Jean Baudrillard 1929 – 2007


an extract from Simulacra and Simulations;

Of the same order as the impossibility of rediscovering an absolute level of the real, is the impossibility of staging an illusion. Illusion is no longer possible, because the real is no longer possible. It is the whole political problem of the parody, of hypersimulation or offensive simulation, which is posed here.For example: it would be interesting to see whether the repressive apparatus would not react more violently to a simulated hold up than to a real one? For a real hold up only upsets the order of things, the right of property, whereas a simulated hold up interferes with the very principle of reality. Transgression and violence are less serious, for they only contest the distribution of the real. Simulation is infinitely more dangerous since it always suggests, over and above its object, that law and order themselves might really be nothing more than a simulation.

But the difficulty is in proportion to the peril. How to feign a violation and put it to the test? Go and simulate a theft in a large department store: how do you convince the security guards that it is a simulated theft? There is no “objective” difference: the same gestures and the same signs exist as for a real theft; in fact the signs mclme neither to one side nor the other. As far as the established order is concerned, they are always of the order of the real.

Go and organize a fake hold up. Be sure to check that your weapons are harmless, and take the most trustworthy hostage, so that no life is in danger (otherwise you risk committing an offence). Demand ransom, and arrange it so that the operation creates the greatest commotion possible. In brief, stay close to the “truth”, so as to test the reaction of the apparatus to a perfect simulation. But you won’t succeed: the web of art)ficial signs will be inextricably mixed up with real elements (a police officer will really shoot on sight; a bank customer will faint and die of a heart attack; they will really turn the phoney ransom over to you). In brief, you will unwittingly find yourself immediately in the real, one of whose functions is precisely to devour every attempt at simulation, to reduce everything to some reality: that’s exactly how the established order is, well before institutions and justice come into play.

French thinker Baudrillard dies

J.K.


you’re doing a heck of a job…

we decided to pardon you, effective immediately, and give you a little something as a token of our appreciation…

Oh, and Brownie says howdy…

J.K.


Pardon… Excusez-mois…

independent.co.uk
bbc.co.uk
guardian.co.uk

4 out of 5 ain’t bad I suppose;

In a massive new blow to the credibility of the White House

ahem…

Vice-President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff Lewis Libby has been convicted of obstruction of justice, perjury and lying to the FBI, during the investigation into the leaking of the identity of a CIA agent.

I wonder what the mood at the White House is like;

In a statement, Mr Cheney said he was “very disappointed with the verdict“. At the White House the mood was equally grim. George Bush respected the result of the trial, but was “saddened for Scooter Libby and his family”, a spokesman said.

Apparently Libby’s family are falling all over themselves to apologize to Cheney. It’s a difficult time for everyone involved I’m sure. So what now for Libby?

Defence lawyers immediately said they would seek a fresh trial, and if that failed, lodge an appeal. In theory Libby faces up to 25 years in jail, though federal sentencing guidelines mean he is likely to receive a far shorter term… Libby’s appeal could run for many months through the courts, possibly as far as the Supreme Court. If the case is not settled by the time a new president is elected in November 2008, Mr Bush could pardon Libby.

Indeed. Or maybe even award him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Business as usual. So what’s the upshot of all this?

The trial, in which neither Libby nor his former boss testified, threw no new light on the handling of the WMD intelligence used to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq. But it revealed the obsessive sensitivity of the Vice-President’s office to any attack on its pre-war use of intelligence, and its determination to discredit critics.

Right, but did we learn anything new?

J.K.


Images from America; Awful Knofel

USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA etc.

Picture courtesy of the the incredible Wonkette.

J.K.