continent. maps a topology of unstable confluences and ranges across new thinking, traversing interstices and alternate directions in culture, theory, biopolitics and art.
Issue 2.2 / 2012:

"The Precession of Simulacra" by Jean Baudrillard, Translated from English into American

Sean Joseph Patrick Carney

continent. 2.2 (2012): 99–135

Originally appeared in Baudrillard’s Simulations and Simulacra, 1981. This adaptation is based on an English translation by Paul Foss and Paul Patton.

Baudrillard

What a cutie

 

 

boot

Precession of Simulacra

You think you understand the fucking real, man? Try this shit on for size:

“The simulacrum is never that which conceals the truth—it is the truth which conceals that there is none.
The simulacrum is true.”
Ecclesiastes

BOOM. Fucking truth bomb. You’re like, “What’s a simulacrum?” It’s Latin for copying shit. Like painting pictures of God, V-Card Mary, the Holy Fucking Ghost. Except that I’m gonna be the first to say that maybe those copies end up turning into their own reality, one that you might even call “hyperreal.” Oh, and I might also point out that this is because there is no God.

Is that too much to handle? Then you’re fucked, because right about now, I’m gonna let you know that the quote up above from Ecclesiastes ISN’T EVEN IN THE FUCKING BIBLE. The lesson here is to be skeptical or be a dumbass. Just because I wrote it doesn’t mean shit.

Lez get started.

The best story ever told about simulation is by this guy Jorge Luis Borges—an Argentine with a taste for blood and liberalism in general. “Fuck the Nazis,” he said over and over again. “Everybody’s kind of a Jew anyways.” Borges wrote this super short story in 1946 called “On Exactitude in Science” (what?). In it, this fucking empire is so obsessed with maps or some shit that they make this huge ass map that is actually completely a 1:1 scale with the real world. It ends up being so big that it just covers the whole territory like a pelty moss of pubic hair. The map crumbles, yada yada yada, and you’re like, “Is this real life?” I don’t know. The point is that the map became the real to these idiots. It’s worth noting that Borges made up some fucking dude (or chick?) named Suarez Miranda and lied that it was really written by that person. Talk about layers, right? And Borges stole the entire idea for the short story from Lewis “The Industrial Revolution’s Marilyn Manson” Carroll. All I’m saying is, it’s fucking dense. What I’m getting at here is that this story is a lot more like the way we live now than you might care to believe. All we’re left with is the slutty allure of second-order simulacra (simulacra is two or more simulacrums). More on this “second-order” nonsense later.

In today’s world, the idea of something being abstract has nothing to do with it being a copy of something else or like a mirror of it. Simulation isn’t about pretending to be a real place, a person, or even a thing at all. It’s now like “models of reality” that aren’t even based on any reality to begin with—that’s what I meant when I said “hyperreal” earlier. So, it’s not like there’s a country and then a map is made to represent it or to be its legacy or anything. From here on out, it’s the map that precedes the territory. The PRECESSION OF SIMULACRA. Note: it’s not the PROCESSION OF SIMULACRA—that’d be a parade of photocopies marching down the goddamn street. Naw, it’s map or copy now that makes a place real first. If that Borges story was happening right now, instead of the map slowly disappearing and confusing us, it’d be the land itself disappearing and confusing us. The ghost of real places, not of maps, are peppered all over the fucking place, in those deserts that aren’t part of the empire, but part of us, or something.

desert

THE DESERT OF THE REAL ITSELF

Fuck The Matrix. I invented that shit.

You know what? Even when we switch that Borges story around so it’s the real that disintegrated and not the map, the story’s fucking stupid. The only thing left is the long and drawn out metaphor of this fake ass empire. Because today, the same motherfuckers who are always trying to flex their power and take over other countries and people try day in and day out to make the reality that we experience line up nicely with their models of simulation. It’s not a question about maps or territory though. Something’s gone, right? That something is the charm that used to exist between a noun and a representation of the noun. That something is the difference between a map and a territory, the thing that makes the map like a work of art and the territory like a real place. The difference disappeared because simulation nowadays is not a mirror of the real world or broad in its mission—it’s totally nuclear and genetic, which means that the way it is formed is not obvious like a drawing, but is more like fake ass DNA. It’s in everything and impossible to spot! There’s no longer a real thing and the concept of that thing as two different pieces. Metaphysics is fucked. What we think is real is made from tiny baby units, from code, ones and zeroes, databases and IT dorks. Reality can be reproduced a trillion times if some ponytailed jabrony with HTML experience wants it to be. And you can forget about reality now being something rational, because there’s nothing rational to measure it against. It’s basically operational—readymade reality, if you will. It’s just not fucking real, OK? It’s hyperreal, the result of a giant cancer that eats up everything in a hyperspace that doesn’t have an atmosphere. Michael Crichton might have been onto something.

So now that we’re in this space where nothing is real, simulation begins by murdering the shit out of anything that references the real world. And what’s worse, all we’re left with is a system of signs which are even more gooey than meaning itself. A sign that represents a concept now represents everything associated with that concept. The Heinz logo isn’t just ketchup, it’s also mustard, mayo, and ranch. Signs aren’t reproductions of real things, mirror images of real things, or even a joke about a real thing. Those real things are gone now, completely replaced by signs being pumped out of the ultra-machine—they are a concept, the opposite of the concept, and everything inbefuckingtween. The ultra-machine doesn’t have to make anything real ever again. Shit that it makes doesn’t die either, we just figure it’ll keep on happening, like styrofoam or electronic music. What are we left with? This shitty circle of fake life that most of us don’t even realize is fake because we’re so fucking stupid all the time.

 

 

The Holy Image Doesn't Mean Shit Anymore

 

Let me toss an idea at you...

To “dissimulate” is to pretend like you don’t have something that you do. An example of this would be not disclosing that you’ve got herpes to somebody you take home for a one night stand.

To “simulate” is to pretend to have what you don’t. For instance, with that same one night stand, it would be to pretend that you’re a lawyer with shit tons of bank throbbage by paying for all her drinks with your credit card and acting cool like it’s a debit card.

debit card

One suggests a presence of something, the other, the absence of something. But it’s honestly more complicated than that, because simulating isn’t just pretending. Let’s say you pretend like you’re really sick to get out of seeing somebody who is visiting town that you kind of don’t like. You get in bed, act all gross and sick, and you end up seriously producing some of the symptoms because you’re acting so hard. So, pretending or dissimulating might mean you’re full of shit, but it doesn’t like challenge reality. The difference, to somebody who knows the drill, is still clear; it’s just being masked. But full-blown simulation, not just simply pretending, threatens the difference between true and false because you start to like “be sick,” catch my drift? If you’re simulating being sick you’ll end up producing some “true” symptoms—so it’s like, are you sick or not sick? You can’t be treated medically now as either sick or not. Psychology and medicine can’t do shit at this point because if all it takes is intentionally showing some symptoms for them to come about, doesn’t that kind of mean that maybe every sickness could be faked? And if that’s the case, doesn’t that mean that maybe the jury is still out on science? That’s an Arrested Development reference, if you’re not on my level. If it can’t determine if you’re really sick or not, then it doesn’t mean shit.

Psychosomatics, which means the relationship between the mind and the body, not just a word in a song by The Prodigy, gets pretty sketchy when thinking about illnesses. If we think about this like Freud or something, you could say that the symptom being exhibited moves from being organic to being unconscious. And somehow this makes it more true, I think, which seems like total bullshit. Because why should simulation stop at the portals of the unconscious? The work of the unconscious seems like it could be produced just like any other symptom in classic medicine. Think about how dreams fucking happen.

When somebody goes to court for murdering the balls out of somebody and pulls the old “I’m cray cray” defense, the court has somebody called an alienist (which sounds way cooler than it actually is) to determine whether or not the person is indeed cray cray or not. Supposedly, says the alienist, there are a bunch of symptoms that happen in a particular order to push somebody to being fully batshit, and most stupid criminals aren’t smart enough to know that. When they fuck it up, the alienist goes, “No way. This dude is totally sane.” But they established that shit in 1865 or something to try to preserve the truth principle, which by now is completely fucking absent. That creepy ass ghost we call simulation has itself murdered the balls out of truth, reference and maybe even objectivity. What is science to do when somebody can just act loco and then they’re loco? IDK, and neither do you. Don’t even get me started on psychoanalysis here.

What does the army do with simulators? Well, once they’ve identified one, they punch them in the butt and say, “Fuck you, faker.” But are they actually good at identifying people and punching them in the butt? I don’t think that they are that good anymore. Pretending to be gay? Sick? Crazy? Whatevs. Even psychologists in the military won’t full on say somebody’s 100% gay or 100% having flat feet—they could be wrong, and psychologists, ESPECIALLY military psychologists, do not like to be wrong. So, it’s kind of like, “OK, he can be gay,” or maybe it’s like, “OK, that guy is straight if he says so.” Think about this: basically all lunatics are simulating in one way or another, which is freaky as shit. It flies in the face of classical reason, yeah? Yeah. In this day and age, everything is wackadoo and the truth is drowning big time.

Now, there are other things in the world besides medicine and armies. Let’s talk about church. Some high and mighty fuck once said, “I forbade any simulacrum in the temples because the divinity that breathes life into nature cannot be represented.” He meant, no pictures of God because you don’t even know how to draw him. I’d like to challenge him by replying, “The fuck I don’t.” Listen, what happens to divine shit when it’s made into a visual icon, when it is multiplied and copied? Does it stay as tough? As holy? Or, does it get butt raped so fucking hard that it’s molested into straight simulacra shooting off goddamn cock braggadocio all over your face?

Have you ever heard of the Iconoclasts? They got off on destroying images of God. And at first you’re like, “Well, they didn’t want to pervert His Holiness by making Him depicted by some dude.” NOT TRUE. What the Iconoclasts really feared was that when these simulacra were put into the world, it wasn’t that they’d make God less cool, but they might actually suggest that there never was a God to begin with! Hear me now, motherfucker: there is no God. He’s like the biggest simulacrum ever. If Iconoclasts really believed that images of God made him into some form of visual witchery or made him gross to us, they wouldn’t have fucking cared at all. You see, even batshit crazy religious bros can live with a perverted idea of their Creator—what fucked them up hard was that the pictures of God didn’t actually mask anything or make anything gross. Because these weren’t pictures “of” something like the ones that you take with a camera. Pictures of God aren’t simulations, they’re simulacra. The difference is that a perfect simulacra hides the fact that there is no original to begin with. Does this make sense? Yeah it fucking does. So, they killed images of God because they were scared the images in the first place actually killed God by pointing out that He’s totes fake.

