Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Baudrillard, McLuhan, and Bolter ... oh my!

My fascinating reading for this morning comes from: Diane, Suzanne, Sarah, and Jennifer

The physical remediation so prevalent in our society and laid out with incredible visual power in Diane's post really had me thinking about the struggles of women to meet the unrealistic expectations of beauty in our society ... and who knew I was channeling Baudrillard as I thought about this! Suzanne and Sarah explain well Baudrillard's concept of simulcra, and I was struck most by his point that society has gotten to where the real and the simulated can no longer be distinguished.  At its most basic level, this is speaking to the women's magazines Diane writes of and the video on plastic surgery she shares.  When a reader of Cosmo feels she needs to look like the models, she is seeking to make a simulcrum into a reality ... and the damage that comes with such an effort is enormous. Sarah and Jennifer then offer the final link in today's cycle of thoughts -- McLuhan's thoughts on how media affect messages.

Jennifer and I are both reading Understanding Media, so I read her post to confirm my own understanding of the reading.  To see from Sarah how Baudrillard uses McLuhan was really interesting and helped me to think even more about his terms hot and cool media.  As I wrote to Sarah, I have not settled easily into his use of these terms, and Baudrillard's analysis of them makes more sense to me than McLuhan's use.  A cool medium such as TV (one that requires participation according to McLuhan) actually promotes simulated participation from the comfort of one's couch.  Sarah has a great example of a Holocaust mini-series that clearly shows that watching a TV show is not true participation.

And a final thanks to Diane for this spot-on young man ... a modern day Baudrillard/Bolter/Grusin/McLuhan who asks girls all over to stop the remediation and let the message come from them and not the medium of their make-up! 

1 comment:

  1. Isn’t it interesting how so many ideas in these very different books overlap? Your point about how remediation echoes ideas regarding Baudrillard and simulacra is indeed intriguing.

    Glad you agreed that the video featuring the young man who thought females were putting too much makeup on was a breath of fresh air. By the comments below his video on the main Youtube site, obviously many females like what he’s saying, but will they have the courage to let go of their old habits?

    I showed this video to my mother and she had an answer for why women NEED to keep wearing makeup. Oh well. I hope the younger ones listen at least.

    I also want to say that your posts on the CSS exploration and the metaphor of an explorer's diary is awesome! Wonderful touch.. As was that comic image in CSS Exploration #2. I think you'll find you'll end up back on drawing #2 of that comic. :-)