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Some truth to Baudrillard's assertions

Reader comment on item: The Gulf War Did Not Take Place

Submitted by Robert Marino (United States), Apr 29, 2005 at 02:28

I believe there is some truth to Baudrillard's assertions concerning the Gulf War and the hyper-real – Briefly - Did important human, economic, and strategic issues enter the discourse of American mass culture? I was there, young at the time, in high school actually.

From what I recall there was some discussion concerning the meaningful implications of the conflict. But I also remember that such dialogue was cheap, fast, insipid. This is not to say that the conflict did not have real human, economic, and strategic repercussions. However, these repercussions did not reverberate in any significant degree in the daily fabric of everyday American living, at least not in any sense that a majority of Americans were consciously aware of.

And in terms of the meaningful, the consequential, the "real", it is important to note that opinionated majorities have political implications in America.

For me, the strength of Baudrillard's argument stems from the bare reality of an unavoidable fact: the overwhelming majority of Americans were not exposed to the violence of the Gulf War, they were not made to feel pain, nor were they forced to sacrifice. Yet, a majority of Americans did tune in to CNN each night. Aside – Pope John Paul II was not unaware of the power of the hyper-real, he was the first Pope to welcome the camera into the Vatican, he made it a point to make his papacy a televisual event; if I may paraphrase the late pontiff, "an event is not real, that is it does not happen unless it is televised."
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