ISSN: 1705-6411
Volume 9, Number 1 (January 2012)

Brave New World Revisited – Again: Resistance, the Unreal and the Real

Mark S. Roberts
(Suffolk County College, New York, USA)

. . .most men and women will grow up to love their servitude and will never dream of revolution (Huxley, 1958).

In his 1958 revisitation of the brave new world he envisioned in 1932, Aldous Huxley was shocked to see how many of his predictions had been realized, and, even more so, how quickly they had arrived: “The prophesies made in 1931 are coming true much sooner than I thought they would” (Huxley, 1958:4). What is even more startling about Huxley’s prescience is that, in the postmodern world, not only have some of his predictions materialized but that they have in a certain sense become signposts of the socio-political and cultural framework of the western world.

The original Brave New World has often been considered a companion piece to George Orwell’s 1984. In certain ways this is true, but in other significant ways it is not.  Both recount a modern dystopia – worlds in which individual freedoms have been drastically limited in pursuit of a rational, orderly and stable society. Huxley’s society is preplanned in extremis. Virtually nothing happens spontaneously, as even the number and aptitude of the newborn are rigidly controlled. Unruly class systems are converted into caste systems, and the high-born (alpha-pluses) are as rigidly managed as the low-born (epsilon sub-morons). Effectively, the cradle-to-grave existence of Huxley’s various populations is remarkably suppressed by the social orders in which they live. Freedom, creativity, inventiveness, art, scientific discovery, any form of personal spontaneity is a virtual impossibility given the brave new world system. This, it seems, is also the case with the bleak world of 1984. Writing, art, free-thinking of any kind, creativity, resistance are all suppressed, with the “thought police” poised to crush any hint of individuality. Winston Smith, the writer-hero of 1984, wanders through a frigid, gray society, suppressed by the power of the state, by propaganda and the sheer threat of deadly force. “[The Ministry of Love]”. . . could be entered “only by penetrating through a maze of barbed-wire entanglements, steel doors, and hidden machine-gun nests. Even the streets leading up to its outer barriers were manned by gorilla-faced guards in black uniforms, armed with jointed truncheons” (Orwell, 1961:8).

But the similarities between the two worlds are only apparent.  Repression of people and ideas certainly exists in both social orders. Winston Smith is no freer than Bernard Marx or the gray-cowled, blindly-toiling sub-morons to express their particular desires, needs or grievances. What differs, however, is the means of repression, the ways in which each society seeks to control its populations. Step out of line in the Orwellian world, and the “truncheon” will fall, or “Big Brother” will surveil you through the bathroom tele-screen. In Huxley’s dystopia, there seems to be no line to step over, no borders to traverse, no transgression possible. Effectively, anything is possible in this world, yet the unlimited range of joyous possibility, of infinite variation, is its greatest limitation and the source of virtually absolute control and order.

 This immaculate social control begins at birth. Genetic engineering allows for the creation of pre-programmed types who will fit the precise needs of the socio-political and economic orders. Without the frightening exigencies of natural birth, and the fears of a Malthusian population catastrophe, every sector of society can be directed into constructive and unquestioning collective adherence. But the controllers foresee a lurking danger: that the engineered trance will succumb to the demands of everyday life, break down as a result of the harsh realities of a totally preplanned, completely organized world.  The solution to this lurking problem is, I believe, what sets Brave New World apart from 1984, and, most important, what makes some of its predictions entirely consonant with the postmodern world of subtle repression, simulation, and information overload.

In Brave New World Revisited, Huxley distinguishes two types of propaganda: propaganda in a democratic society and propaganda under a dictatorship. Regarding the former, Huxley acknowledges that although totalitarian propaganda may be more pernicious and deceitful, democratic propaganda invokes what he terms “the unreal:”

In regard to propaganda the early advocates of universal literacy and a free press envisaged only two possibilities: the propaganda might be true, or it might be false. They did not foresee what in fact has happened, above all in our Western capitalist democracies – the development of a vast mass-communications industry, concerned in the main neither with the true nor the false, but with the unreal  the more or less totally irrelevant. In a word, they failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distraction (Huxley, 1958:44).

The “unreal” is central to advanced capitalist propaganda and its burgeoning mass-communications machine. This type of propaganda does not conform to traditional parameters of rational thought, has no stake in truth or falsity but serves the purpose of utter distraction.  Huxley ends the brief essay on a dire note: “As the art and science of manipulation come to be better understood, the dictators of the future will doubtless learn to combine these techniques with the non-stop distractions which, in the West, are now threatening to drown in a sea of irrelevance the rational propaganda essential to the maintenance of… democratic institutions (Ibid.:46).