You read books and shit and people say that the Iconoclasts hated images. Naw, bitch. The Iconoclasts were the only people who fucking got the actual power of images. The Iconoclaters, the people who made the pictures, thought these were images of Bible shit so that illiterate masses could finally understand the stories. Those idiots didn’t realize that all making pictures did was show us that they weren’t pictures of shit. Oh, wait—what if the Iconoclaters were actually super fucking modern? You ever think of that? Like, because underneath these pictures of God or whatever, they’d already killed Him. Yeah, suck on that. I bet they were in on a big game where they knew they were killing Him, but were like, “This is tight. Nobody gets it and we’re the raddest.” This is the same thing the Mars Volta thinks every time that they put out a new record.

Mars Volta

OMG. They're like a Latin Led Zepplein.

The Jesuits, who are like the Mars Volta of religion, actually based all of their politics on the disappearance of God. They liked to mess with people’s consciences—POOF—God disappears and all of a sudden He turns into political power. Shit just got real, huh? Behind all those old pictures of God, besides the back of the painting and the wall, is the ghostly shadow of politics. Yup.

Maybe what’s always been at risk is that images are murderous motherfuckers. Images just can’t be representations of the Real with a capital R, buddy. You can’t get them to agree on shit. All Western religious faith, or faith in general, was stupid because the dumbass masses believed that a picture of God could give somebody the divine orgasm of spiritual connection. An idea like that requires the actual existence of God as the cashier in a holy transaction. Well, guess what—God quit Safeway about a year ago and now you have to use that self checkout thing that seriously ends up taking twice as long as having somebody do it for you. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that if you can make a picture of God, then God ain’t shit to begin with. The feeling the first time you carve a chick out is real, but you can’t fucking draw that. If you could, it’d be pretend. Just like God. What you end up with now is this big Human Centipede of fake shit where simulacra eat each other’s poop and then poop it into other simulacra’s mouths and the poop goes around and around.

Human Centipede

Double You Tee Fuck

There you have it—simulation is totally opposite of representation, OK? Representation starts from the idea that a sign of something can communicate how real that something is. This idea is fucking retarded, but at least it’s kind of honest. Simulation, on the other hand, takes that silly and goofy idea of the two being equal as its starting point but doesn’t even give a shit if that real something ever existed in the first place. If representation and simulation were in a fight, representation would fight for the good of the original and be mad at simulation for trying to kill it. Simulation though would do a flash kick (where you light your foot on fire and do a backflip kick to the opponent’s face) and then smother representation so hard it would die out in a choke hold because simulation has no reason to live. And you can’t kill a man with nothing to live for, because he is already dead. I think that is from a Cohen brothers film, but I am not sure.

It’s not like there is just representation and simulation though. There are, oh, I don’t know, let’s say four phases of an image. That sounds like a good number. Here they are:

1. It’s a reflection of a basic reality (a photo of your girlfriend)
2. It perverts a basic reality (you airbrush her and make her tits bigger in Photoshop)
3. It masks the absence of a basic reality (you never dated this bitch but use the photo to lie to people that she’s your girlfriend, saying she lives in a different state because it’s unlikely that anybody will be able to confirm or dispute this)
4. It bears no relation to any reality whatsoever (you drew her with Google SketchUp)

In #1, the picture is a “good” one—it does indeed show something that exists and isn’t really trying to fuck with anybody. In #2, it’s getting kind of “evil” because you’re starting to lie to people with the picture. In #3, it is pretty much just “playing” at being a picture of somebody that you are dating—it’s bad, but kind of cool because it’s a little bit like you’re a magician. By the time that you get to #4 though, it has nothing at all to do with appearances; it’s straight up simulation. Got it?

Remember earlier when I talked about dissimulation? Well, there’s this serious turning point that happens when the picture that dissimulates something (that this girl is your GF) actually dissimulates that there is nothing (it’s not even a real girl, whether she’s yours or not). Again, #1 at least kind of is about truth. As you get into #2 though, you start sliding down the path of simulacra and simulation—when it’s no longer clear if this girl is your girlfriend, then keeps on sliding down to the point where I’m gonna be like, “Does this bitch even exist, dude?”

model

Oh, by the way, this is my girlfriend. Seriously.

When there’s nothing real, then you REALLY can say shit is nostalgic. Because yearning for the past is yearning for something that’s not real. You don’t even remember it correctly, so how the fuck can it be real? Welcome to the spiral of half-truth, pretend realness and total trifling fake shit. The world pretends like everything is documented and archived, this giant like bank of truth—maybe it’s the internet, IDK—but what’s really happening is that we’re losing track of anything real at all because of all of that documentation. We start thinking of the documentation as what actually happened instead of what happened. This is fucked. We’re freaking the fuck out about this without even knowing about it, so we make all types of material shit. Do these objects make our lives more real? If you said yes, you’re fucking stupid. Today, we’re in a weird place that is hyperreal. Do you know what a deterrent is? It’s like the threat of punishment that keeps people from doing crazy shit. Having everything be fake is kind of like a deterrent to trying to get down to the real, man. Because what are you gonna use to get to the real? Probably some stupid fake fucking device like a digital camera. And what are you gonna have then? A digital picture of something, idiot. Talk about a double-ended dildo in your reality holes.

Damy Winehouse

"Damy Winehirst" Whatever.

 

 

The Third Pharaoh of Egypt, or Pink Fucking Resurrection

 

 

Ethnology is a type of “science” or “anthropology” that looks at research other people did and compares it against research that more other people did to compare cultures and try to make up some shit about what it all means. In 1971, ethnology just about died. Why? Because the Philippine government decided to return a bunch of Tasaday people, who’d lived for eight hundred fucking years without meeting modern civilization before being plucked out of the jungle, back to their natural habitat. They did this because the anthropologists who’d yanked them out of the jungle noticed that as soon as they were shown modern civilization, they died inside. It was like when you take a mummy out of a pyramid and open up his dank coffin to the air and he immediately starts turning to mush.

Addendum from the Ghost of Jean Baudrillard:
I’d also like to point out here that there are a fuckton of people who are pretty thoroughly convinced that the whole Tasaday tribe was invented and amounts to a huge hoax. While it’s entirely possible that this is the case, when I was writing this work originally, nobody had really told me that this was likely all faked. So, let’s suspend our disbelief and imagine that they were totally legit. I mean, I really, really used them as a central fucking metaphor to this entire chapter of my book and it would be really inconvenient for me if I personally was duped by a simulation while I’m up here on my fucking horse criticizing the shit out of it. Is that OK with you?


Yes? OK, then let’s continue…

If ethnology wants to live, whatever it’s studying has to die. But the thing that it’s studying gets a kind of revenge in this scenario. “Science wants to study us? Fuck science. We’ll just die.”

All science is like this. If you want to study something, you have to accept that you’re going to end up killing it. Art critics do this every time they talk about virtually anything. In Greek mythology, I guess there was this musician named Orpheus who could play the shit out of his flute to the point that people would like openly weep. This is not unlike Latin American fans at a Morrissey concert. Anyway, his wife got bitten by a bunch of vipers (rad) and she fucking died. He played this really sad song and all the gods were like, “Let’s give him a second chance.” So he cruises down to the underworld and wows the gatekeepers with his mournful tune and they decide he can have his wife back on one condition: she can follow him out of the underworld, but if he turns around and looks at her, the fucking deal is off. Orpheus gets all the way back to the regular world and panics, turns around and looks at her, but she is like barely still in the underworld and disappears. Science is like Orpheus because it, uh, turns around too soon.

orpheus

Oh, wook at dis witto Gweek bebe. Po Owpheus is wiwwy sad because da wuv of his wife is foweva in da Undawoold.

The ethnologists saw this shit coming and thought they could put the Tasaday back into the jungle before they “died” died. They figured that they’d close them off from modern people again. It’d be a bummer for their scientific research, but it seemed like the right thing to do—the Tasady would be safe again. This isn’t a question about some kind of sacrifice, especially since science never sacrifices itself. Science always murders. Instead, this is a simulated sacrifice of their objects of study. Like they really cared about the Tasaday. They stuck them in the jungle so that they’d be frozen in time there, always available in case somebody ever wanted to scoot back in there and check to make sure that they were real. All the data had been recorded, so the reality principle of science was still safe. Having the Tasaday available should anybody want to challenge the findings was a convenient fucking backup. Lots of people who are into science end up doing a sort of anti-ethnology by distancing themselves from the subject. Somehow, it makes white dudes feel less like they’re guilty of anything exploitative. What those buttfuckers don’t realize though is that now their whole science this is a fiction. Whoa, ha ha, that’s totally like Science Fiction! I didn’t even mean to make that pun. This shit writes itself.

Sending the Tasaday back to the jungle then allows ethnologists to pretty much assume all fucking native peoples since the dawn of, I guess native peoples, were just like the Tasaday. It’s science trying to be all generous, like they just needed to peep these jungle fuckers for a few minutes and plop them back so that they wouldn’t have to keep doing it. How nice of them. And here, I thought scientists were just a bunch of dicks. Oh, wait, JK. Scientists are dicks.

Of course, we might as well just refer to the Tasaday, the “savages” science reamed, as already being dead. They’re now just a fake reference point for a fake brand of fake science. There’s a town in France called Le Creusot that is, for all intents and purposes, now basically dead in a similar way to the Tasaday. You see, it used to be a fully functioning mining town, but is now dominated by big ass companies that produce grips of metal. And for some fucking reason beyond me, tourists flock here to see a non-operational steam hammer that’s been obsolete for a long ass time. It’s like some kind of living (read: dead) museum where all the inhabitants and their day-to-day lives are some kind of industrial porn for the masses. Hey, Le Creusot, Le Jerk Store called, they’re running out of you. Ethnology is now totally separate from science—it’s like some fourth-dimensional aura that we can’t even see just sitting on its ass making data studies on every living thing. Just looking and judging, being stupid. And it turns us all into caricatures of ourselves. We’re all fucking Tasaday Indians now, man. All simulations of people trying to live, getting skeezed on the regs by the all-knowing fuck-eye of ethnology.

bad logo

Nice logo, retards. Totally legible.

