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December 22, 2011
“Disneyland is presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that the rest is real, whereas Los Angeles [is] no longer real, but belongs to the hyperreal order and to the order of simulation.” – Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra & Simulation, 1994

Those fake cities with tree-lined cascading boulevards and perfectly designed flows of traffic, how beautiful they are when they become abandoned and consigned to a rotten fate. It can’t be helped to notice that this resembles a dead husk of Baudrillard’s dream: of entire cities whose principal rests on artifice or simulation, indeed that cathartic dystopia that one might attribute as the essence of Los Angeles. Dystopia because it’s emergence from history represents a reoccurrence, like an episode of Marx’s 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, except this time ceaseless in its reproducibility. Cathartic because it represents transcendence beyond tropes of liberalism that have entrenched themselves within us: those normative functions whose previously natural composition become ridiculed, dismembered, and eventually trivialized in that they serve a simply aesthetic and/or preformative role.

But, as the tide of capital’s strength recedes, it bequeaths us skeletal remnants that had once served its purposes. Peer into the distance with enough attention, and we can now begin see the marks of its once high-tide. The seizures of these remnants have manifested in a plausible first step. And, with ongoing intensifications of struggle and economic uncertainly, it’s very unlikely to abate.
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