What is the reality of America?

In Jean Baudrillard’s reading, it shows the negative images of America and he describes America that “This is the land of the ‘just as it is’ ” (p.28). It means America is the country where nature and things are there what we expect. Also, he mentions that America is a hyperreality but it is a utopia (p.28). This sentence might be seen in contradiction, but I interpreted it that America is thought the perfect place to live however, things happening are not always good though it is thought there are dreams there. Moreover, he describes that America has more freedom and wealth, so people pursue more, which makes some problems in America and all over the world (p.30) His idea feels me be sure about the problems happening in my home country, too. I see poor people begging money and living outside, such as train stations and parks in Japan and
in America because of the disparity of economy. Through this perspective, we can see that world is connected and it has some effects in some extent. In addition, he shows that culture is a kind of organization where people can get together. In his reading, using a pan, he describes how we can communicate with others. By heating the pan makes water boil without touching the water, and heat can covey message to water. (p.33) Through this idea, it can be said that communication can be made with many people even they seem not connected. To think about it, recently we have a lot of time to use SNS, such as Facebook and Twitter. In those SNS, we can meet people we have never met before and we can share many things by using SNS.

Furthermore, the author says about movement of restoration in America that cleaning up the rubbish and stuff to restore the original America.(p.33) Also, he pointed out that smile is also the way of communication by showing the example of Reagan that he gives smile to people and it makes him get more consensus. To think about the smile, even if we cannot speak language, smile tells us if the person is happy or not( smile does not necessarily show happiness).Comparing to Japan and America, when we meet someone and see their eyes, the person smiles at us in America, but in Japan they tend to avert their eyes. Moreover, smile makes people happy, which is the good chain reaction, even if we cannot speak languages.

At the end of his reading, he states that anorexic culture which means they think they have enough things, so they try to avoid and expel the culture. On the other hand, the opposite to anorexic culture that they think they do not have enough things, so they pursue more and more culture.(p.40) He says about it that both of them are happening in America, such as the movement of saving energy and taking less calories, and having more many kinds of products protecting ourselves. We consume disposable stuff and use lots of energy every day, so we have started to save less because we have already have too much. Also, he points out that affluence makes us feel the lack of stuff. Even in Japan, there are some movements of saving energy or resources, but we try to buy many stuff which we really do not use. Obsession of something makes us feel crazy and we destroy environment in many ways, which is totally different from the original world. Usually, affluence seems good things but it sometimes cause the bad way, too.

1. Why is America thought “hyperreality?” Isn’t it a utopia?

2. What is the anorexic culture and how would it affect in a society?

3. What is the example of communication described in the reading?


About rmkwakazono

Hi. My name is Rumiko from Japan. I'm 20 years old and I came to UC Davis at the end of this March! I like watching musicals(my best musical film is 'The Sound of Music') Nice to meet you:)
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2 Responses to What is the reality of America?

  1. Janice says:

    American thought is a “hyperreality” due to the distortion of phrases like “carpe diem” (“seize the day”). With a mindset to live for the moment, people can end up so preoccupied with the necessity to experience the “now” that they forget to invest for the future. Long-term effects of present actions end up forgotten .

    I agree a little with Baudrillard’s description of American lifestyle as a hyperreality because the utopic image that the nation tries to project is unreal and couched in hyperbole. Big, intangible phrases like “land of the free” and “land of opportunity” are used to describe America, and people try to accomplish the vague promises of those phrases by living to excess. Hyperreality ties into the culture of anorexia/obesity and America’s preoccupation with surface qualities. One perception of anorexia is that it affects people so concerned with body shape that they allow that preoccupation to dictate their actions. Obesity, likewise, is seen symptomatic of a constant need to *feel* and indulge, regardless of future consequences. The anorexia/obesity culture that Baudrillard cites affects fiscal and social parts of a society – healthcare and recovery programs, and people’s perception of beauty and attractiveness.

    Bit of a sidetrack, but a personal comment on the cultural thing of not meeting other people’s eyes: I grew up in a Chinese-American community and I really sympathise with that commentary! Even now, I have to consciously remind myself to maintain eye contact (or look at a person’s eyebrows) because otherwise my ground-in instinct is to look down or to the side to not appear rude. Eye contact expresses some degree of trust or vulnerability, since microemotions are more evident in the tiny muscle movements around eyes/eyeballs.

  2. Kevin Su says:

    Some might argue that the current generation will spend 50% of their lives on the internet by the time they die. I believe this was what Baudrillard was hoping to get at. The idea of hyper reality isn’t an un-perfect world, but a hybrid between reality and make belief. Since we made the internet, we created a separated reality for ourselves so we can hide behind a computer screen. No, America is not a utopia it is far from it, but many of us pretend that it is and pretend that is okay by distracting ourselves with a reality we have created for ourselves. This is what Baudrillard meant by hyper-reality. The anorexic culture is the idea of trying to make up the lack of something by filling yourself with something else. This would have a negative effect on society; because we can never get to the core problem we will only pile on more distractions to sway us from the truth. As for the last question, I believe that communication has lost its meaning. The words “How are you today?” is just something we say when we see anyone we know, we no longer mean what we say. A smile is communication at its truest form, where we can express all our emotions in one simple motion/emotion.

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