We’ve all become specimens, catch my drift? Call it ethnology or anti-ethnology, it won’t matter. You, dear reader, are forever buttfucked. You’d be a jackass to think that you can only find ethnology by looking at “savages.” It’s everywhere. It’s bubbling relentlessly in White America, in every metropolis you’ve ever even heard of. Everything is documented, archived, analyzed, and then artificially revived as if it’s the real deal in a world of pure simulation. This fucking LSD trip, this fake reality, this blackmail by the “real,” this murder of history and every symbol ever created, might have started when we began cataloguing native peoples, but has since spread like the Clap into all Western societies. Japan, while certainly in the east, counts as a Western society because they have iPhones and fucking vending machines.

mNm

I just don’t see myself represented in his lyrics.

While all of this clusterfuck is going on, we learn though from ethnology its one true lesson—the secret that kills it. That secret, my friend, is the VENGEANCE OF THE DEAD. I can’t believe that Burzum never wrote a song about this.

The way that science confines an object is really no different than the way that we lock up crazy people or shove the dead into the ground. And just like how all societies are fucked by realizing what their reflection actually looks like, science is also fucked by its own objects of studies. You’d think that science was in control, man, but you’d be wrong. Really, the object of study is in control because as soon as you start to study it, it just fucking dies. What other response could it offer to such a dead and mean investigation?

Nothing changes at all when a society tries to break the “mirror of madness.” When we close mental asylums or try to let crazy people have their moment to speak, it doesn’t save anything. Identifying the differences between the sane and the crazy doesn’t fix that shit, and trying to treat crazies like they’re normal is just stupid. Same thing goes for scientists who try to be all progressive and act like they know that they can’t be objective. The scientist doesn’t save a fucking object of study by being all, “Listen, I know that we have our differences and that I am not in a place to judge you, but let me take a look anyway.” Jesus Fucking Christ. The ethnology bug has already spread into everything. By denying it, we end up with anti-ethnology, which is just as fucking retarded. All that anti-ethnology does is push into the world fake differences that only serve to hide the fact that this entire fucking planet has gone savage, bro. Total devastation. Total death.

When you try to save an original by making a copy, you make both of them artificial. Everybody knows about the cave paintings in Lascaux, those fancy doodles by cultures from way back when who colored buffalo, guts and other primitive shit all over the walls. People visiting the caves started to breathe too much, which started to ruin the artwork on the walls. So what did modern society come up with? They build a fucking replica 500 meters (which are a little bit bigger than yards) away. You can now visit the caves and peep through a tiny hole at the original, then take a tour of the replica. It is impossible to describe how retarded this is. Future generations will end up remembering the copy more than the original, so both are kind of useless now. Bands covering songs has more or less the exact same effect. The first time I ever heard a live recording of Dave Matthews Band doing “All Along the Watchtower,” I pretty much decided that I suddenly hated the shit out of Bob Dylan.

Have you ever heard of Rameses II? Fucking epic pharaoh from Egypt whose mummified corpse was totes preserved for forty centuries just by being hidden in a goddamned temple. It didn’t matter that we couldn’t see it. All of science and technology flipped the fuck out after realizing that it’d be left to rot in the basement of a museum, scared to death that they couldn’t preserve what ancient people had been able to. Here’s the catch though: Rameses II, the actual dude, doesn’t mean shit to us. Let’s be honest here. But his mummy, now that has some street value because it is what guarantees that accumulation actually means something (which it doesn’t). Our whole world would fucking implode if we couldn’t stockpile the shit out of everything from the past out in plain view, for fat Americans to gawk at while they visit places that they don’t know shit about. That’s why we dig pharaohs out of their tombs, it’s fucking History Porn. What the fuck point is there in this? Are we going to like give them military honors or something? Do we actually believe that Rameses II gives half a fuck what Bob Miller and his rotund wife from Grand Rapids, MI thought about him? Poor bastard is getting eaten not only by worms, but by science itself. What preserved Rameses II throughout all of those years was the secrecy of the body, that it was hidden from sight. His people had mastered the art of preservation, which might be thought of as a mastery of the total cycle of death. It seems like we actually know better than to try to use our stupid modern science to save the corpse, to give something visible to the world. Maybe what we’ve missed conceptually though was that the whole fucking reason his people embalmed him in the first place was to make permanent something that was invisible. His spirit? IDK, I’m not a fucking Egyptian.

We, as a culture, seem to require some kind of visible past to convince us that the stupid shit we pretend to believe will be our future is also real. You know that saying, “History repeats itself” that people say on the news? They’re fucking idiots. It does not, that literally doesn’t make sense. They brought Rameses II to the Orly Airport in fucking France and made a giant deal out of it like it was a party. Was it because he was such a good fucking maniac army dude? Maybe sort of, but not really. It’s mostly because we’re jealous of a past that isn’t ours. Our solution seems to be to make it ours. Why the fuck would you bring an Egyptian pharaoh to fucking France?

Rameses II fascinates us just as Native Americans fascinated Christians. “Wait, these loin-cloth wearing screedlers have never heard of Jesus??” At that very moment, when Christians came to the New World and met people who had never heard of this amazing Caucasian who for some reason lived in the Middle East, something insane happened. They realized that this meant one of two things: they could actually think critically and realize that if the Native Americans hadn’t heard of Jesus, it was probably because some fucking Europeans made the stories up in the first place, or they could just murder the fuck out of the Native Americans and get rid of any evidence that challenged their stupid ass religion. And the ones that they didn’t murder physically, they converted to Christianity, which pretty much ensures that they’ll be more or less dead in terms of being entertaining at future parties.

injuns

“Quick! Somebody murder these savage bitches before they complicate our relationship with the Divine Creator.” –A Pilgrim

So, it would have been enough to destroy Rameses II just by yanking him out of the crypt. That ensured that he’d be thrown into a museum. Mummies don’t decay because of worms, dude, they decay from being transplanted from a place where as symbols they represent a kind of eternity to a place where Mr. and Mrs. Miller drool over their bones. We commit an insane amount of violence against everything that we don’t already know. We have come to hate the foundations of the human race because they don’t align with what we do now.

Museums are artificial reality. Deal with it. There is a museum in New York called the Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park. The actual cloister (a big fucking courtyard, basically) of St-Michel de Cuxa, along with many others, was reassembled brick by brick in the 1930s here for who the fuck knows why. And in the 1980s, the museum announced that it was going to return the whole thing, at a cost of Jesus Christ That’s a Fuckton of Dollars, to its original site. WHY WAS IT MOVED IN THE FIRST PLACE, YOU FUCKING GOMERS? And we’re all supposed to applaud this, which is identical to science returning its specimen to the wild. Guess what—the cloister and the savage are already dead. Moving the cloister back to its original site is even stupider than having moved it off-site in the first place. It somehow becomes even more artificial in its original place. This is a total simulacrum, where the idea of it even referencing anything whatsoever is completely ridiculous. This is exactly like the part in Wayne’s World where Wayne and Garth are about to shoot their first corporately-sponsored episode and the producers have reproduced the basement from Wayne’s parents’ house exactly in a television studio and Garth looks down from the sound booth at it and goes, “Guys, it’s like we’re looking at Wayne’s basement, only it’s not Wayne’s basement.”

Garth

Seriously though, did Dana Carvey die?

It should have just stayed in New York. At least there it wasn’t fooling anybody. It’s not like anybody ever wandered into the Cloisters Museum and was like, “Fuck! Medieval Europeans lived here???” With it back in its original site, it’s like some gross hallucination of a historical location. Get a clue, Cloisters. Junior varsity shit.

This is a lot like how Americans brag about having brought the number of Native Americans in the present day to more than there were before they genocided their asses. Wow, gold star you fucking murderous racists. The Native American, in the truest sense of the term, is long fucking gone, courtesy of smallpox-laced blankets, epic amounts of rape, and the introduction of the American diet to the reservation. And this dumb number, this indication of a population, is talked about as some kind of huge success. “Civilization was able to make more Native Americans than they ever could on their own.” What a fucking joke. And, it’s pretty rude to boot. Just like everything else American, the Native Americans are now totally overproduced. It’s the auto-tuning of a minority group. To quote the only rapper to rewrite history without a pen, “Y’all been T-Paining too long.” Native Americans knew their own limitations in terms of population and acted accordingly. Unrestricted growth now just pushes them more and more towards a symbolic extermination.

We live in a universe that always seems similar to some other reality that once existed before it. Everything is duplicated just by being around in the first place. Unlike in a fairy tale though, this doesn’t mean that death is assured for all. Most things in the world now don’t even have the capacity to die. They’re shinier and more colorful than in days of old. Everybody smiling ear to ear, looking fucking realer than real. Like a fucking funeral photo.

apple worship

Have you seen that Tumblr meme where this is matched up with the monkeys from 2001? Fucking LOLZ.

 

 

Hyperreal and Imaginary

 

 

Want to know what is the perfect example of all of the tangled orders of simulation? Disneyland, dude, fucking Disneyland. To begin with, it’s a giant theater act of a grip of illusions: pirates, the future, the American West, etc. And this imaginary world is supposed to be what makes Disneyland itself so successful. But I’ll be the first to say that what actually makes so many people go to Disneyland is the fact that it’s a miniature version of everything that is spectacular and that is fucking gross and wrong about America. You park your car, you wait in a bunch of lines, then you leave feeling like an abandoned idiot. The whole “fantasy” element though isn’t in the various rides or attractions, it’s in the mass of fat jackasses wandering through, all pretending it’s great together. All of the shiny gadgets, the cotton candy, the teenagers in character suits posing with your children for pictures, they are all simply there to help lube up the social atmosphere that gives the park its fantasy power. When you compare what it feels like inside of Disneyland to the very parking lot that you return as you leave, that asphalt stretch filled with cars is nothing short of a fucking concentration camp. Yes, I am drawing a parallel between Hitler’s murder farms and the parking lot at Disneyland. If you can’t take the heat, eat a bag of dicks. The whole orgy of silliness inside is actually just a stupid, intentional maze that leads you back to where you started: your ridiculous automobile. The irony of the fact that a man who is now frozen started this stupid land of frozen childishness is not lost on me. When they thaw out Walt Disney’s corpse, I’m gonna punch him in the fucking throat.

