geert lovink on 9 Feb 2001 05:09:48 -0000

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Re: <nettime> [no subject]

re: <>

> Baudrillard in a footnote to his 'Implosion of Meaning in the Media'
(1983) writes:

> "Distrust the universalisation of struggles through information. Distrust
> campaigns of solidarity that is both electronic and worldwide. Every
> strategies of the universalisation of differences is an entropic strategy
> of the system."
> This seems to be the antithesis of current positions on global activism
> and its utilisation of the net. NAFTA, The EZLN and N30 all suggest
> the opposite to this typical Baudrillardian stance.
> *Is Baudrillard wrong because he was writing 18 years ago?

Of course it is possible to give an historical answer to your question, but
I won't do that. JB is a endemic "besides the point" thinker. He is neither
right, nor wrong. Theory from his school of thought are not  predicting. At
best, theory (in general) opens "possibility spaces", besides the titanic
obligation to read and interprete the present and past. Speculative
thinkers, such as JB better should not be treated as prophets who have
written holy texts, full of (hidden) deaper meanings and predictions. The
"alien" reading of his work could be more interesting (he really ain't no
marketing guru). If you are in the proper mood, with a glass of red wine in
the one and a cigarette in the other hand, Baudrillard's texts are opening
up violently beautiful mediascapes which vaporate next time you have a look
at them. Unlikely futures altogether. At least if you take JB's work before
he became a repetitive conservative old man, complaining about the decline
of culture. His turn ("kehre") must have happened somewhere around the mid
nineties. JB is a classic example of a European post-68 thinker who could
not really jump over the 89-hurdle. JB has never been involved in activism,
so I would not use him as reference in such questions in the first place.
Baudrillard himself never operated outside of the system, really. It's
anyway, in my opinion, not possible to operate outside of the "Empire" as
Michael Hardt and Toni Negri describe in their work "Empire".
All struggles can be coopted, even BinLaden. That idea, by the way, will
never stop anyone to Just Say No. And don't worry about the overproduction
of information. Ever been afraid of libraries? No, they are fantastic
evidence of the all too human drive to petit/petty knowledge, with here and
there something useful for you. Navigating the Net is not much different
from driving a car or a bicycle. You will find your way.

Ciao, Geert

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