Friday, December 05, 2008

simulacra-klessia part 3: attunement and atonement

In the excellent chapter of the Mark A. Wathrall-edited "U2 and Philosophy" by
Ian Robertson ("'Even Better Than the Real Thing': Postmodernity, The Triumph of the Simulacra, and U2") ,the writer admits that:

It's very tempting to understand U2's exemplary postmodern song (on which, in good postmodern fashion, I shall isolate and focus on here), "Even Better Than the Real Thing," as a celebration of the very postmodern condition Baudillard characterizes as the triumph of the simulacra. How else are we to understand the song's oft-repeated eponymous chorus--but as an embrace (whether ironic or not) of a world were we come to prefer surfaces to depths, images to reality, sex to love,the fake to the genuine... There is no way around it. That is precisely the uncircumventable risk U2 took.. ...If one insists on hearing the song as addressed to a specific lover,then it seems to celebrate sex above love. However, when these same lyrics are heard as addressed to an audience, specifically a live audience, the meaning of these words is radically realigned: Now the implication is U2's relation to the audience is "even better than the real thing," not in the simulcratriumphalizing sense.......but in a profound sense of communal love which is "even better" than genine personal love..-meralizing from thein the Symoosium, by ents ense.... Heard in this communal register, the erotic meaning of the lyric, "I'm gonna make you sing" has when...adressed to a partucular lover becomes transformed, elevated into a celebration of communal singing as an ecstatic experience that transcends even the feeling of real love between indivudauls (This universalization of love-by which U2 seeks to transmute the enture audience into a belived--works, as Plato decribes in The Symoosium by generalking from the particular; it is thus striking that Bono sometimes performs the same gesture in reverse; by bringing a particular audience member on the stage to sing to her personally, as a particularization of the general audience he seeks to reach through her. With the very idea of an esctatic experience transcending personal love, we tread, I would suggest, into the territory of the holy.....Christianity itself was born out of such a fundamental attunement of universal love....without imposing borders. (91-93)

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