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America by Jean Baudrillard

America (1986)

by Jean Baudrillard

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617425,091 (3.46)8
From the sierras of New Mexico to the streets of New York and LA by night--"a sort of luminous, geometric, incandescent immensity"--Baudrillard mixes aperçus and observations with a wicked sense of fun to provide a unique insight into the country that dominates our world. In this new edition, leading cultural critic and novelist Geoff Dyer offers a thoughtful and perceptive take on the continued resonance of Baudrillard's America.… (more)
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Showing 4 of 4
If you die in America, do you die in real life? ( )
  michaeljoyce | Dec 4, 2017 |
I have no idea how to read this. I'm not stupid, but I don't know what postmodernism is and I've not the resources to find out, or to figure out what is going on in this book. Lots of big words, floating pronouns, and sentence fragments that don't actually seem to be saying anything. (Unlike my sentence fragments. ;)
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 5, 2016 |
Not unless I'm forced will I read another word by this absolute head-up-ass dreck-merchant. I was prepared to be a very sympathetic reader; I was primed and ready for some snappy and devastating criticisms of America; but Baudrillard is too concerned with manufacturing what he must think are theoretical pronouncements to actually observe his surroundings. He certainly didn't need to travel to write this shmarmy and useless rubbish pit of a book; he probably had the whole thing outlined before he started smirking his way across the country. He is also wrong about everything and racist. I couldn't get too far past his chapter on "New York" in which the following trash nuggets can be found: "Why do people live in New York? There is no relationship between them. Except for an inner electricity which results from the simple fact of their being crowded together. A magical sensation of contiguity and attraction for an artificial certainty . . . There is no human reason to be here, except for the sheer ecstasy of being crowded together." of breakdancing: "You might say that in curling up and spiraling around on the ground like this, they seem to be digging a hole for themselves within their own bodies, from which to stare out in the ironic, indolent pose of the dead." "For me there is no truth in America. I ask of the Americans only that they be Americans. I do not ask them to be intelligent, sensible, original. I ask them only to populate a space incommensurate with my own, to be for me the highest astral point, the finest orbital space."

He can ask me to kick his ass into the finest orbital space any time he wants. If you'd like my copy of this book, come and get it. ( )
  fieldnotes | Nov 11, 2008 |
Showing 4 of 4
Though punctuated with odd flashes of insight, his book on America is a slim sottisier in which facts have a nominal role. Reporting, it is not. There are signs that Baudrillard has decided to leaven the clogged mass of his jargon with bits of literary Americana; one detects, in the background, the hum of Henry Miller’s The Air-Conditioned Nightmare, Thomas Pynchon’s paranoid list-making and Norman Mailer’s sermons against plastic and cancer, as well as echoes from the more chiliastic passages of J. G. Ballard’s science fiction writing. The star of his own road movie, Baudrillard spends a great deal of time driving, for it is on the freeways—circulation again—that so much of the truth of America is to be found, or at any rate sought: “The speed of the screenplay, the indifferent reflex of television … the marvellously affectless succession of signs, images, faces, and ritual acts on the road.” Highway signs are, to him, epiphanies. “ ‘Right lane must exit.’ This ‘must exit’ has always struck me as a sign of destiny. I have got to go, to expel myself from this paradise, leave this providential highway which leads nowhere, but keeps me in touch with everyone. This is the only real society or warmth here …,” and so on, and so forth. No wonder he seldom gets out of the car.
added by SnootyBaronet | editNew York Review of Books, Robert Hughes

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jean Baudrillardprimary authorall editionscalculated
Arppe, TiinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Frausin Guarino, LauraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ojamaa, MaarjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Traat, VictoriaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Turner, ChrisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.
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