America, By Jean Baudrillard, trs Chris Turner
Sunday 31 October 2010
Billed as "travel/philosophy", America does not fall neatly into either category. It is a series of assertions, inspired by his travels in America, in which Baudrillard strains his hardest to be clever and provocative.
It's crammed with paradoxes (America is "the only remaining primitive society") ; outlandish metaphors ("The marathon is a form of demonstrative suicide") and patronising generalisations ("America is a desert"; Americans are "brutally naïve").
There's also a good deal of repetition ("a realised utopia is a paradoxical idea" – p85; "the idea of an achieved utopia is a paradoxical one" – p91). There are some insights (in America, there is "an air of openness to the confrontation between races") and some poetic descriptions (desert sunsets are "giant rainbows lasting for an hour"), but the constant playing to the gallery becomes irksome.
It's all wit and no judgement. Am I taking all this too seriously, and not getting the joke? Possibly. I'm aware that this is the response of an empirically inclined Anglo-Saxon. Read it and feel free to disagree.
Is the comedy album making a comeback?comedy
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
- 2 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 3 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 4 Richard Dawkins says 'date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse' on Twitter
- 5 Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
'Phallic symbols' found hidden in famous Pre-Raphaelite painting 'Isabella' by John Everett Millais
Top Gear Burma episode breached Ofcom rules over Jeremy Clarkson's racial slur
Freddie Prinze Jr on 24: 'Kiefer Sutherland was the most unprofessional dude in the world – I hated every moment of it'
How did our legends really begin?
Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine pay tribute to Jon 'Fat' Beast, dead at 51
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
- < Previous
- Next >