Nicholas Hermann on 29 Mar 2001 18:38:55 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] How does 7-11 feel about CTHEORY and Beaudrillardianism?


Briggs Seekins is a prominent satirist now contributing to my listserv, you can find his paltry credentials on Google.  I was saddened to hear the news about the schoolchildren making fireworks in China.  Orson Welles meant, "Everyone is the greatest director," if I read Brace correctly.  For me this idea is sort of like having school cancelled forever, quite an odd feeling, as if the weather has changed drastically but the streets are empty.  


To:	<>
Date: 	3/28/01 8:36PM
Subject: 	Re: [Genius2000Conference2000] [Fwd: Article 94: From Goethe to @Baudrillard]

> Also, I think Briggs' mailbox is full so he hasn't gotten this thread. 
> He might have more to say than me.
Yeah, it was. I can't ever tell when it is full, until I realize I'm not getting any messages, which is usually when students start telling me all their emails are getting returned, and since we are on break this week, I didn't start wondering why I wasn't getting email until yesterday.

In regards to the commentary following the essay, I guess I'm just pretty much in agreement with everything Max wrote in criticism of the essay. I don't really know Goethe very well, I couldn't even get through all of Faust in translation. I'm the only poet I know who likes Marlowe's better than Goethe's. And I think Goethe cheats at the end and lets Faust off, if I remember correctly. I really never quite got the Faust myth, anyway. If Satan ever appeared before me and offered me the deal, I would say: "Hot damn, I guess this proves I have an immortal soul" and then I don't think I would be very tempted, and I've got all the voracious appetites of a natural born sinner, too.

I think Baudrillard is joke--he's something for cozy middle class academics--most of them over 40--to read when they want to feel all hip and rebellious. I'm the real deal when it comes to intellectual bad asses, though, so I don't need a sophisticated frog (sorry for the stylistically necessary ethnic slur) to inspire me along. Right near by to my computer, I've got a copy of Seduction--one of the type of copies the campus print center does for books that are out of print. Right on the first page, it says "When desire is entirely on the side of deamand, when it is operationalized without restrictions, it loses its imaginary and, therefore, its reality; it appears everywhere, but in generalized simulation. It is the ghost of desire that haunts the defunct reality of sex. Sex is everwhere, except in sexuality." and blah,blah,blah. Well, all I can say to that is, "Sorry for you, old man, if you don't still think that carnal pleasure is pretty fucking remarkable and hard-wired in!
to our brains as a potentially tremendous tool for social bonding and even for metaphysical reverence." 

Yet sometimes I say stuff that sounds vaguely Baudrillard-like. For instance the recent crack about how Apocalypse Now, Desert Storm and the West Wing constituted a triology. If I made that kind of joke at an academic wine drinking party (well, I don't get invited to them, but if I did...) somebody might say "Oh, yes, the Gulf War was a simulacra...Baudrillard...blah...blah..." and I would stop and spit tobacco juice in their eye and say "Simulacra my ass," because I was there, and I can assure anybody that it wasn't a simulation, and the pictures I saw of starving and sick Iraqi babies at the Bush protest last Friday are all the testimony I need that what's still going on there is certainly not a simulation. But I do think that for most Americans, the Gulf War was another form of entertainment, and it participated in a cultural narrative arc that also contains Marty's two big projects.      

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