You could pretty much just visit Disneyland as an outsider and completely understand all that is America. All American social values are amplified here to 11. They’re displayed in miniature form, like comics that tell you what is important and why. Everything is completely frozen in time and made easy to swallow. Essentially, Disneyland is designed to help you to digest the American way of life, to compliment American values like they’re something special, and to make car culture sexy—it should be noted that all of these things are totally unrelated to the reality of the world. But what’s more important to remember is that Disneyland is a kind of third-order simulation. It’s supposed to exist to hide the fact that it is not a miniature of anything at all. It’s not a representation of America as it pretends to be, because the rest of America isn’t fucking real anyway. Los Angeles, to say the least, is a hyperreality. It’s not a question anymore about whether or not Disneyland faithfully tries to represent America or not, because there is no America left to try to represent.

Disneyland’s imaginary aspects aren’t true or false. They’re just deterrents that are used to make us forget that the whole country surrounding it is a fiction. The reason that Disneyland is set up to look like it is a children’s paradise is to make us somehow believe that outside of it, adults are doing actual work and living real adult lives. Well, childishness is fucking everywhere. You know it, I know it. What is truly disgusting are the adults that go there and act like children to convince themselves that they don’t do that all day every day in their own lives.

barfbro

Nobody walks in LA.

Another interesting thing to think about is that Disneyland is not the only ridiculous fake world in the Los Angeles area. They have a ton of these stupid parks. Don’t even get me started on movie studios. The only mystery to Los Angeles is what the fuck it actually is. IMO, it’s just a pulsing, circular network of fakeness. It’s a huge city in so many ways, but has no actual space or dimension. Los Angeles requires all of these absurd attractions to distract everyone from the fact that it is less grounded in reality than the fantastical movies that they shoot there. What a bunch of fucking idiots.

 

 

The Political Formula, or A Song of Bullshit

 

 

Watergate. You remember this. Nixon. Wiretaps in the plants. Deepthroat. All that jazz. Watergate was the exact same fucking thing as Disneyland—an imaginary thing whose only purpose is to distract us from the fact that every last thing is now imaginary. But where Disneyland is a fictional magic land, Watergate is instead a “scandal.” The real scandal beneath the surface is that there is no difference between facts and bullshit. Both the CIA and the journalists from the Washington Post who broke the story use the same tactics. What Watergate did was create a fiction moral compass of sorts. All politics are permanently buttfucked, but if we occasionally point fingers at some buttfucker who is doing some serious buttfucking, it creates this sense that there are less serious degrees of buttfucking and even possibly regular, wholesome vagfucking.

When we cry, “Scandal!” at something, we’re like giving a serious high-five to the idea of the law. Watergate’s amazing success is that it was able to convince all of you fucking idiots that it was an actual scandal. Y’all got drunk on that shit and probably ended up being busted for public urination in New York City and had to pay a lawyer $450 to fucking show up for you at court because a while ago when they were cleaning the place up, they decided that they’d make urinating in public a super inconvenient charge and say that you couldn’t plead guilty by mail so if you live in a different state and can’t make the court date, you have to hire a jerk to be there in your place. Broken window theory. No peeing in public theory. Fucking Giuliani. Is that even how you spell Giuliani? I don’t fucking care.

What I’m getting at here is that when Watergate happened, it injected this huge sense of political morality all over the fucking globe. My buddy Pierre Bourdieu once said, “The specific character of every relation of force is to dissimulate itself as such, and to acquire all its force only because it is so dissimulated.” Meaning: political power gets strength by acting like it’s for the common good, when in actuality it is for the common BAD. Ever heard that phrase before? No, you haven’t. Because I just fucking invented it right now while typing. All fucking power is like this. Chew on this: money, which as a thing is just plain immoral, can only function behind a giant orgy of morality. Anybody who keeps that orgy of morality going by pointing fingers and calling others immoral immediately makes money all the more powerful. This is why those two journalists who wrote about Watergate are total Chaunceys.

And yet, this is still just a formula of ideology, am I right? Let’s think about my pal Bourdieu again here. When he said “relation of force,” he’s talking about the fact that C.R.E.A.M. If you don’t know what that means, go fuck yourself. But saying that money is king, calling it bad, he’s making himself a Chauncey just like those journalists! He’s just puking and eating up a fictional moral order. This order that believes in a truth of morality is soaked in violence so much that the concept of force means nothing whatsoever. It’s all in our heads, bro.

Money basically asks us to believe that it’s rational, or to complain about it and say that it’s irrational. What we’re missing is that money isn’t either one of those things. It masks the fact that those concepts no longer exist. In days of yore, money was supposed to conceal scandals. Today, all it does is hide the fact that there aren’t scandals at all.

Watergate is not a scandal. We have to say this over and over again, you see, so that maybe people will stop calling it a scandal, reinforcing a fictional moral standard. People are flipping the fuck out about this because they’re scared shitless that we might actually see the reality of what capitalism is: a cruel, ferocious, and immoral system. Now, THAT’S what I call “scandalous!” Even super-leftists don’t account for this. The idiots. Capitalism DGAF about you or any idea that you have regarding how it can be positive if not abused. It is a clusterfuck of brutality, nothing more. So when an “enlightened” person tries to criticize capitalism for abusing people or pets, they’re being Chaunceys. Whining about how capitalism needs reform so that it can serve the society that uses it is totally retarded. Oh yeah, capitalism totally owes something to society. NOT. This is what make sure that there will never be a real revolution in a capitalist society—everyone, even the fucking anarchists, secretly hopes that it might even out and that class systems will blur and they’ll be able to buy a hybrid car to drive to Rainbow Gatherings on the regs.

There’s never been a “contract” between money and society. It’s sorcery, damn it. It is actually a full-blown challenge to rational society and should be treated as such. It’s not a scandal that we should complain about by citing moral standards, it’s a challenge we need to face according to the laws of symbols. Remember what I said earlier about what symbols of God really do? Good, now use your brain and connect the metaphor.

 

 

Imagine a Drawing of Negativity by MC Escher

 

 

Check it: Watergate was a trap set up by a power system to catch those that might challenge the system’s power or relevance. It was a simulation of scandal so that the fiction of morality versus scandal could continue to thrive. There are people who claim that “Deepthroat” the informant was actually a Republican who gave information to the journalists because he didn’t like Richard Nixon, using them as pawns to his own ends. IDK, why the fuck not? All possible conspiracy theories are possible, yes? But this one is pointless to even care about because the Left is constantly sabotaging itself a million times better than the Right could even hope to do by their own dirty deeds. You just said, “Done dirt cheap” in your head, didn’t you? Fucking AC/DC. Is there a lightning bolt key on some keyboards? I wonder how they type up their press releases to accurately reflect the way they stylize their name. While the Left does the Right’s job for them, the same thing occurs in reverse. So all conspiracy theories about who is manipulating whom are also pointless. Manipulation isn’t black and white, it’s like a weird grey jelly that morphs and constantly changes shape, getting goo all over everything. Whether you’re actively manipulating someone or unknowingly being manipulated yourself, you’ve got the goo on you. Could we even get back to a concrete political reality? Maybe, but probably not. The fact that some people believe that we have a political system with Left and Right in reality means that we’re fucked beyond belief already. None of this stuff matters, because none of it is real.

campaign

No, I don’t.

Let’s think about a bombing in Italy, for example. Is it the result of leftist extremists? Or, is it the result of right-wing provocation? Shit, maybe it’s the result of centrists so that the left and right start to look crazy and their own shitty political party might seem appealing to the masses. Who knows? Perhaps it’s the result of the fucking police so that the public gets scared and likes them more because they want to be protected. All of these are true in some sense. And stating the facts about which specific people actually planted the bomb isn’t going to change the fact that people are going to read the situation directly from their own political standpoint. So, those facts, don’t actually offer an objective understanding of the situation at all. The logic of today is the logic of simulation, so facts or reason mean zero. Simulation now precedes reality. Therefore, it fucking dictates all of the spiraling responses to a given event. Something happens, and everybody has their own opinion on it, and each of those idiots thinks that they’re experiencing reality, so in effect, everybody’s opinions or perspectives are basically true. This is the kind of short-circuit that simulation uses to keep us all from understanding that it is not reality. We can’t agree on shit, so we’re not even able to rationally discuss something that physically happened in the world. This is a gross little spiral that just keeps on happening, and nobody is doing anything about it.

spiral

This spiral isn’t gross, it’s fucking “transcendent.”

Communists attack socialists in the media and say that the socialists want to destroy the Union of the Left. Then, the communists say that the reason that the socialist party doesn’t respond to the accusations is because they are secretly the more radical political party and all of their work is totally secret. I’m going to go ahead and say that the communists attack publicly because they don’t really want to be in power. This raises a few questions: Do they not want power because it would kind of be lame to be a Leftist with power? It’s kind of antithetical to their whole underdog thing, right? Or maybe they just don’t want it because they think power in general is bad? That super-famous Italian communist Enrico Berlinguer used to say, “We musn’t be frightened of seeing the communists seize power in Italy.” When he says this, it means a ton of contradictory things all at once, like these:

there’s nothing to fear because if the communists come to power, they’re not actually going to make any real noticeable changes to the capitalist structure of the country
there’s nothing to fear because there’s no fucking chance they’d ever seize power anyway (and if they did, they’d just be little puppets for somebody else)
there’s nothing to fear because “power,” real, genuine power, doesn’t even fucking exist anymore, so there’s no risk of anybody “seizing” it
I, Berlinguer, have nothing to fear in seeing the communists seize power in Italy, which seems obvious, except that…
maybe it means the contrary – maybe I’m fucking scared shitless about seeing us come to power because, my God, that’d be a lot of responsibility and we’re kind of a shitty political party.

All of the above are true.

What we’ve just uncovered is the secret to the current political conversation. All political conversations are fucking confusing and totally ambiguous, but it’s gotten worse! The secret is that it is now impossible to locate power in any specific political party, politician, or physical place. And this isn’t a secret owned or created by the Left or the Right. Fuck that, it fucking transcends the Left and Right.

