PLEASE NOTE:

MyNews24 is a user-generated section of News24.com. The stories here come from users.

 
IanMartin
 
Comments: 4
Article views: 6
 
 
Latest Badges:



 
View all IanMartin's badges.
 

Baudrillard's Rhinoceros

18 June 2012, 20:19

What has the plight of the rhinoceros got to do with Jean Baudrillard? You may well ask. The famous French philosopher, who died in 2007, is possibly best known for coming up with an idea so bizarre, it makes you wonder what he was smoking besides Gauloises. He called this concept the simulacrum, and it’s so weird, there aren’t many people who can get their heads around it. Let me try and simplify the thing and put it in a nutshell.

The simulacrum is not just an imitation of reality, it becomes reality itself, and the original reality dwindles into the background and becomes meaningless, and people then relate to the simulacrum and not to reality. See what I mean?

Now, just the other morning, me and my buddies were playing pool over at the Sea View. We were discussing the price of rhino horn.

“If you had a pet rhino,” I said, “would you cut its horn off and sell it?”

“For sure,” said Cupcake, straightening up after having sunk his white. “You know what a kilogram of rhino horn fetches nowadays?”

“Same price as cocaine,” said the other guy.

“Which is?” I said, not knowing the price of cocaine.

“Around $50 000 a kilo.”

“Holy shite fuckers!” I said. “That’s like R350 000! Bring me the chain saw.”

“Except you don’t own a chain saw,” said Cupcake.

“And where’s your pet rhino?” asked the other guy, squinting down his cue and dreaming of a 3-in-one ricochet.

“I suppose it’s all about supply and demand,” I said. “All those Orientals wanting a scarce commodity. The fewer the rhino, the more they’ll pay for the horns.”

“Basic economics,” said Cupcake.

The other guy struck his white one helluva shot, which resulted in just about every other ball on the table being displaced but not one of them ended up in a pocket.

“Basic stupidity,” I said. “These Orientals are paying 350 grand for a kilo of powdered keratin – the same stuff as your fingernails are made of.”

“So? It’s not the intrinsic value that counts. It’s the perceived value, my mate.”

“Just another fucking simulacrum,” said the other guy.

“Yeah, like that stupid watch of yours,” said Cupcake, pointing to the other guy’s imitation gold Rolex. “Does that piece of shit even work?”

“Of course it works. But it loses like two days in four hours. Doesn’t worry me, though. I don’t wear a watch to tell the time. Who needs a watch when you got a cell phone? Everybody’s got a cell phone.”

“So why wear the fucking thing?”

“Image, man, image,” said the other guy. “It throws people into a state of mental confusion. They can’t work out if it’s genuine or not; there’s so much fake shit about, you never can be sure of anything.”

“It’s not a watch you’re wearing,” I said. “It’s a signifier of something else. Some kind of hyper reality.”

“Yah, that’s how it works for me. People think it’s probably a fake, but maybe it’s not. Maybe I stole it, and that makes me kind of dangerous. Or maybe this Rolex is the genuine 50 thousand buck thing, and I’ve got millions in the bank, even though I look like a loser, And that makes me super cool, jy weet? Anyway, this watch, which I bought for a hundred buckaroos at a flea market, makes people treat me with more respect than if I wore some nondescript watch, or no watch at all.”

“Yes,” said Cupcake. “But this hyper reality bullshit, this simulacrum, is no good for our rhino population.”

“That’s for sure,” I said. “As long as the Chinese believe in the efficacy of the simulacrum, the demand will far outweigh the supply. We can say goodbye to the rhino.”

“Not so fast,” said the other guy. “We must turn the simulacrum to our advantage, the way I’ve made this stupid watch replace the reality of a genuine Rolex with something that is not an imitation of a Rolex watch, but an imitation of the Rolex brand. The watch itself is no longer of any consequence. We can do the same thing with the rhino – and make some money at the same time.”

“Is this your crazy thought for the day?” I said.

“What we do is this,” said the other guy. “We make ourselves a rhino horn mould. Then we get a whole lot of ground up cattle horn from the abattoir, and a good modern binding agent that sets really hard, and then we go into production churning out hundreds of imitation rhino horns.”

“Aha!” said Cupcake. “I think I know where you’re going with this little brainwave of yours. We make a quick fortune without having to work too hard, and then we flood the market with our imitation horns.”

“That’s it,” said the other guy. “You got the picture just like that.” And he snapped his fingers in the air. “At a critical point the market will collapse and rhino horn, genuine or fake, will acquire junk status.”

“Brilliant!” I said. “Not only will we have made a pile of lovely boodle and saved the rhino from extinction, but we’ll have exploded the simulacrum. “Those idiots in Viet Nam and China will have to find some other worthless commodity to which they can attach the pseudo magical properties they now attribute to rhino horn.”

“It seems,” said Cupcake, “that the human brain is becoming less and less capable of dealing with reality in its raw condition. But hey, we’re supposed to be playing pool! Whose turn is it?”

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
4 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Linamandla Mpolase
Womanize history, the present and...

This piece aims to understand Women’s Day through a woman born under democracy and the powerful role that women played previously.. Read more...

5 comments 149 views
Submitted by
Siphokuhle Dludla
Africans are yet to free their mi...

It is without doubt that black South Africans are physically free, which means they can move from one place to another without unnecessarily encountering any institutional inhibition to their freedom of movement.  Read more...

44 comments 706 views
Submitted by
Gail Shorkend
Family mother, brother and sister

There is nothing like family and there's a special bond that one cannot take away. My Mom was involved in a accident - a freak accident. Read more...

9 comments 447 views
Submitted by
Thulani Ngwenya
Proudly ANC. VIVA!

We need to be reminded of what the ANC is doing NOW for our people, not where it took us from. Read more...

48 comments 1824 views
Submitted by
Phumlani M. UMajozi
South Africans, education is key

Education is the only way we can defeat poverty over the long-term. Read more...

7 comments 241 views
Submitted by
Kirsten Ashman Halcrow
An elaborate architecture that is...

Qualification fraud is on the rise and it has been exposed in the media with a number of recent high profile South Africans who have been caught faking their qualifications.  Read more...

2 comments 924 views
 

services

E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on Android Get the latest from News24 on your Android device.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Blogs Your opinion on you, me and everyone.

TV Get us in your home, on your television.

 
Interactive Advertising Bureau
 
© 2015 24.com. All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.