Jean Baudrillard: it’s not why we fake the Olympics, it’s why we burn the flame

The faking of the Olympics reminds me of both Umberto Eco’s notion of the absolute fake and Baudrillard’s visions of hyperreality. Julian Baggini’s thoughts on Comment is Free capture the matter well.

But there is something else perhaps: why we burn the flame. Here I found this quote from by Baudrillard’s Vanishing Point, an essay from his travels in America. It’s beautiful and strangely poignant after a night of watching all those pictures of all that light.

“The skylines lit up at dead of night, the air-conditioning systems cooling empty hotels in the desert and artificial light in the middle of the day all have something both demented and admirable about them. The mindless luxury of a rich civilization, and yet of a civilization perhaps as scared to see the lights go out as was the hunter in his primitive night.”

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