Who will unravel this deliciously embarrassing and incredibly stupid situation? This funky knot, which looks like a combination of the symbols used by John Paul Jones and John Bonham on the cover of Led Zeppelin IV, cannot be undone, man. Have you ever seen a fucking Möbius strip? They’re the fucking tits, unless they’re representing power. It’s an impossible swirly doodad cooked up by German mathematicians. If you cut the thing in half, you end up with an unusable spiral. What I’m saying here is that we need to think about people’s opinions on events as being always reversible. Like I said earlier, every fucking interpretation is kind of true in this world of simulation. This is Simulation Hell, folks, but it ain’t about fire and brimstone and unfathomable rape any longer, now it’s about a slow, evil, twisty dance of meaning that you can’t even handle.

mobius

Luh dat umlaut

Do you know about Francisco Franco? Well, Ernest Hemingway fucking did. He was a Spanish dictator with a capital DICK, acting a fascist fool in Burgos. He killed a million people. OK, not that many, but more than you’ve fucking killed. People screamed about how awful he was, protesting that shit. All the countries of Western democracy though were secretly thrilled to have something so evil to measure their own purity against. Catch my drift? And all of their bitching about Franco ended up serving to actually sort of unite the very people that he oppressed against any kind of intervention by foreign nations. Totally fucked, but true. And where exactly, dear reader, is the truth in all of that shit? How can you even point to any specific truth when all of this beautiful nonsense weaves itself together without any of the participants even fucking knowing what their doing?

Left and Right are the same goddamned thing at this point. I realize that I’m beating a dead fucking horse here, but I’m repeating myself in case any of you screedlers aren’t on the level. The entire political system, which appears to be made up of opposite ends of values, is a giant 69ing mirror of itself. The Left does the Right’s work, the Right does the Left’s work. The whole system of capital and power, of leaders, followers, and radicals, fold in on each other, pushing forward this obscene simulation. You might say that it’s never-ending, like the choruses in “American Pie” by Don McLean. It’s the same thing with physical desire and horniness, yes? You want to fuck somebody until you’re permitted to do so, and then they are immediately boring to actually fuck any longer. “The pubic hair is greener,” as they say. These are the laws of your dick, butt, and pussy, brothers and sisters. And the larger laws, those of our public good, are desirable when they benefit us individually.

dressup

It’s like that KRS-One song.

For instance, a police officer witnessing you getting robbed and arresting the perpetrator is a wonderful example of the law working at that given moment. But it fucking pisses you off beyond all belief when that same officer witnesses you doing the old “California Stop” at an intersection and hands over a ticket for $200. A pretty smart stiegler named Jean Francois Lyotard (do you realize how many fucking French dudes I’ve hung out with?) once said something like money gets a boner way before we ever get a boner for money. And Gilles Deleuze (BOOM – FRENCH) saw such flexibility in our desires, and what I see further is the fucking desire that we have to be oppressed. We whine for our freedoms, our comforts, only to demand that we have a political system that meets a set of specific values that it’s impossible for us all to agree upon. You want freedom governed by a specific set of ideals and values specific to your mode of thinking? You’re a fucking fascist, dick farmer. Historical revolution can suck a dick. We’d rather be sucking dicks than removing them from power.

way french

Dude looks way French.

Any reference anybody makes to illustrate their point mixes in with all the contradictory references in a moat of shit. In the not so distant past, the ideas of fucking and working were very different concepts. Today, they’re both tied into the same cultural demands. Human history was supposed to be different from the history of the natural world, just like the history of emotional things like desire was separate from the history of power. You can probably guess what I’m about to say next, but bear with me: they’re all the same thing, bitch.

I’ll introduce a term here for your brain: Operational Negativity. What this means is basically that anything that is introduced to challenge a system of power only serves to reinforce that shit. Don’t believe me? Think about what hippies do (besides annoy you in general). Their culture is so fucking banal and insular that their very existence, which claims to be a radical challenge to uptight cultural ideals in larger society, only serves to remind us how insignificant their music, drugs, and opinions really are. They’re a caricature of themselves at this point. Same thing goes for all protests. Oh, a hundred thousand people showed up to complain about something? So the fuck what. Like I said earlier, Watergate was a simulated scandal produced by a system of perversion and then denounced by that same system to make it appear moral. When autoworkers go on strike, it proves how powerful the institution of work is, but doesn’t say a whole lot about the workers, right? Think back to the Tasaday tribe I told you about earlier—ethnology proved itself by expelling and killing its subject. You can’t do anything transgressive, so stop blogging.

The List!

proving theater by anti-theater
proving art by anti-art
proving education by anti-education
proving psychiatry by anti-psychiatry

Everything is turned inside out only to prove its original form. Every form of power proves itself every time that someone denies it. When you rage against the machine, you fucking point out to everyone that there is a giant machine that can only be challenged by full-throttle rage (something nine out of ten people are kind of too laid back to actually do). What’s even wilder is that this machine, that power, can fake its own death as a means to get even more fucking powerful. What do I mean? Oh, I don’t know, how about the Kennedys? They were murdered for actually possessing some political dimension. Others, like LBJ, Nixon, fucking Ford, were murdered in a simulated fashion. And they had to have a bit of evil to them to hide the fact that they were just puppets of the power system. And despite the Kennedys’ political dimension, they ultimately didn’t mean shit. All American presidents are faces for a faceless and pulsating wound of fucking brutality. The sad thing is that they, as individuals, sometimes don’t even know it. Le sigh. If you’ve ever seen Game of Thrones, you know damn well that the king, at some point, has to die. I mean, that’s kind of his power. He’s a mortal with a grip of power, which is even more freaky than a god. Since most kings today are basically socialites with a ton of fucking gold, I guess they also die as well, but it doesn’t mean anything.

tx is the reason

Texas is the reason...

All powers seek new blood through the death of those that seem to hold it, by scandals and economic crises, by shitty politicians being protested by people who think they’re making some shred of difference.

Fuck déjà vu, this is déjà death.

 

 

Playbook of the Real

 

 

So, I feel like I’ve pretty much proven beyond a reasonable doubt that it’s impossible to discover anything anymore that’s actually “real.” But now I’m going to do what is essentially my job as a French post-structuralist theorist and say something that seems wholly contradictory to the entire preceding text, and more or less completely nonsensical. It’s even more impossible to stage an illusion! Tell that to George Oscar Bluth. Illusion is no longer possible because the real is no longer possible. This is the whole problem with parody.

gawb

I’m actually super glad that it’s now no longer funny to use Europe’s “Final Countdown” as an ironic theme song to whatever you’re doing.

For example: I’d love to see how the fucking police would react to a simulated bank robbery. LOLZ. A real bank robbery upsets the order of things like property or personal safety, but a fake bank robbery pretty much just challenges your entire idea of reality. Real crimes or violence are actually less serious than nonsensical parodies of them, because real crimes only challenge small instances of real situations with real people. Simulated crimes (even acting out that rape fantasy with your girlfriend) are WAY more fucking dangerous ultimately because they pose the scenario that crime, violence, punishment, and retribution are all fucking made-up concepts anyways. Sorry, ladies.

I suppose that the real difficulty of this test that I’m proposing is in proportion to how actually dangerous the real crime would be to all those involved. I mean, how do you really even fake something like a bank robbery? Let’s unpack this a bit: go into your local bank wearing a black ski mask, waving around a plastic gun that looks real. How are the guards on duty, or the police who might respond to the distress call, to see any difference between this event and a real one? You’re doing all of the same gestures as a real bank robber, and generally fucking with everyone on site pretty hardcore. To be frank with you, there is literally no difference between what you are doing and what somebody with a real gun is doing. Sure, you could yell out that you’re kidding and that it’s a toy gun, but that would be kind of pussy in terms of the game that we’re playing, and also I doubt that is going to convince the police not to shoot the shit out of you anyway (especially if you’re anything other than white).

As far as the police are concerned, anything that looks to them like crime is crime. Even if you take a hostage in the situation that you know isn’t going to try to run or fight back (because this might cause you to have to commit an actual crime), in the eyes of the fuzz, you’re robbing that fucking bank. Understand what I’m saying: you’re going to get shot in the fucking tummy. Jesus, so many things could happen. A customer in the bank might be so traumatized by your game that they have a heart attack and die. The teller will be so afraid that she’ll hand over a bag of money to your partner just as you are collecting a bag of fucking bullets in your balls. What I am implying here is that in the middle of trying to stage an illusion, you’ll accidentally find yourself in the middle of the real, a space whose entire purpose is to gobble up any attempt at simulation. That’s how it works, buddy. The 69ing mirror I mentioned, the Operational Negativity. Reality eats simulation for breakfast, and simulation eats reality for lunch. What we’re left with is a bunch of poop!

In the impossibility of actually being able to stage an illusion, you can see the way that the world now functions—it has to try to understand things in terms of reality, because while reality is now fucked, it is the only space where anybody believes that things happen. Let’s say you do this fake bank robbery and are arrested but no one is killed and you don’t actually steal any money from the bank. It will never be punished in court as a “simulation.” It might be punished more lightly than a real bank robbery because no one was hurt, or simply as an “offence to public office” because you wasted the police’s time, but never as simulation because the courts cannot even fathom that concept due to their belief in what they think is reality. All that they’ll be able to conceive is that despite the fact that you committed a pretend crime, it’s as bad as a real crime because your gesture cancels out the difference the laws are actually based upon. The criminal justice system can’t do anything against what you did truly because the law is what I called earlier a “second-order simulacrum” (although they actually believe it’s a faithful representation of the cultural or social values). But what you did, a simulation, is a “third-order simulacrum” that is above and beyond the concepts of true and false. There is, for their political minds, nothing equivalent to the dumbass stunt you’ve just pulled. What you did ignores everything that makes power function and the social exist. So, when they’re faced with a sort of failure of reality, they have no choice but to try to maintain order. That’s why your ass is getting punished by having you plead down to some charge that has nothing to do with what you did. There are no charges that sufficiently can describe what you did, so you’ll probably have to “admit” to inciting a riot or some shit.

Heat

Holy shit. Heat was such a fucking rad movie.

This is why systems of power, which are dependent on a fictional order, always opt for what the silly humans taking part in them see as reality. When the powers that be are uncertain, they always prefer to assume a simulation is true. Remember earlier when I talked about pretending to be crazy to get out of the army? It’s becoming more and more difficult to identify simulation in comparison to the real, and the reverse is also true: as simulated culture and experience becomes more and more mixed into our everyday, it is impossible to identify the real.