Huxley’s insight here is very modern – indeed, postmodern – in that he realizes that information has and will in the future lose its specificity, referring to nothing other than itself as a medium for distraction. The terror of 1984, the conflation of truth and falsity, the persistent repetition of the “Big Lie,” is virtually meaningless in the brave new world scheme. Truth and falsity, in Orwell’s sense of the terms, cling to the threshold of meaning, and are thus determined by their correspondence to some set referent. If black is not in fact white, then to claim it is, is false  But, for Huxley, the claim that black is white would be merely an amusement, a diversion from the persistent systematic logic of language and reality; whether black is or is not white really does not matter, what does is that the claim effectively diverts attention away from tedium and displeasure and, above all, their attendant modes of dissent.

In the brave new world system, the principal outlets for meaningless distractions, the production of the “unreal” are the various forms of media available in the twenties and early thirties: telecommunications, sound recording (hypnopaedia), nascent television technology, radio, and the movies. The “unreal” is, moreover, delivered by a variety of means, as the populations are bombarded by a constant (day and night, conscious and unconscious) stream of ad slogans, sexually arousing images, educational and political rhetoric, etc., virtually all of which are transmitted through centralized, consolidated media bases. The production of nonsensical “noise” is a constant in the society, but, unlike Orwell’s propaganda, it does not menace or coerce the populations. On the contrary, it soothes and reassures. Reason and edification are entirely subjugated to mindless entertainment, which, in the end, renders all information null. Whether an event, fact or statement is meaningful, true, false, invented, presupposed, actually happened, and so on, loses its force and place in the methodical scheme of the cultural and socio-political order. All that counts is that the media-generated words and images distract the populations from a realization of the actual conditions of their lives.

A comparable insight, on a much less cataclysmic scale, was employed by certain media theorists at work in the sixties and seventies. Marshall McLuhan, for example, devised a formula similar to Huxley’s for media-generated “unreality:” the medium is the message. This phrase forms the title of the initial chapter of his most popular work, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man-- a chapter in which he characterizes this phrase as describing media themselves as containing certain intrinsic messages, independent of what they represent. The form of the medium itself, apart from its specific content, is already fraught with meaning, but a meaning that is peculiar to the formal structure and internal relations of that particular medium. McLuhan further explains this conception by asserting that the form/content relation, once weighted heavily toward content, has shifted significantly in the modern era:

In other words, cubism, by giving the inside and outside, the top and bottom, back and front and the rest, in two dimensions drops the illusion of perspective in favor of the instant sensation of awareness of the whole. Cubism, by seizing on instant total awareness, suddenly announced that the medium is the message….Specialized segments of attention have shifted to total field, and we can now say, ‘The medium is the message’, quite naturally (McLuhan, 1964:28).

McLuhan also places enormous stress in this opening chapter on the “speed” with which modern electronic media convey messages. Whereas messages in the past where read at a rather leisurely pace – from books, or scrolls, or various pictographic representations, modern content is (depending on the medium’s form), brought to the viewer more or less instantaneously. Viewing television, for example, does not merely involve “reading” an isolated image on the screen, but something of a breakdown of traditional ways of processing information. Televisual information is a  fusion of many processes and information bits, delivered instantaneously to the viewer. In effect, the viewer has no other choice than to take in the information as a whole, which, as such, exists separate from the discrete meanings and contexts of image and sound.
The critical analysis of this production of “the unreal,” the empty babble of media messages, did not take more or less complete form until it was treated in the context of postmodern types of information theory. One of the most significant contributions in this approach was made by the sociologist/media theorist Jean Baudrillard, who expanded the idea of “the medium is the message” to include what, in his view, constituted the whole of social reality. Baudrillard called this new “reality” the hyperreal, and continually underscored its ascension above and beyond more traditional modes of historical and social constitution, particularly those usually associated with  dialectics: “The sole revolution in things is no longer today in their dialectical transcendence but in their elevation to the tenth power, whether it be that of terrorism, irony or simulation. It is no longer the dialectic, but rather ecstasy that is in force” (Baudrillard, 1987:44).

