ACW hyperreality - 2

The missing piece in Baudrillard's analysis of hyperreality is human agency; he talks in Hegelian terms of one state overtaking another. But where the real is replaced with the false, someone is replacing it.

If we look at an example we can see the human factor at work.

The Lincoln Museum in Sprigfield has "professional staff," perhaps even a "staff historian." This staff solicited ideas and then approved an exhibit featuring Lincoln's boyhood cabin. There were many ways to go on this: build a reproduction, or move the actual cabin if it exists, or exhibit images of the cabin, or show models, or floor plans.

The professional staff opted to import a cabin from Virginia, not Lincoln's, in dimensions not matching Lincoln's, from a time generally guessed at. A newspaper writes:

The cabin will be part of "The Journey: A Walk Through the Life of Abraham Lincoln" - a portion of the museum that will give visitors "an immersive, walk-through experience" of significant periods and events in Lincoln’s life using "you-are-there" settings and historically accurate environments.

Boyhood home = any cabin, from anywhere.
Lincoln = a timestamp, a broad era.
A cabin standing during Lincoln's youth = Lincoln's boyhood cabin.
A physical metaphor for Lincoln's home = an historically accurate environment.

"The first thing visitors will see when they enter Journey One is Lincoln reading a book near the fireplace of his boyhood cabin in Indiana."

If you read those words and are still sane, consider that there was an historian in the museum's decision mix. He blessed this. Perhaps enthusiastically.

More on this next week.