Jean Baudrillard suggests that the supremacy of the simulacra is a modern development, reality a construction of the U.S. His argument, given the U.S. penchant for breaking and remaking the world in its own image (it is, in the language of Baudrillard, both iconoclast and iconolater), is strong. However, writers, artists, and philosophers have been pondering the reign of illusion for millennia. Plato described the world as a place of simulations that left us wanting. For Shakespeare, the world was a stage of fools; the play was that of an idiot. Goya presented the world as a dream of reason that gave birth to the monsters he painted. Borges (like Shakespeare and also perhaps Goya and Plato) was obsessed with what he refers to in "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" as the "atrocious or banal" idea that reality, as we know it (which is, of course, the only perspective of it that we can have), is fake. The three books under review here, Ian Miller's Faking It, Penny Cousineau-Levine's Faking Death: Canadian Art Photography and the Canadian Imagination, and Paul Matthew St Pierre's A Portrait of the Artist as Australian: L'Oeuvre bizarre de Barry Humphries, can be considered additions to the oeuvre fascinated and troubled by what Borges calls the "phantasmagorias" of our world
Field of Research
200204 Cultural Theory
Socio Economic Objective
970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
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