The necessary condition for the creation of this “revolution in things” is, according to Baudrillard, the production of a model. Much like Ferdinand de Saussure’s sign, models are composed of more or less arbitrary bits and pieces of reality. Effectively, every information function emanates from a model; nothing has an end, makes sense, without “an affiliation to the model.” The distraction issues raised by Huxley, particularly those linked to the “unreality” created by mass-communications, are, then, for Baudrillard, issues tied to the concept of the reproducibility inherent in the model: “This is a matter of reversing origins and finalities, since all forms change the moment they are no longer mechanically reproduced, but conceived instead in the light of their reproducibility, as a diffraction from a generating nucleus called a model” (Baudrillard, 1983:32). If, as Baudrillard argues, all forms are basically generated from an appropriate model, the model eliminates continuous, historical temporality, introducing a virtually infinite reversibility of events, claims, images, statements, and so on, played out in a variety of simulative forms. In other words, the model creates the message, much in the same way as the medium is the message in McLuhan‘s well-known formula.

It is not difficult, I suspect, to imagine how “the unreal” of mass-communications is effected given this postmodern information theory. Baudrillard and others have posited a new and controversial dimension of media expression, one that depends much more on self-constitution, the hyperreal and simulation than on the set orders of reading and representation:

The TV ad is not like reading, does not follow the linear logic of representation. One could argue the opposite: the spread of the hyperreal in TV ads and the like creates a practice of self-constitution . . . .one that violates the traditional mode of signification associated with reading, one that breaks with the literalness and stability, the monolithic univocality of the printed word” (Poster, 1990:65).

The violation of the linear logic of traditional forms of reading leads, no doubt, to the primary use-value of the media event being distractive, emotive and propagandistic rather than informative. If, as Baudrillard and others claim, image and word can no longer be filtered through a universally comprehensible system of signification and reading, then media messages are subject to what Huxley, referring to social orders, called “the art of manipulation.” Virtually any message generated from a model can be manipulated, not only in its specific details, but also in its meaning and impact. Seen in the context of the televisual model, the image of a bombed-out, decimated Afghan village, for example, can be given the meaning of “the high cost of freedom and democracy,” or “a future project for the U.S. rebuilding program in Afghanistan,” or “the murderous intentions of the Taliban,” since, after all, the image is generated exclusively in terms of that very model. The “truth” of the image is entirely subject to its manipulation: “the unreal” simply assumes the quality of the real, since it is delivered through the hyperreal, where “all forms” follow from the model.

The world of the “unreal,” then, is largely the product of modern information technology. What Huxley had prophesized, McLuhan had theorized, and the postmodern information and media theorists had formalized eventually became a nonsensical shorthand for utter public distraction and absorption. Like Huxley’s orgy-porgies or hypnopaedia, critical reflection on an event or claim becomes unnecessary and  irrelevant – irrelevant in a sense similar to Huxley’s characterization of capitalist propaganda as drowning the public in a “sea of irrelevance.” If the postmodern information theorists are correct, particularly Baudrillard, then the traditional concepts of reading, meaning, and reflection are in question. If each event is readable only in terms generated by the models from which it arises, and information generated from these models is fully exchangeable, that is, omnidirectional and polysemic, no univocal meaning seems possible. The event in its modern media form contains virtually infinite possibilities and readings, endless interpretations. Its true force thus  lies in its capacity to distract and attract, to form what appears to be a “real” world, which, in reality, is no less unreal or irrelevant than the genetically engineered, sugar coated  society in Huxley’s frightful dystopia.

Enmeshed in the postmodern world of information technology, consumerism, and mass-communications, one might assume that the prophecy of a brave new world is indeed inevitable; that there is no escaping the non-sensical, “unreal” production of information, and the political use of this distorted information as “instruments of policy.” If the case is limited to the so-called “first world,” to industrialized and developed nations, the above conclusion is, I believe, inexorable. Information breeds more information, which in turn, like rising water, seeks outlets – in short, is self-constituting and therefore not reducible to any specific interpretation, signification, or reading. But Huxley’s brave new world also contains an outland (Malpais), a reservation in which naïve values, religion, marriage, and ancient rituals are practiced, oblivious to the hyper high-tech world surrounding it. This is the world of the tragic figure, John the Savage.
John the Savage is perhaps the most complex, compelling, and enigmatic of the long list of characters in Brave New World. He is a natural born illegitimate son of a high-ranking official of the brave new world order. He has lived a relatively primeval, tribal existence since birth, and has read nothing other than the complete works of Shakespeare. He believes in love, art, literature, myth and magic, and is largely opposed to technology (“applied science” in Huxley’s vocabulary). The Savage’s great misfortune is being brought back to London, center of the new world system, where he is entirely out of place. In chapters sixteen  and seventeen of Brave New World, Huxley sets up an opposition between the Savage and Mustapha Mond, the Director/Controller of the new world system. The Savage and Mond debate many of the presumed advantages of a stable, totally managed society. The Savage is appalled by most of the innovations developed in this alien world, and responds to many of them negatively, or perhaps better, naively.  His comments, though, are only naïve in appearance, as they often invoke an alternative and much more authentic way of living in the world. For example, when confronted with the Director’s comments about comfort in the new world system, the Savage remarks: “But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness, I want sin” (Huxley, 1958:163). In effect, the Savage is claiming “the right to be unhappy,” to be able to live life outside the confines of an artificially constructed social order, beyond the influences of what Huxley called “the unreal” and Baudrillard has so aptly termed “simulation” and “hyperreality.” The Savage resists what is clearly a withered and barren world, further characterized in a postmodern idiom by Baudrillard as one in which there “will always be horses, aborigines, children, sex, reality, but as an alibi, a fetish, a symbolic reservation, a décor, a privilege, a relic, a rare object…” (Baudrillard, 2001:43).

