Cultural Studies

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By Jean Baudrillard

'Since de Toqueville, French thinkers were fascinated by the United States. but if it involves mysterious paradoxes and lyrical complexity no French highbrow suits Jean Baudrillard in considering the recent World... [He] has develop into a sharp-shooting Lone Ranger of the post-Marxist left." -- long island occasions "The choice of wild, frequently hilarious postcards from his journey to the United States comprises a few of the year's so much orignal and gorgeous writing." -- New Statesman and Society " ... sometimes provocative and typically infuriating ... the United States is full of perceptive, virtually poetic observations." -- Rolling Stone "A mix of loopy notions and dead-on insights, the USA is a invaluable (and voluable) photograph of what Mr. Baudrillard calls 'the merely final primitive society' -- ours." -- big apple occasions publication overview

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Americans are people of conviction, convinced of everything and seeking to convince. One of the aspects of their good faith is this stubborn determination to reconstitute everything of a past and a history which were not their own and which they have largely destroyed or spirited away. Renaissance castles, fossilized elephants, Indians on reservations, sequoias as holograms, etc. In storing details on their computers of all the known souls in the civilized (white) countries, the Mormons of Salt Lake City are behaving no differently from other Americans, who all share the same missionary spirit.

These rich people will die slowly in their aquarium like goldfish. Some of the university campuses here remind me of this. Lost among the pine trees, the fields, and the rivers (it is an old ranch that was donated to the university), and made up of little blocks, each one out of sight of the others, like the people who live in them: this one is Santa Cruz. It’s a bit like the Bermuda Triangle (or Santa Barbara). Everything vanishes. Everything gets sucked in. Total decentring, total community. After the ideal city of the future, the ideal cosy nook.

They form the mental frontier where the projects of civilization run into the ground. They are outside the sphere and circumference of desire. ] in culture. They are our mythic operator. ROMERO SADDLE - CAMINO CIELO - BLUE CANYON - QUICK SILVER MINE - SYCAMORE CANYON - SAN RAPHAEL WILDERNESS As night is falling, after three hours driving, I am lost in the San Raphael Wilderness. Driving on and on towards the last of the sun’s rays, then by the headlights reflecting in the sand of the river bed.

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America by Jean Baudrillard


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