrative suicide, suicide as advertising: it is running to show you are capable of getting every last drop of energy out of yourself, to prove it… to prove what? That you are capable of finishing. Graffiti carry the same message. They simply say: I’m so-and-so and I exist! They are free publicity for existence.
Do we continually have to prove to ourselves that we exist? A strange sign of weakness, harbinger of a new fanaticism for a faceless performance, endlessly self-evident.”
Jean Baudrillard, America
“All societies end up wearing masks.”
Jean Baudrillard, America
“America is the original version of modernity. We are the dubbed or subtitled version. America ducks the question of origins; it cultivates no origin or mythical authenticity; it has no past and no founding truth. Having known no primitive accumulation of time, it lives in a perpetual present.”
Jean Baudrillard, América
“It is a world completely rotten with wealth, power, senility, indifference, puritanism and mental hygiene, poverty and waste, technological futility and aimless violence, and yet I cannot help but feel it has about it something of the dawning of the universe. Perhaps because the entire world continues to dream of New York, even as New York dominates and exploits it.”
Jean Baudrillard, America
“Nothing evokes the end of the world more than a man running straight ahead on a beach, swathed in the sounds of his walkman . . . Primitives, when in despair, would commit suicide by swimming out to sea until they could swim no longer. The jogger commits suicide by running up and down the beach. His eyes are wild, saliva drips from his mouth. Do not stop him.”
Jean Baudrillard, America
“All of [the] activities here have a surreptitious end-of-the-world feel to them:... these joggers sleepwalking in the mist like shadow's who have escaped from Plato's cave”
Jean Baudrillard, America
“This country is without hope. Even its garbage is clean, its trade lubricated, its traffic pacified. The latent, the lacteal, the lethal - life is so liquid, the signs and messages are so liquid, the bodies and the cars are so fluid, the hair so blond, and the soft technologies so luxuriant, that a European dreams of death and murder, of suicide motels, of orgies and cannibalism to counteract the perfection of the ocean, of the light, of that insane ease of life, to counteract the hyperreality of everything here.”
Jean Baudrillard, America
“We criticize Americans for not being able either to analyse or conceptualize. But this is a wrong-headed critique. It is we who imagine that everything culminates in transcendence, and that nothing exists which has not been conceptualized. Not only do they care little for such a view, but their perspective is the very opposite: it is not conceptualizing reality, but realizing concepts and materializing ideas, that interests them. The ideas of the religion and enlightened morality of the eighteenth century certainly, but also dreams, scientific values, and sexual perversions. Materializing freedom, but also the unconscious. Our phantasies around space and fiction, but also our phantasies of sincerity and virtue, or our mad dreams of technicity. Everything that has been dreamt on this side of the Atlantic has a chance of being realized on the other. They build the real out of ideas. We transform the real into ideas, or into ideology.”
Jean Baudrillard, America
“Today...no performance can be without its control screen video...its goal is to be hooked up to itself...the mirror phase has given way to the video phase. What develops around the video or stereo culture is not a narcissistic imaginary, but an effect of frantic self-referentiality, a short-circuit which immediately hooks up like with like, and, in doing so, emphasizes their surface intensity and deeper meaninglessness.”
Jean Baudrillard, America
“It is never too late to revive your origins. It is their destiny: since they were not the first to be in on history, they will be the first to immortalize everything by reconstitution (by putting things in museums, they can match in an instant the fossilization process nature took millions of years to complete). But the conceptions Americans have of the museum is much wider than our own. To them, everything is worthy of protection, embalming, restoration. Everything can have a second birth, the eternal birth of the simulacrum. ”
Jean Baudrillard, America
“Driving is a spectacular form of amnesia. Everything is to be discovered, everything to be obliterated.”
Jean Baudrillard, America
“The skylines lit up at dead of night, the air-conditioning systems cooling empty hotels in the desert and artificial light in the middle of the day all have something both demented and admirable about them. The mindless luxury of a rich civilization, and yet of a civilization perhaps as scared to see the lights go out as was the hunter in his primitive night.”
Jean Baudrillard, America
“Desert is simply that: an ecstatic critique of culture, an ecstatic form of disappearance.”
Jean Baudrillard, America
tags: desert
“Speed is simply the rite that initiates us into
emptiness: a nostalgic desire for forms to revert to immobility, concealed beneath the very intensification of their mobility. Akin to the nostalgia for living forms that haunts geometry.”