Is the Savage’s dream of living in an aleatory, unrestricted, straightforward, dangerous but free world possible? To be sure, it cannot be fulfilled in the intensely “unreal” climate of the brave new world system. Subsequently, the voice of un-reason, of art and poetry, of an indeterminate and arbitrary existence undirected by the powers of illusion and a fully constructed hyperreality, is silenced at the end of Huxley’s novel. Disillusioned by the sheepishness of the people, their perpetual trance, and their inability to resist the power of the state, the Savage hangs himself, his body twisting and turning like a mechanical weather vane, “and, after a few seconds, turned as unhurriedly back towards the left, South-south-west, south, south-east. . . .” (Ibid.:177). But although the message at the end of Brave New World is a dismal one, Huxley makes a strong case for instability, simplicity and tradition as counters to the precession of unreality entailed in modern socio-cultural and media systems. Indeed, much of the calculated naiveté and simplicity of John the Savage’s worldview can be found today in some of the indigenous, environmental, and insurrectional movements in third world cultures.

To begin with, it is important to bear in mind that the abovementioned movements do not exist in some nether world devoid of mass communications; virtually all cultures are wired nowadays, a fact underscored by CNN’s global network covering over 212 countries, and the ingenious use of social media in the present-day Mid-East insurrections. What differs in these cultures from those overloaded by information, however, is the resistance to and strategies against political power and its media extensions, that is, one of power’s main sources for maintaining stability and hegemony in modern societies. The Chiapas based Zapatistas are an exemplary case of resistance to power through neutralizing media effects. Their resistance begins with simplifying language, turning it toward common understanding, rather than to sheer distraction. The approach of Subcomandante Marcos, the leader of the Zapatista movement, is described precisely in these terms:

What is Marcos’s language? Accused of being sentimental, kitsch, a pamphleteer, of writing soap operas, Marcos tells stories in a language everybody can understand. . . .He talks to those around him – the children, old Antonio, the peasants, the men and women who followed him to the mountains to become Zapatistas – and his writing reflects their thoughts. Helping the poorest and most downtrodden to be heard is an act of culture, and that is what revolution is about these days (Poniatowska, 2002:377).

Besides adopting a language that directly affects people, that defies constant reiteration because it is performed for a specific group or, in some cases, even an individual, certain of the third world movements directly attack the media and their role in spreading consumerism and repression, but very much in their own idiom rather than in a language and format that is appropriable by that self-same media. Marcos, the principal anti-mass-media voice within the Zapatista movement, makes this sort of criticism central to his revolutionary program:

How are we to prevent vast media and communications companies like CNN or News Corporation, Microsoft or ATT&T from spinning their worldwide web? . . . In today’s world economy the major corporations are essentially media enterprises, holding up a huge mirror to show us what society should be, not what it is. . . .The center of gravity of news has shifted from the written word to visual effects, from recorded to live broadcasts, from signs to pictures. . . .To retain their legitimacy, today’s right-wing intellectuals must fulfill their role in a visual era, opting for what is immediate and direct, switching from signs to images, from thought to TV commentary (Ibid.:313).

