Here is a short section from it. i would be happy to hear comments. My main purpose is to try and make Baudrillard into a (sort of) Deleuzian, which should hopefully remove the perverse platonism in Baudrillard:
In Merrin’s assessment, the majority of Baudrillard’s commentators have simplistically critiqued, and misunderstood, the concept of the simulacrum (see Best and Keller, 1991). For Merrin they fail to grasp that Baudrillard adopts a critical stance towards the simulacra, which privileges the symbolic. This means to challenge Baudrillard ‘we must oppose him not with the real but with the simulacrum, not rejecting but accepting, employing and escalating its force to challenge his work’ (Merrin, 2005: p30).
One of the few works I have found attempting to turn Baudrillard against himself is a short essay by Brian Massumi. Written from a Deleuzian perspective Massumi is able to argue simulation both replaces a real that did exist and is all there has ever been. The result is Massumi adopts a paradoxical position of believing simulation is both transhistorical and historical. To understand simulation, for Massumi, means focusing on how ‘simulation takes as its point of departure a regularized world comprising stable identities. But these “real” entities are in fact undercover simulacra’ (Massumi, 1987). Simulation is then a process of immanent becoming, with no foundational referent, but rather an appropriation of reality to alter and metamorphosis life. There is only ‘simulation upon simulation’ (Massumi, 1987).
However, for Baudrillard the referent, or what we call reality, is the symbolic, which is outside the process of the dominant semiotic processes. The symbolic is excluded from the semiotic, as the symbolic is an external threat to the semiotic, which can cause a rupture in the semiotic. Yet, Lyotard, and Merrin, have both critiqued the privileging of the symbolic as producing another simulacrum. Lyotard has labelled this privileging of the symbolic as the creation of a ‘good’ savage simulacrum, which holds nostalgia for the past in order to challenge the present. I completely agree with Lyotard’s assessment, and the ‘good’ savage is nothing other than another simulacrum. However, simulacrum become crucial, as it is through the production of simulacrum that life is lived. The production of simulacrum should be regarded as the creation of habit, the creation of machines, the creation of assemblages, and so forth. Baudrillard recognises this, claiming ‘the simulator produces’ (Baudrillard, 1983: p5). Simulacra may then also be a form of empowerment, and not only to be regarded as domination.
It is my belief Baudrillard’s orders of simulacra are aimed to comprehend different blocs of becoming. These blocks of becoming are how life is produced. The names attached to these blocs of becoming are arbitrary and unimportant. What is important is the recognition that something different is occurring, ‘becoming produces nothing other than itself. We fall into a false alternative if we say that you either imitate or you are. What is real is the becoming itself, the block of becoming, not the supposedly fixed terms through which becoming passes’ (Deleuze and Guattari, 2004: p262). Baudrillard is then proposing the orders of simulacra to argue, in comparison to other ages of production (counterfeit and industrial production), the affirmation of the contemporary world is different. This is why Baudrillard is complementary to Walter Benjamin and Marshall McLuhan, who were both able to understand the significance of new mediums entering into production processes.