So, if you really think about it, all robberies or even hijackings are already scripted out. We’ve seen how they’re executed through media, so anything resembling them automatically is perceived as being them. Essentially, they’re now not even real events. They’re a series of fucking signs and symbols that are unrelated to the goal of the robbery or hijacking itself. This is not to say that they’re not offensive, friend. On the contrary, they’re completely offensive for their very hyperreality—that they have no particular aim or goal at all. The political system and the system of laws has no idea what the fuck to do with these things because as I mentioned earlier, all the people in power in those systems still believe that they’re dealing with reality. All worker strikes or revolutions by the impoverished have scripted those to come in the future. The ones that will happen years from now happen via a kind of mirror and we all know what it will likely happen: either it they will fail miserably and reinforce the strength of the powers they’re fighting, or for every hundred that happen, maybe one will end with what looks like victory for the oppressed. And you know what fucking comes next: they start oppressing others. Jesus Fucking Christ.

The only weapon that power has is to re-inject “realness” and references to realness everywhere to try to convince us that our society is real, that the economy is fucking real, that the objects that we produce mean anything at all. And to keep us believing, power certainly loves to produce scandals that freak us out—I mean, what would we do without all of this dumb shit that makes us comfortable? But power also loves to use desire. It encourages us to desire it, to work hard for it, to believe that we might actually have it one day. Things like the American Dream convince us that all of the work we do is in the name of some kind of reality. Our desires end up reinforcing the “real” potential of upward mobility. “Take your desires for reality!” screams power at us. It’s like its fucking slogan. As long as we’re unwillingly confused about what is and isn’t real, power still exists.

Hyperrality and simulation are deterrents of every idea or goal. Think about it: it was money that was the first to gobble up all physical references to value in its quest for domination. Every human goal, every distinction between good and evil, true and false, was destroyed so that money could eventually convince us of a universal law of value and exchange. One hour of your work is worth “X” because… well, there’s no fucking logical answer to that. Yet, you go to work and give them your time in exchange for this arbitrary currency, which today DOESN’T EVEN FUCKING ACTUALLY EXIST. Direct deposit. Debit cards. Where’s the fucking money, Keith??? Money was the first thing to use deterrence, abstraction, disconnection, to obliterate territories and borders, and so forth. And if it was money that gave us a sense of structure, of reality, it was also the first thing we ever invented that then totally fucking destroyed the idea of reality. There is no longer any idea of “use value” for labor or objects. We don’t get the difference between production and wealth. It’s a bit too late to do anything about this. Every solution that we have to debt resulting from money having value is doomed to failure. It’s a nasty little cycle and makes me way fucking bummed. If you’re not bummed, you’re not paying attention.

dolla

Craig Wheat made this. He fucking rules. You should check him out at: www.craigwheatart.com

For as long as power has been around, it’s been threatened by human beings waking up and realizing what was real. What’s way creepy is that today, it’s threatened not by the real, but by simulation. What’s at risk for power is that it could vanish into the system of silly ass signs it has used for so long to keep humans from understanding that it didn’t have a place in reality. I doubt very much that if the shit really hit the fan, the systems of power could actually remake every social, economic, and political sign that they’ve cooked up so far and have it actually work again. Naw, they were doing a long con, and you can’t long con the same victims twice. We are the Island and money is Sawyer’s long con. It’s more or less at this point a question of life or death for power. But it’s too late.

Here’s the major collective freakout of our time: producing and then reproducing the real. Stuff that we previously produced, like goods and commodities, haven’t made any sense for a long ass time, chief. What we try to accomplish by production and ultimately overproduction is a sense that we’re somehow restoring the real. That’s why contemporary material production is itself totally hyperreal! It looks like production, it sounds like production, but it’s nothing more than a knock-off model. The more items that we produce to put into the “real world” that we think still exists, the more this simulated environment looks like the actual real world. No fucking wonder nobody can see the difference. Well, nobody but me, of course.

hadnmade

If you’re looking for some goods produced recently that are handmade and don’t rely on the stupid giant machine of mass-production, I would highly recommend checking out Draught Dry Goods from Portland, OR. I mean it, founder Caesy Oney is a really talented guy. See their work at: www.draughtdrygoods.com

And power itself, just like reality, only produces signs that look like it—meaning, power is not actually multiplying, it’s just creating mock expansions of power that resemble all of the power moves of the past, so we accept that they must really be happening. And while this is happening, another type of power comes into play: a collective demand for signs of power—both of these form at the same time that actual power completely disappears. We’re all guilty of this because whether or not we want to admit it, we’re scared fucking shitless of the political system really collapsing. In the end, the game of power comes down to nothing more than the obsession we all have with power—with its death, its survival, more and more as it disappears. Once it has indeed completely vanished, logically we’ll be under the total spell of power. What I’m saying is that its ugliness will be foreshadowed everywhere. We’ll long to see it continue while at the same time complaining about how poorly it’s being managed. Nobody wants it anymore, so they unload it onto others like some kind of disease, all the while freaking out incredibly hard that it might disappear and leave us in a primal anarchy that would make Cormac McCarthy squeal with delight. Oh, the sadness for societies without power. This is how fascist dictators keep motherfuckers in check. Their own people who they oppress would rather be oppressed by something powerful than end up like a shitty Third World Nation that has no global power at all.

frownyface

:-(

But we’re all in the same boat: no society actually knows how to manage its own sadness regarding the death of the real, the death of power, the death of the social as we know it. All of those are parts of this horrible meltdown. We try to escape these deaths through an artificial revitalization of them. Can you guess where this leads? Socialism, bitch. What’s funny is that socialism actually rises out of the death of the social—more like “antisocialism,” am I right? Am I right? Ha ha. Religion is like this as well. God dies, and religion is born. Such nasty irony, such a perverted scenario… we lose what is actually powerful and romantic and then replace it with nonsense like reason and logic. Yes, I know that religion is not logical, but all those idiots who take part in it totally think it is. Power is no longer present except as a sign to hide the fact that there is none. This simulation can go on and on forever because unlike real, tangible power like that possessed by King Arthur (wait, was he a real king?), this simulation doesn’t require any structure or system in the traditional sense. It’s nothing but the result of a social demand for the existence of really any kind of power. Being completely simulated, it has no risk of death. Now being completely separate from what we would normally call “political power,” it’s only dependent, like all other fucking commodities, on production and mass consumption. Its real fire has vanished—only the fairytale of a “political universe” remains.

You could say the exact same think about work. The fire of production, the thing that made it so necessary, has disappeared. There used to be something at risk with work – if it wasn’t done correctly, we wouldn’t produce everything that we truly needed as a culture and that put us in a dangerous position where some of us would totes die. Now, everyone still produces and in fact, produces more than we’ve ever produced before, but this comes out of a contemporary need, a social demand. Work isn’t a need in the way that Karl “Workers Rule” Marx once hoped to see it. It’s a product in itself that we simply expect to take place as one of the “options” that we have in our life. The demand for work is equal to the loss of the risk of work. This is the same change I described earlier in fortune as for power: the scenario of work exists to conceal the fact that the work (real work, real production) has vanished. When workers go on strike, it’s no longer the stoppage of actual work, but rather a demonstration of the opposite pole of the work scenario in the poetic back and forth of a social calendar. Everybody then returns to their job and then starts to perform their fictional work again, “occupying” their role in some sense. Essentially, what it means is that they are on permanent strike, which in terms of fictional work, means jack shit.

This isn’t some science fiction dream! This shit is real, babies, and everywhere we can see this question of doubling the work process. The purpose of a strike really has nothing to do with actual work in any capacity. No, strikes are simply a part of the work scenario today in the same way that future uselessness is part of every electronic device, like crisis in production. Understand, dear reader, that we have no more work or strikes in the sense that you previously believed. Both exist simultaneously as something else entirely: a magical show, a wizard’s sassy trick, a hologram Tupac, an absurdity happening in front of an audience on a stage of social idiocy.

Once, we might have talked about the ideology of work – about how the labor involved is exploited and so forth. Now, what’s left to discuss except the scenario of work? Same thing for power: we can only discuss the scenario of it. Am I repeating myself again? Totally, but I’ve got a lot of time/pages to fill with this, and I’m running out of steam. Ideology is only related to a betrayal of reality by signs; simulation, on the other hand, is related to a short-circuit of reality and its reduplication by signs. Ideological analysis always wants to restore some kind of fucking objective process. But it’s always a false problem to want to restore truth beneath the simulacrum.

strike

SHAME ON ________________.

 

 

The End of the Panopticon, or Surveillance is Dead, Long Live Surveillance

 

 

This ideology of a lived experience, of yanking corpses from their graves, of the complete fucking boringness of the real was the basis for the American reality TV series with the Loud family is 1971. Unlike reality TV in the twenty-first century, this television show was a novel device at the time. Seven months of uninterrupted shooting, three hundred hours of direct non-stop broadcasting with no script or goal in mind. Simply put, it was a surveillance of an American family’s drama, joys, ups and downs—it claimed to be a “raw” historical document and the “best thing ever on television, comparable, at the level of our daily existence, to the film of the lunar landing.” What’s super fucked up is that the Loud family completely fell apart during the filming of the program: a crisis flared up, and the Louds split! And we asked, over and over again, who was to blame—TV? The Family? IDK.

What gets me all hot and bothered about this is that the show filmed the Louds as if TV wasn’t even there. The producers kept saying, “They lived as if we weren’t there.” This is a fucking stupid, nonsensical claim, because it is neither true nor false. When he says, “as if we weren’t there,” what he’s really saying to the viewers is “as if you were there.” This kind of utopia of silliness is what got twenty million people to watch probably even more so than the sense of voyeurism. The allure of this television show for viewers was not the perversity of spying on others, it was the idea that they could see “the real” through the boob tube. There was a joy in applying meaning to something meaningless, in making a normal family into something special just by pointing a fucking camera at them. In this TV show, the real never existed at all, especially considering that it was viewed through the distortion of camera lenses. It was a kind of microscopic simulation that took something basically real (this family’s home and daily lives) and turned it into something hyperreal. Porn works like this as well – sure, it’s sexually arousing to see Flower Tucci gushing shejaculate all over another girl while taking a dick up her butt, but what really keeps us watching is a kind of magical fascination with being treated to something that is supposedly unscripted: raw fucking.

Personally, I think that the Loud family was hyperreal before even being on the TV show. They were a “typical” California family with a three-car garage, five children, and a dad with an upper middle class job and a mom who stayed at home to tend to the family. This kind of statistical perfection meant that they were fucked from the beginning. Like the Tasaday tribe, this specimen of Americana was chosen to be studied through the camera lens and to die as a glorious sacrifice in front of an audience. God doesn’t set fire to cities any longer, we take care of all of the dismantling by filming shit constantly. “The Louds: simply a family who agreed to deliver themselves into the hands of television, and to die from it,” said the producer.” So really, it’s a question of how sacrifices play out in front of twenty million fucking viewers. This is like a holy theater production for mass society.

tv

TV CASUALTY: At least their last name is fucking tight.