The solution to what Marcos perceives as a danger to native life and resistance, the modern dependence on the image, is relatively simple: “What is more, we live in a visual age – and so, to their considerable disadvantage, progressive thinkers must fight the power of the image with nothing but words. But their skepticism will get them out of that trap, and if they are equally skeptical in their critical analysis, they will be able to see through the virtual beauty to the real misery it conceals” (Ibid.:315). Much like John the Savage’s naïve allegiance to the wisdom of reading and writing, to literature, Marcos suggests that only writing and critical thought, individual skepticism, can cut through the illusions of virtuality and mass-communications. For him, it seems, the infinitely reproducible image is a source of global repression and confusion; it replaces thought and reflection with what Huxley termed “distraction,” with what Marcos calls “virtual beauty,” which is, in the end, devoid of meaning and specific content.

Memory is also central to this revolution grounded in writing, speech, and critical thought. Unlike the reproducible image, which instantaneously summons an array of other images and forms, memory constructs internally bits and pieces of recalled data, connecting in a systematic whole the threads of past experience. In effect, it ties people and events together, rather than, as is the case with images, separating them, mediating between direct experience and the reproduced event. Marcos, employing story telling in his revolutionary practice, relates a tale of a man who toiled his whole life planting trees on the side of a mountain, trees that would never reach maturity during his lifetime. He was chided for toiling at a “fruitless” job, instead of harvesting the crops and working to provide the daily sustenance for his village. In the end,, though, the trees began to blossom.  Generations passed, and the grove of trees eventually served its purpose:

Time passed and all of them died.  Their children continued in their work, and they were followed by the children of their children, One morning. a group of boys and girls went out for a walk and found a place with great trees. A thousand birds lived in them and their great branches gave relief from the heat and protection from the rain. The entire mountainside was found filled with trees. The boys and girls returned to their town and spoke of this marvelous place.. . . Suddenly, a ray of moonlight insinuated itself among the great branches and leaves of the tree in the center. By its small light, the sign of colors that  had been left there could be read: To the first ones, Those who came later did understand. Thank you (Ibid.:281-82).

Marcos’s story is reminiscent of Plato’s allegorical tale of the Egyptian invention of writing, in which Thamus, King of Thebes, suggests that writing will destroy the art of memory, and thus not prove to be of absolute value to the civilization (Phaedrus, 275-77). Here, though, memory is the link to the past, and, one should add, to the future. It ties one generation to another, but, perhaps more important, it functions to counteract the immediacy of the sign, of the image. The developing trees on the side of the hill are never complete and thus not exchangeable in any sign system; they grow outside the local economy, outside of custom and habit, and, as such, are in excess of even the everyday reality of the village. Their purpose is not to generate the signs of a fully constructed and thus simulated reality, what amounts to the “unreal,” but rather to serve as an inexorable link between the past and future. Hence, for those who came later, thank you.
Language and memory, then, are the principal tools of the new media-centered revolution, deployed against propagandistic distraction and simulation. But the new revolution, what could never occur in the ameliorated society of the brave new world, was and continues to be fought against the brute force of first world powers. The tactics of this war, though varying, also approximate the sort of battle against technology that John the Savage articulated but was unable to realize. If communications technology neutralizes and normalizes cultural differences, as some argue (see Schiller, 1989: 30-45), the conflict is thus not only against the brute force of superior weaponry, but also against the sorts of messages that customarily accompany that weaponry. A major example of such resistance occurred with the initial strategy of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, “Shock and Awe.”

“Shock and Awe” was intended to turn Iraq into a living hell, and to render the chances of an Iraqi victory so remote that the entire population would lay down its arms and surrender immediately. Three to four hundred Cruise missiles were fired in the first day of the war, the majority of which were aimed at “strategic” targets in the Baghdad area. The intent was also to frighten those presumably hostile nations in the surrounding area. The force of U.S. military might was painfully evident and, in theory, surrender and capitulation to U.S. brute force was inevitable. The invasion was followed by an extraordinary media blitz, with virtually all mainstream television and print media extolling the collective might of the U.S. military. Foldouts in newspapers carefully detailed the design of Cruise missiles, often illustrating their inner workings, trajectory, distance capacity, and destructive power. Other weapons were shown in artist renderings in print media and, often, in animated form on television. In media terms – the only terms available to the great majority of the world-- the war had been easily and quickly won, with only a mopping up exercise remaining. In effect, the image of total victory had been carefully manufactured out of the model of blitzkrieg or what, in this case, had been termed “Rapid Dominance” theory. Harlan Ulman, one of the creators of the “Rapid Dominance” theory, speaking to CBS News, compared its effects to Hiroshima, but without the use of nuclear weapons. He predicted that within two to five days the Iraqi people would be “physically, emotionally and psychologically exhausted.” And this would begin to take effect, not in days or weeks like in Hiroshima, but in a matter of minutes. The media  image of victory was absolute, allowing virtually no alternative interpretations or readings. It is also important to note further that “Shock and Awe” was built on a theoretical framework that presumed a certain collective reaction would occur, that is, a total collapse of resistance, of, indeed, the very will to live. This assumption proceeds, ultimately, on the basis that, even if the invasion was unsuccessful, its images, that is, media reporting, would turn defeat into victory, would reverse the signs and create a new, “unreal” reality, a hyperreal in which certain interpretations become possible. Baudrillard, moreover, argues that this was precisely the case with the first Gulf War, a conflict in which images appearing on monitors and various other telemetric devices were the “real” targets. The images of war replaced its reality, and the fighting took place in hyperspace, without the raw and disturbing reality of the death and destruction that was actually taking place (Baudrillard, 1995).

