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.
Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants
Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards
TV ReviewThe intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron
Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days
Oscar voter speaks outfilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 2 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 3 What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 Fearne Cotton quits Radio 1 after ten years for 'family and new adventures'
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East