Reality TV—it’s an admirable term supposedly. But is the reality involved the truth of the family, or the truth of television? In fact, it is TV which is the Loud’s truth, it validates them. TV isn’t a mirror of truth that holds up itself in front of us to gaze upon the world. No, it’s a goddamned laser beam that fires its own gaze upon subjects which probes their butts and cuts them into little pieces. But alas, that is our current truth. The Loud family was subjected to the TV medium, which is a fucking death sentence. What I ask now is, is this still even a question of truth?

They eye of TV isn’t the source of some all-knowing gaze anymore, and it’s not about transparency at all. If TV is about transparency, then it’s like some kind of gaze of a king staring out across his kingdom during the Renaissance. But while the king’s gaze was certainly a kind of system of confinement, it was at least a system of some scrutiny. TV now isn’t the least fucking bit subtle. It is ALWAYS in a position of looking and showing at the same time. So, where a “panopticon” was a structure designed to allow the authorities present to view all inhabitants at all times without their knowing if they were being watched or not, TV trumps the panopticon by not only always watching everyone, but by fucking showing us everyone at the same time!

panopticon

Uh, Michel Who?

Even the slogan for the Louds’ show pointed to this: “You no longer watch TV, TV watches you (live).” We’ve switched from a system of panoptic surveillance to another system of deterrence. What I mean is that the idea of being passive or active in the looking isn’t even a conversation anymore. We don’t really even have a choice whether or not to take part in this system or to the gaze of TV. They tell us, “YOU are the model!” “YOU are the majority!” This is what’s fucked about a hyperreal society: the real is mixed up with the model, mama. Ugh, you’d think that a level of social advancement that’s gotten us beyond being swayed by propaganda might have done something positive for us. But that’s not the case. Now it’s “YOU are news, your are the social, the event is you, you are involved, you can use your voice, etc.” This turnaround of power makes it currently fucking impossible to locate the actual model, actual power, actual gaze, TV itself even, since YOU are always already on the other side. There’s really no subject or focus any longer to the medium of TV. It’s not a panopticon, it’s a flexicon. We’re not under surveillance and there isn’t any violence: all there is left is information, data, chain reactions and other stupid fucking shit that distracts us from the fact that power has disappeared and that we’re plugged into the system way too deeply to get out.

whoa

Neo’s all, “The fuck?”

Since we’re witnessing the end of this panoptic model, one where either we are all being watched by some authority or one where we’re able to view all by watching the television, we’re also witnessing the end of the “spectacular.” In the case of the Louds, or really any other reality TV show, TV itself isn’t really very spectacular anymore. Fuck Guy Debord and the rest of his merry pranksters known as the situationists. He wrote The Society of the Spectacle a little prematurely since less than twenty years later, that entire spectacle no longer existed. More like Lady Debord. Dumbass. Marshall McLuhan (I don’t know any female cultural philosophers) got a littler closer to the truth than Debord when he claimed that the medium is the message. And I say this because there’s actually no longer a medium at all, so it’s impossible to say that messages are distorted by it. It’s all one big wad of splooge impregnating every facet of the joke we call reality.

You know how earlier I said that we were all Tasadays? Well, guess who we are now… LOUDS! The screedly mixture of the medium of television into our own gazes and our own fears of being watched has turned us all into holograms of one kind or another. Hippies are always saying how life is art and art is life, but they’re fucking retarded. Life is TV and TV is life. And yes, I realize that using the Internet as an example would seem more timely to you, but I was writing this over thirty years ago. Give me a break. These forms of mass media are so perfectly and subtly violent that we can’t even see them gouging out our eyes and cutting off the tips of our penises. :-(

But wait! We need to be careful about how we talk about this, OK? It’s not an illness resulting from some kind of viral event. We should actually be thinking about the media like they were in outer space, like they’re a sort of genetic code that controls the mutation of the real into the hyperreal. And then a micromolecular code turns that signal from a meaningful communication into just another one of millions of signals. I literally have no idea what I’m trying to say here.

The entire way that we understand cause and effect is now in question. What is active or passive anymore? Who is the subject and who is the object? Can we have perspective? Be critical? Be analytical? What are the means and what is the end? This is what we hear constantly: TV watches us, TV alienates us, TV manipulates us, TV informs us… in all of this, we are dependent on a type of analysis that sits oddly between reality and meaning.

Because answering those questions using a kind of analysis is basically fucking impossible and will just drive you wonky, I’ll propose that we instead imagine TV like a DNA model. Why? I’m not exactly sure, since I’m not a scientist of any sort. But if you think about TV in this way, that it has these two opposite poles that end up getting squished together during whatever it is that DNA does, you’ll understand why everything is smooshed together. Plus, DNA is fucking tiny, so if there is a distinction between the two ends (medium/message, viewer/subject, etc) it is basically impossible to see.

The gap between those things vanishes in the genetic coding process! Genetic coding isn’t random – I mean, things don’t just disappear from strands of DNA for no reason. Rather, things are abolished because when DNAs meet each other, they fuck and then what was different about them is gone. And they fucked on purpose! We try to use things like order, signals, impulses, or messages to describe how information is moved from here to there, but really all of that moving happens in a place we can’t even wrap our heads around. It’s like 4D movies or something. You see, we try to order things by what we perceive as reality so we assume that if something is destroyed, remnants of it are left behind or that there is a visible scar or absence. Only that’s not how things work in the fourth fucking dimension. Things IMPLODE. They don’t cease to exist, they simply are not. This is why you can’t understand where the gap between television and reality went – you’re expecting to see a mark there, a hole, except that there isn’t any evidence that the two were ever separate. This is where simulation truly begins.

Jurassic

BLADAT: Second Michael Crichton reference.

Whether it’s political, biological, psychological, medialogical (not a word), if you can’t see the difference between the poles, that’s where simulation is. And simulation is absolute manipulation… it doesn’t ask that you be passive or active in it, because passive or active no longer exists. Are you looking for them? STOP! I just told you that there isn’t any evidence that they were even there! The idea that television is even “there” in the case of the Louds is laughable. You see, I’m comparing it to DNA because, as I said a bit ago, DNA is tiny! Besides the actual television set sitting in your living room, try and tell me exactly where the fuck television is located? Oh, you can’t? No shit, Sherlock.

 

 

Way Big and Way Tiny

 

 

The nuclear is the god-like exultation of simulation. But the balance of terror is only the result of a system of deterrence that’s gone from being something tiny and inside to something that is part of every fucking part of daily life. When we talk about nuclear warfare, there is this terrible cliff-hanger at all times—who will nuke whom? But this is stupid, because the idea of nuclear warfare only shows how dumb the media is as it tells us constantly about deterrence. Violence is everywhere! OHMERGERD WHAT IF WE GERT NOOOOORRRKED? Yeah, somebody’s going to randomly nuke somebody else. Gawd. All of our behavior is fucking controlled by this type of shit. It is paralyzing, because while nobody is nuking anybody, the fact that we’re always told that it could happen at any time makes it seem like it’s bound to happen. Like bank robberies and terrorist attacks, the simulation precedes the reality and so the situation is already understood as a real event.

nuked

WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

The actual occurrence of a nuclear bomb going off isn’t what is paralyzing, it’s the game of deterrence and back-and-forth that paralyzes us. This deterrence comes from the fact that all of these nuclear weapons really means that there will be no nuclear war, but we can’t talk about that, know’m saying? We’ve heard or read about how nuclear war plays out in a military sense and what it will do human beings and the environment, but I’m going to go ahead and say that focusing on this shit is stupid. There’s nothing actually at stake in terms of nuclear war. What I find so interesting about the situation is that it has a kind of originality. There aren’t a lot of other situations that I can think of that keep things in check by making up destruction that is never going to occur.

Deterrence excludes war, and by war, I mean the old school war with massive violence that empires used to expand their boundaries. Deterrence is actually neutral; it’s a type of implosive violence that keeps “stable” all the systems involved. There is no “subject” of deterrence at this point, no good guy or bad guy, just the idea that the entire planet would get wiped out if one nuclear weapon was fired because then every nuclear weapon would get fired. Atomic war, in the sense of war like barbarians used to fight, simply won’t happen. Deal with it. The risk of total nuclear annihilation makes a nice foundation for this bullshit fearful environment, but the simple fucking sophistication of these weapons themselves in some way actually makes them nonexistent. A universal security system has been created so that there is actually no aim whatsoever for a real nuclear clash. Further, a real nuclear clash has never even been an issue, except maybe at the very beginning of the Cold War when people thought that nuclear battles would be fought like traditional battles. The purpose of this universal security system is to deter anything that might upset the larger system’s balance. You wanna hear something fucking trippy? The balance of terror is the terror of balance.

Deterrence is not a strategy. Nobody owns it or exercises it better than anybody else. It’s more like the way that money circulates between countries and is always fluid and mythical, keeping the global financial situation churning. You can think of nuclear weapons as a kind of kill money, they operate just like money by circulating all around, keeping things going, and controlling actual violence and conflict all over the planet.

Here’s the real kicker: by giving everyone the fear that there could be maximum devastation, we’ve developed the best system of control which never existed. The entire planet is now linked and co-dependent through a hypermodel of security. Hands across da globe.

The same thing can be said for “peaceful” nuclear installations. Nuclear weapons, as things in and of themselves, see no difference between civilians or the military. So having nuclear weapons to ensure peace is retarded. But what’s happened is that now these forms of control have been so elaborated that they are completely absolute—there is no going back. We’re in a fucking social and political desert that has resulted from the global security system. There can’t be any more revolutions or mutinies, because they are in a sense kept in check by the dangling nuclear sword. You can’t even actually concoct a military strategy of any kind… all that’s left to do is escalate the security system. The political stake is fucking dead. What’s left? Simulacra!

dinnertime

I’ve eaten at this stupid fucking sushi restaurant in New York.

