an excerpt from America by Jean Baudrillard
with completely unrelated linkz
“The slogan of a new form of advertising activity… a pure and empty form , a challenge to ones own self that has replaced the Promethean ecstasy of competition, effort, and success.
The New York marathon has become a sort of international symbol of such fetishistic performance, of the mania for an empty victory , the joy engendered by a feat that is of no consequence.
I ran the New York marathon: “I did it!”
I conquered Annapurna: “I did it!”
I finally got a Twitter account: “I did it!”
The moon landing is the same kind of thing: “We did it!” The event was ultimately not really so surprising; it was an event pre-programmed into the course of science and progress. We did it. But it has not revived the millenarian dream of conquering space. In a sense, it has exhausted it.
Carrying out any kind of programme produces the same sense of futility that comes from doing anything merely to prove to yourself that you can do it: having a child, climbing a mountain, making some sexual conquest, committing suicide.
The marathon is a form of demonstrative suicide, suicide as advertising: it is running to show you are capable of getting every last drop of energy out of yourself, to prove it… to prove what? That you are capable of finishing. Graffiti carry the same message. They simply say: I’m so-and-so and I exist! They are free publicity for existence.
Do we continually have to prove to ourselves that we exist? A strange sign of weakness, harbinger of a new fanaticism for a faceless performance, endlessly self evident.”
Nothing like a good ol’ postmodern critique of society to start off your day.
In other news:
Kanye West gets free fishsticks! @Kanye’sblog
Tricky (of Massive Attack) shares his musical wisdom. @Wired.com