But as is often the case with reproduced images and selective reports, they only reflect the “reality” of those who invented them. Although “Shock and Awe” had taken a terrible toll on Baghdad, destroying much of the infrastructure and many lives, neither the actual attack nor the media blitz that followed had very much effect on the ensuing Iraqi insurgency.  Resistance to the U.S. invasion had begun well before it actually occurred and it proceeded in terms of its own set of countervailing images. Like Marcos’s straight talk and intimate language, Iraqi resistance was based largely on anti-media techniques, on ethnic cohesion, actual military confrontation, fanaticism, and religious mythology: the U.S. was not, as it wished to be seen, a liberating force and a superpower able and willing to push buttons and fire Cruise missiles at radar blips, but, rather, “the Great Satan,” the target of a guerilla war based on bloody and direct confrontation, on devastating car bombs and IEDs that tear through real flesh and bone, on actions and images – twisted cars, dismembered bodies, hospitals filled with the dead and dying – that would continually counter those indicating the beneficence and overwhelming brute force of the U.S. and its allies.
The now apparent victory of the Iraqi insurgency – witnessed by the hurried, corrupt, and ineffective puppet government set up in Baghdad – and the earlier rise to a share of political power by the Chiapas movements are only two examples of the resistance to the forcible imposition of a brave new world system [Here one could also point to numerous other third world revolutionary movements: the environmental resistance movements in Nigeria against international oil interests; Hugo Chavez’s continual resistance to U.S. policy and multiple coup attempts; peasant and farmers’ movements in Bolivia; the development of the Tele-Sur network in Latin America, and most recently, the successful democratic protest movements in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and other parts of the Arabic world]. Dependent on the unreality of media images and the concept of the reproducibility and exchangeability of these images, western brute force has to a certain degree lost its traditional meaning and its practical value –  though, of course, not its real and devastating effects on the lives of people. Subsequently, indigenous movements worldwide have been able to employ a set of strategies against this kind of force. By returning to regional, “earthbound” values, whether they be environmental protest, creating political instability, memory, ethnicity, guerilla warfare, native poetry, intimate language, counteractive imagery, use of social media, in short, by fashioning their own image, these peoples have, in certain cases, been able to neutralize one of the great powers of the west: the ability to manipulate and control public opinion through the various media. The production of what Huxley had called “the unreal” and its power to distract and to serve as “instruments of policy,” is now threatened by these new forces. Unlike John the Savage, who was overwhelmed by the unreality of the brave new world system, who could not reconcile art and poetry, myth and superstition with organizational power, the new revolutions have found a seeming antidote to the imposition of the brave new world envisioned by the western powers: try to counter “the signs of the real” with the” real.”


Jean Baudrillard (1983). Simulations. New York: Semiotext(e).

Jean Baudrillard (1987). Cool Memories, 1980-1985. Paris: Editions Galilee.

Jean Baudrillard (1995). The Gulf War Did Not Take Place. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Jean Baudrillard (2001). Impossible Exchange. London: Verso.

Aldous Huxley (1958). Brave New World. New York: Bantam Books.

Marshall McLuhan (1964). Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. New York: New American Library.

George Orwell (1961). 1984. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Jovanovich.

Elena Poniatowska (2002). “Voices from the Jungle: Subcomandante Marcos and Culture”, in The Zapatista Reader. New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press.

Mark Poster (1990). The Mode of Information: Poststructuralism and Social Context. University of Chicago Press.

Herbert I. Schiller (1989). Culture, Inc.: The Corporate Takeover of Public Expression. New York: Oxford University Press.

© International Journal of Baudrillard Studies (2012)

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