[iDC] Re: baudrillard's terror

Stephen Downes ✮ stephen at downes.ca
Tue Mar 13 13:05:34 EDT 2007

I sometimes wonder whether it's possible for a European to understand 

You need to see America while driving a Ford Galaxie on an interstate at 
night, the neon glow of the city lights reflecting the low-hanging 
clouds on a sultry steamy summer evening. If you do not see this, if you 
cannot imagine it, you do not understand America.

    And I’m driving into Houston on a rain slicked Texas road
    Land so flat and sky so dark I say a prayer to float
    Should all at once the Sanasito surge beyond its banks
    Like Noah reaching higher ground I’d offer up my thanks

    Cause I’m a stranger here No one you would know
    I’m just passing through I am therefore I go
    The moon rose in the east But now it's right above
    As I say aloud Goodnight America

    (Mary Chapin Carpenter)

Everybody understands that America is an illusion, a wonderland of pink 
flamingos and purple velvet.

But it's /their/ illusion. It belongs to the people; it was created by 
the people. They /do/ remember driving their cars on the interstate, 
listening to the DJ, their futures riding on four wheels and a dream. 
They /made/ this; everything in America was /made/.

If the post-modernists were misinterpreted, it was because their 
interpreters believed that there could /be/ an interpretation, some 
stance, other than a point of view, that represented their thought. If 
it were up to me, I would drop their books, shatter them into a thousand 
pieces, each a one-paragraph blog post, with no determinate start page, 
each reader entering from a different vector, each word meaning 
something different with each glint of the reflecting light.

If post-modernism had no impact, it's because everyone stood around, 
waiting for it to /say/ something to do them, when all along the message 
was, that this is yours, to pick up, and create what you will. It is 
perhaps no accident that Baudrillard was from common parents; when you 
do not inherit your history you have to make it, and when you make it, 
it becomes /yours/.

-- Stephen

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