The “space race” of the 1960s played exactly the same role as the nuclear race. After the nuclear race, the space race seemed a natural next step. And it was talked about playfully as a game between friendly nations towards a peaceful and technologically-advanced coexistence. But let’s be for real for two seconds, what is the ultimate purpose of a space race? It’s not just to land on the moon, it’s to make orbital a million tiny satellites which can monitor every motion on earth and do away with any notions of chance. It’s about approaching a universal norm. With a universal norm, you don’t need laws anymore because every detail of life is already determined by the law. This type of universe has no threats, it’s weightless and boring as shit – although at the same time, kind of fascinating. While no person would claim to want there to be a universal system that governed every decision made on planet earth, the way that this is actually being achieved is fucking amazing! Landing a man on the moon, traversing space, all of this dumbfounds us by the outrageous perfection that is required to pull of stunts like these. It’s like the industrial revolution—IN SPACE. They’ve mastered probabilities, accounting for all possible outcomes. This is 2 kewl to ignore to the average guy, right? Maybe it’s comforting to think that while we can still think of gross and subversive things, the world is now so perfectly modeled and functions so effortlessly that the dangers inherent in those things no longer exist. The norm can fix anything deviant. This is a kind of vertigo that one experiences in a flawless world.

moonyshot

They didn’t even wear helmets? That is so rad.

The same perfect model now governs social life as well. This is the true nuclear fallout! The perfect little operations of technology have become a model for the perfect little operations of our social interactions. Nothing will be left to fucking chance! This is the every essence of socialization, people. It’s been going on for centuries, surely, but with the advent of such flawless technology, now any chance of revolution or subversion has been neutered. We’ll see no true accidents or randomness occur any longer because we’re doomed to a kind of normal transparency monitored by millions of devices that collect and organize data. The spatial and nuclear models don’t even have their own ends: neither does exploring the moon or having the most badass army. What can be said about those, and about the social, is that they are truly just simulations. In a world where even the biggest superpower is subject to surveillance from satellites orbiting the globe, really no one is free.

Reject the evidence: with all of this monitoring equipment orbiting the earth, the ones being monitored are not actually whom you think. Once those things orbit the earth, the earth itself becomes a satellite. So, the very reality of the earth as a planetary body is thrown into the shark tank. When we established a universal system of control for peaceful coexistence, we made all planets, in some sense, satellites of a more simulated form and they lost their independence. All energy and all events are suckled into this perverse black hole. Literally everything implodes from the shackles of control and now sucks fat balls. We’re in that space from the DNA earlier, where things disappear and nothing is left. When all has been turned into satellites, then the idea of anything being real is impossible. This makes me sad because I used to be really into space as a young French boy on the farm.

The way that two events line up in 1975 illustrates my point in a striking way: the link-up in space of the two American and Soviet super-satellites (peaceful coexistence!)—and the decision by the Chinese to get rid of character writing and to switch to the Roman alphabet. The Chinese situation shows how the satellization will eventually take all things original in the world (like fancy writing) and dumb them down to a universal norm. And the Chinese were finally allowed to enter into this global peaceful coexistence because they got rid of their unique language and took it up the butt from the West. And this happens just as two giant satellites are fucking right above their heads. When those satellites fucked, everybody on earth got fucked.

But despite this deterrence that results from the global satellite police, things happening down here on earth strangely continue to fuck up. You’d think that with all of this amazing fucking policing that it’d be impossible for anything to go wrong. Or so we think. These oddities no longer make any sense; they are nothing more than a weird double-effect of simulation at its peak. The best example, I think, is the Vietnam War. It occurred right when the idea of revolutionary ideals was at stake and while the global orbital system was really going fucking wild. What sense did that war make? I guess maybe that its occurrence sealed the end of history as we know it.

Why did such a difficult, long and batshit crazy war disappear overnight like it was being fucking managed by a wizard?

Why didn’t the fact that the Americans go their asses kicked (for the first time ever) actually have any internal repercussions? If it was really such a huge fucking loss, shouldn’t it have upset the American political system quite a bit more? I mean, even for Americans, they acted pretty uninterested at the loss of that war.

boxochocolates

Naturally, it’s because something else took place. This war was basically an important episode in moving towards a peaceful coexistence between all of the world’s super powers. It was the welcoming to the club for China. When China didn’t intervene in the war, it sent the message that they were officially ready to stop being fucking wacky and were interested in joining the West in their lovely country club. China’s government, which was totes opposite the one in America, was no longer a radical threat as they homogenized and bowed down. And this was all that was at stake in the Vietnam War. With China now on board, the US pulled out of Vietnam because they had officially won the war.

The war then “spontaneously” came to an end when this objective was completed. All the US had to do was pull out the troops, and shit was done.

Perhaps this is the only military strategy left. Fight a war until the global big wigs are all on the same bandwagon, and then cut out. The end goal is simply a healthy politics and discipline of power. When the war finally passed from the resistance to the hands of regular Northern troops, it was able to stop: the war had achieved its goal. All the stakes present were political. When the Vietnamese proved that they weren’t crazy fucking maniacs running around in the trees anymore, the war could just be given to them. It didn’t matter really that Vietnam was still communist, what mattered was that despite this political handicap, they’d shown that they could be trusted to stay in line. They’re even better than capitalists at getting rid of non-capitalist structures.

Same scenario as in the Algerian War.

In all wars since, both sides have been fighting for the same fucking thing: total liquidation. They pit themselves against one another and claim that it is a matter of life and death (how else would you get young men to die for a cause?), when in reality they are only working together to eradicate anything tribal, pre-capitalist, communal, exchange-based, or any group that won’t adopt the dominant universal norms of language and values. Going to war is a means to destroy the elements of both sides that the other finds unsettling in a gross and violent attempt to domesticate their social relations. Why do you think that the US and Japan are so tight now?

“The North Vietnamese were advised to countenance a scenario of the liquidation of the American presence through which, of course, honor must be preserved.”

The scenario: the totally gnarbar bombing of Hanoi. The disgustingness of this bombing shouldn’t conceal the fact that it was only a simulacrum to give Charlie a chance to pretend to compromise and Nixon to make the Americans swallow the retreat of their forces. The game was already won, brother, there had never really been anything at stake at all except the beautiful and cinematic event described here.

People who are totally fucking into war, please do not take offense. Just because war is a simulacrum doesn’t make it any less fucking heinous. People’s flesh still burns off, and piles of dead bodies are still piles of dead bodies. That goal is always accomplished, and then some, just like the breaking up of territories and punishing of those who take too much for themselves. But the difference now is that the enemies are way less threatening, the intensity of the reasons for war far less, and the overall seriousness is no longer present. Victory or defeat matter little at this point. War is no longer concerned with those simple end goals.

orcs

I just changed my email address to JRR_Tokin420@middleearthlink.net.

The deterrence that dominates us today is beyond war and peace—it’s war and peace happening at exactly the same time. In his little novel 1984, George Orwell famously proclaimed, “War is peace.” Two poles smashing together, becoming one—the definition of parody, but also the end of all meaning. It is possible to miss the truth of a war: namely, that it was over well before it was actually over and that at its very center of its fiery tummy, maybe it never even began. Think about other events like the “oil crisis.” This never actually began, but a series of mishaps, fuck-ups, and other nonsense were all pushed upon us to keep us feeling like we needed the shit. The job of a newscaster is to repeat bullshit over and over to us so that we eventually just kind of absorb it and believe that it’s worth knowing because one thing or another is at stake. Every event is told to us in reverse, despite the fact that we’re told that it’s “breaking” or “currently unfolding.” None of it makes any sense in reality, and it just spirals in and out of this never-ending repeating of the same things that were at risk, but in a different context. The way that the news presents itself to us is that it is current, retro, kitsch, and pornographic all at once. How the fuck could we not pay attention to that? It sounds fun. What is really fucking dumb is that I know for a fact that everyone literally suspects this, but nobody really accepts it. Irony is all over this stuff, it’s like the Theater of Cruelty, except that there’s not a single fucking shred of human decency left in this pile of shit. Simulation is our master, and all that we’re left with is this fake nostalgia for things that we never even experienced. I hate everyone.

ouch

And then there’s this cunt…

This is why the nuclear arms race doesn’t increase the likelihood of an atomic war or an atomic accident—OK, I mean besides like little baby countries who get a nuke and want to show off. Sure, you’re going to say, what about when the US dropped the bomb on Hiroshima? That’s fair to ask, and I’ll reply by saying that the fucking mayhem that resulted from that meant that it only had to fucking happen once. We’ve all seen what the bombs do, so it, like all other events in a culture of simulation, is now scripted in our mind’s eye. Once your country has entered the Atomic Country Club, you no longer have to do anything violent anymore. Do you know what increases faster than our stockpiles of weapons? Responsibility, control, censorship, self-deterrence. The very possibility of paralyzing an entire country with the flip of a switch makes it so that the country doing the threatening never actually has to flip that switch. The entire myth of nuclear apocalypse collapses at the very moment when the means to make a nuclear apocalypse are so readily available, exactly because the means to do so are available. This, my friends, is Deterrence 101.

I’d wager that we’ll one day see the nuclear powers putting atomic reactors, weapons, and bombs all over the fucking planet. Control by threat is cool, but pacification by the bomb is way more effective. “Small” powers, who will hope to purchase weapons of their own, will only buy the virus of their own deterrence. And they’ll have all of the nuclear reactors there that we’ve already sold them, so in effect, we’ll be selling them the requirement that they absolutely never do anything radical again. The world is going to be so fucking peaceful that it hurts to think about.

Our nuclear system is both the ultimate end of available energy, and the total control of energy. Lockdown and control standards grow faster than the weapons themselves, meaning that we’re always a bit safer than we are dangerous. Weapons end up deterring themselves, a fantastical irony that gives this Frenchman an insane boner. The more and more that we move forward with this insanity, the more and more we ultimately move towards some kind of insane center point. Because we can’t see anybody operating anything on the outside, we’ll continue to gaze inward until we reach a point of implosion so fucking epic that future visitors to our planet won’t have the slightest inkling that we ever existed in the first place.

Or maybe it was Ancient Aliens.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

carney

Photo by JD White

Sean Joseph Patrick Carney is an artist, educator, and writer living and working in Portland, OR. He is the founder and director of Social Malpractice Publishing and the author of six books. Carney’s inter-disciplinary art practice includes stand-up comedy, performance, sound, critical writing, satire, and public happenings. His visual art and per-formances have been shown nationally and internationally, including the 2009 Amsterdam Biennale. Carney holds an MFA in Visual Studies from Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, OR where he is now a faculty member in Intermedia.

You can reach him at: info@seanjosephpatrickcarney.com
www.socialmalpractice.com
www.seanjosephpatrickcarney.com