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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Forget Foucault! Forget Baudrillard! DeLillo Weighs In and Wins the Game!

Michel Foucault

Sylvere Lotringer
Michel Foucault



Jean Baudrillard
Don DeLillo
Anyone who has spent serious time with all of Foucault's ouevre will feel that their brain has been scrubbed clean of trivia and useless baggage. You never want to leave off reading him and I didn't even want to read anything criticizing him. If I read an academic who was writing about him, their style of interpretation stopped me. I had gone beyond endless interpretation, searching for origins and secret meanings into an endless depth that had no end. Nor was I interested anymore in extending towards a horizon that kept receding the closer I got.

Forget Foucault I read after nothing but Foucault for over one year. It was a revelation. Baudrillard never argues, disputes, interprets, spins, none of that stuff at all. As Lotringer says to him in Forget Baudrillard that he proves every one of Foucault's hypotheses and makes Foucault the revolutionary he never dreamed of being. 


IMO Delillo does the same to Baudrillard in his Cosmopolis novel. The essential difference between Baudrillard and DeLillo is that of the transcendence of the narrative or narrative transcendence. DeLillo believes in human spiritual transcendence and that of the artist, the writer in particular; whereas, Baudrillard, following Foucauldian genealogy does not. DeLillo puts the challenge to Baudrillard with Eric Packer and wins the game. He proves Baudrillardian theory from start to finish. Eric moves through dialectical thinking into simulation, then following seduction and challenge and destiny to his world willed death. DeLillo has been criticized for not drawing a truly politically challenging character. Eric Packer is his answer to that. And so subtle is he that no reviewer or academic even noticed.

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