Postmodernism Disrobed: Jean Baudrillard V.S. Stanley Fish

Essay by lucybordenUniversity, Bachelor's February 2009

download word file, 5 pages 5.0

Rao Fu Borden

Writing 2

Professor: John Williams


Postmodernism Disrobed: Jean Baudrillard V.S. Stanley Fish

In writing this close reading assignment, I have struggled with my desire to write something about Jean Baudrillard and Stanley Fish without being too negative. In seeking to understand postmodernism through Baudrillard's and Fish's writings, for they are both considered the iconic figures in postmodern sociology, I have twisted my brain, but not learned much. Baudrillard and Fish both wrote articles exploring the lack of interrelation between subjectivity and objectivity. I disagree with both of them, but I found Fish's writing more convincing, because Fish engaged himself with his readers more.

In "The Map Precedes the Territory", Baudrillard portrays the postmodern world as a "hyperreal"( Baudrillard 80) society, where "the map precedes the territory,"(80) meaning that the idealized models and images are replacing the reality. According to Baudrillard, there is not a connection between the objects and their simulacra, so it is impossible to understand the truth.

Unfortunately, in the postmodern world, only simulacra matter.

Reading Baudrillard's article was an acid experience. First, the purpose of Baudrillard's article seems evasive. One can only guess that Baudrillard was criticizing postmodernism by the derogatory words he applied. "This was the approach of Jesuits … Behind the baroque of images hides the grey eminence of politics." (80) However, he never points out who has interest in dismantling the connection between the reality and the simulacra, nor did he explain the effects on human life when the simulacra lost connection with reality.

Stanley Fish, on the other hand, has a much clear theme. In "How to Recognize a Poem When You See One," Fish argues that there is not a clear line between the subjectivity and objectivity, "all objects are made and not found." Fish makes reference to...