[-empyre-] a little Baudrillard memory

I ever tell you about the time I met Baudrillard ?

Baudrillard came and lectured at Emily Carr in Vancouver, I believe it was
1999 or so. The hall was full and the administration refused to open these
massive doors which would have allowed the hundreds of students outside in
the concourse to listen and see. But they wouldn't do it. So they began
pounding on the walls. Baudrillard encouraged them, but the administration
wouldn't relent. He talked for two hours about the image, photography (he
was there for an exhibition of his photographs), the real and the
simulacrum, and the way the image is the measure of the distance -- it was
unclear how close this was to a decline -- from tribal society. I have it on
minidisc somewhere. At the end, he struggled through a few English questions
-- mainly reiterating what he had said, as most of the questions were poor,
of the "I don't get it" variety -- and eventually just translated each
question into French and responded in French. This being Vancouver, an
audience of about one thousand was ignorant of his far more fascinating
answers voiced in his native tongue.

At the end, I went up to get his signature on a library copy of _The Gulf
War Did Not Take Place_ (I still have it -- I ripped the page out, which I
thought was appropriate -- check the pic:



While I was doing this, an impish professor from SFU was trying to get
Baudrillard to come and talk to his seminar. He said something like, "Are
you saying that it is becoming too late? I really feel that you're really
saying something about the whole state of things, where we are...."

It was kind of embarrassing, this posturing, this pleading. Baudrillard
turned to the prof and said, perfunctorily and with an air of resignation,
"It is too late."

The circle of administrators ready to cater to his every need and gloating
Emily Carr professors that had been filling the air with laudatory chit-chat
paused to listen. Was this the Meaning of his Talk?

"It is too late!" said the prof, eyes wide, taken back, leaning toward
Baudrillard with alarm sketched across his face. The Answer had arrived. "Do
you really mean it is too late?!?"

"It is too late," says Baudrillard, casually, eyes downward, and in a way
only the French can manage, he pulls back the sleeve of his brown jacket and
glances at his watch.

-- tV

tobias c. van Veen -----------++++
http://www.quadrantcrossing.org --
McGill Communication & Philosophy

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