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Baudrillard's Thoughts on Media

Baudrillard's Thoughts on Media

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Published by Charlotte Troy

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Charlotte Troy on Dec 26, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Baudrillard's Thoughts On Media
"...what if the sign did not relate either to the object or tomeaning, but to the promotion of the sign as sign? And what if information did not relate either to the event or the facts, but tothe promotion of information itself as event? And more preciselytoday: what if television no longer related to anything exceptitself as message?"-- Jean Baudrillard,
Screened Out 
1.Introduction:The territory of reality no longer precedes the mapof representation2.The media are what always prevent a response.3.Information devours its own content.4.The secret vice of media.5.Bibliography. Introduction:Jean Baudrillard (1929-2007), sociologist, philosopher, and theauthor of over thirty books, is best known for his theories of simulacra and hyperreality.
According to Baudrillard, the territory of reality no longer precedesthe map of representation. Images and signs have become more"real" to us than "reality" itself. In the past, signifiers stood in a one-to-one correspondence with their referents: today they do not; theyproliferate in all directions; they themselves are perceived andinterpreted as "real". For example, the Main Street of Disneylandhas become a more "real" representation of Main Street in ourcollective mind than the Main Street of towns and cities itself. Theidea of New York and Paris one experiences in a Las Vegas casinohas become as real or more real to people than the actual citiesthemselves."Something has disappeared: the sovereign difference [betweenmaps and territories] that constituted the charm of abstraction,"Baudrillard writes in
Simulacra And Simulation
. "The real isproduced from miniaturized cells, matrices, and memory banks,models of control -- and it can be reproduced an indefinite numberof times from these. It no longer needs to be rational, because it nolonger measures itself against either an ideal or negative instance. Itis no longer anything but operational."In the past, a "real" moment occurred when a person experiencedanother person's presence and speech, or observed something thatwas happening in the neighboorhood or across the street. Todaywhat we experience more and more are spectacles, images,symbols, signs. To understand to what great degree we have allbecome dependent on circuitry and networks, try living a weekwithout a cell phone, or PC, or TV, or DVD player, or iPod, orradio. Perhaps for many, such deprivation would be equivalent toan emotional and psychological death. The feeling of absencewould hit them in a quite destabilizing way.
Consider a few plain examples of the way that symbols and signsaffect our thought processes. Take the act of driving to work everymorning. A woman turns on the radio in her car and hears acommercial for a new kind of home mortgage, or a pitch for generalnutrition centers, or a claim about a new fast-working sleeping pill.She looks out the window and sees a billboard of a beautiful facewith the message, "Maybe she's born with it. Maybe it'sMaybelline." At work, before retrieving her emails, she glances atthe headlines of an Internet portal and all at once confronts thefollowing:Tips for taking your baby on a plane.Poll: Fat-cancer link not widely known.10 easy ways to stash away cash.Does your baby need a therapist?See Eve Longoria's fave San Antonio spots.After work she stops by the mall to buy a CD for her daughter,but before she enters the record store, she notices a giant posterof Mariah Carey in a micro-skirt, with a heavily painted face,legs spread out in that familiar, alluring pose. What meaning canbe attached to the poster? Maybe none at all, or maybe thesubliminal message that buying the CD will give you anerection, or turn you in to a similarly seductive woman. What isthe connection between everything this woman has seen andheard on a single given day, and the actual experiences of herlife?Or consider a viewer's reaction, after a televised presidentialdebate, that such-and-such a candidate came across as genuineor honest. What does honesty mean in this context? Nothingreally at all: politicians present their best face before the TVcameras, seem often to be what in fact they are not, will often

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