Jean Baudrillard, America
“Les États-Unis, c'est l'utopia réalisée. If ne faut pas juger de leur crise comme de la nôtre [...] La leur est celle de l'utopie réalisée confrontée à sa durée et à sa permanence. La conviction idyllique des Américains d'être le centre du monde, la puissance suprême et le modèle absolu n'est pas fausse [...] [Elle] s'institue sur l'idée qu'elle est la réalisation de tout ce dont les autres ont rêvé - justice, abondance, droit, richesse, liberté: elle le sait, elle y croit, et finalement les autres y croient aussi. [...] [La colonisation] représente pour le Vieux Monde l'expérience unique d'une commutation idéalisée des valeurs, presque comme dans un roman de science-fiction (dont elle garde souvent la tonalité, comme aux USA) [...] C'est ce qui, quoi qu'il arrive, nous sépare des Américains. Nous ne les rattrapons jamais, et nous n'aurons jamais cette candeur. [...] Il nous manque l'âme et l'audace de ce qu'on pourrait appeler le degré zéro d'une culture, la puissance de l'inculture [...], tout comme la Weltanschauung transcendantale et historique de l'Europe échappera toujours aux Américains. Pas plus que les pays du Tiers Monde n'intérioriseront jamais les valeurs de démocratie et de progrès technologique [...]. Nous vivons dans la négativité et la contradiction, eux vivent dans le paradoxe (car c'est une idée paradoxale que celle d'une utopie réalisée). [...] Le charme et la puissance de l'(in)culture américaine viennent justement de la matérialisation soudaine et sans précédents des modèles.”
Jean Baudrillard, America
“Americans believe in facts, but not in facticity. They do not know that facts are
factitious, as their name suggests.”
Jean Baudrillard, America
“LIVE OR DIE': the graffiti message on the pier at Santa Monica is mysterious, because we really have no choice between life and death. If you live, you live, if you die, you die. It is like saying 'be yourself, or don't be!' It is stupid, and yet it is enigmatic. You could read it to mean that you should live intensely or else disappear, but that is banal. Following the model of 'payor die!', 'your money or your life!', it would become ' your life or your life!'. Stupid, again, since you cannot exchange life for itself. And yet there is poetic force in this implacable tautology, as there always is when there is nothing to be understood. In the end, the lesson of this graffiti is perhaps: 'if you get more stupid than me, you die!”
Jean Baudrillard, America
“In this country, it is not the highest virtue, nor the heroic act, that achieves fame, but the uncommon nature of the least significant destiny. There is plenty for everyone, then, since the more conformist the system as a whole becomes, the more millions of individuals there are who are set apart by some tiny peculiarity. The slightest vibration in a statistical model, the tiniest whim of a computer are enough to bathe some piece of abnormal behaviour, however banal, in a fleeting glow of fame.”
Jean Baudrillard, America
“This omnipresent cult of the body is extraordinary. It is the only object on which everyone is made to concentrate, not as a source of pleasure, but as an object of frantic concern, in the obsessive fear of failure or substandard performance, a sign and an anticipation of death, that death to which no one can any longer give a meaning, but which everyone knows has at all times to be prevented. The body is cherished in the perverse certainty of its uselessness, in the total certainty of its non-resurrection. Now, pleasure is an effect of the resurrection of the body, by which it exceeds that hormonal, vascular and dietetic equilibrium in which we seek to imprison it, that exorcism by fitness and hygiene. So the body has to be made to forget pleasure as present grace, to forget its possible metamorphosis into other forms of appearance and become dedicated to the utopian preservation of a youth that is, in any case, already lost. For the body which doubts its own existence is already half-dead, and the current semi-yogic, semi-ecstatic cult of the body is a morbid preoccupation. The care taken of the body while it is alive prefigures the way it will be made up in the funeral home.”
Jean Baudrillard, America
“Quand je parle du <> américain, c'est pour en souligner l'utopie [...]. Cette philosophie immanente non seulement au développement technique mais à l'outrepassement des techniques dans le jeu excessif de la technique, non seulement à la modernité, mais à la démesure des formes modernes [...]. C'est ce caractère fictionnel qui est passionnant. Or, la fiction n'est pas l'imaginaire [...]. [Nous, l'Européens] ne serons jamais dans la vraie fiction, nous sommes voués à l'imaginaire et à la nostalgie du future. Le mode de vie américain, lui, est spontanément fictionnel, puisqu'il est outrepassement de l'imaginaire dans la réalité. [...] Ce qui est neuf en Amérique, c'est le choc du premier niveau (primitif et sauvage) et du troisième type (le simulacre absolu). Pas de second degré. Situation pour nous difficile à saisir, qui avons toujours privilégié le second niveau, le réflexif, le dédoublement, la conscience malheureuse.”
Jean Baudrillard, America