---- by Gerry Coulter
  For Baudrillard language is always aimed at the social (SED) and is understood as an artifical system (TE). While discourse tends to produce meaning he says that language (and writing) always create illusion (PC). Fortunately, for Baudrillard, we can use language to play with this illusion (P). Only fragments survive the catastrophe which is the destruction of language and meaning (F) and the dispersion of language is only a disaster from the point of view of communication and meaning (PC). Communication, for Baudrillard, is to language what reproduction is to sexuality - merely one possible outcome (CM2). Language, according to this view, is merely the involuntary accomplice of communication (PC). Following Lacan, he says that language does not convey meaning, rather it stands in place of it (CM).
  All languages are beautiful for Baudrillard precisely because they are foreign to one another (TE). Baudrillard prefers to see language as a kind of inhabitable void (F). He disliked political and ideologically laden languages which he said are 'spongy'. They absorb 'the fluid secretions of thought the way a Tampax absorbs menstrual blood' (CM3, 120).
  He was wary of language as propaganda (which does not fully occur, he says, until the October 1917 Revolution in Russia and after 1929 in the West).'Masslanguages'(whichforhimincludesadvertising),whenaimedat a 'total public', become totalitarian (UB) and all languages become absorbed in advertising's depthlessness (SS). Here, Baudrillard says, languages are reduced to mere neo-languages which are beyond truth and falsity, thriving on codes and models rather than reference or veracity (UB).
  He is likewise suspicious of linguistics which attempt, he says, 'to reduce the poetic to a meaning' (SED, 205). The poetic, for its part, is an 'insurrection of language against its own laws' (SED, 198). A good example of this in his writing occurs when he says that Americans live in the most developed state of simulation without a language to describe it (A).
  Among the problems we face with the capitalist system is that it tries to rationalise language (MP). Today the pressure is on to reduce all languages to computer language and for Baudrillard the day we speak this machine language we will truly be beaten by technology (SC). He believed that when everything is encoded digitally, language becomes as useless as the sex function of a clone (VI, IEx). From here he moves to undermine our faith in cyberspace 'where the ultra-simplification of digital languages prevails over the figural complexity of natural languages' (VI, 69). For him the symbolic dimension of language cannot survive 'binary coding and decoding' (VI, 69). Digital languages are the 'Perfect Crime against language' (VI, 69). Language 'speaks us', he said (IEx, 89), and 'prevents everything from signifying at every moment' (PC, 53). In short, 'language thinks' (PW, xiii). When writing he said he sought to get 'to the end of the sentence, before language has had time to feel pain' (CM, 101). He added elsewhere: 'you have to surprise it and let it surprise you' (P, 32). Language, when it plays in illusion, can be joyful for Baudrillard but he felt that meaning, for its part, is always unhappy (PC).
   § advertising
   § fragments
   § illusion
   § writing

The Baudrillard dictionary. . 2015.

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