Popular Culture Review Vol. 28, No. 2, Summer 2017 - Page 103

attempt to discover self-actualization and contentment in the realm of simulated reality. Her desperate efforts to conform to a prefabricated model not only line the pockets of CEOs, but they could also force her to replace one interchangeable Clyde with another. Given that Lisa appears to have conflated consumerist signs of happiness with actual happiness in “The Hobbit,” the viewer is left to speculate as to whether she will ever actualize a genuine state of contentment and a sense of purpose. She is clearly the most popular girl at school, as evidenced by the thunderous applause that she receives at a pep rally during school, yet no one cares or even knows anything about the real Lisa. It is improbable that Lisa will be able to create a stable identity through her simulated double whose virtual presence hides only nothingness. Elucidating that the modern subject is never truly satisfied by consuming meaningless signs because the schism between the real and the hyper-real is simply too great, Baudrillard asserts, Le miraculé de la consommation lui aussi met en place tout un dispositif d’objets simulacres, de signes caractéristiques du bonheur, et attend ensuite […] que le bonheur se pose […] L’opulence, l’affluence n’est en effet que l’accumulation des signes du bonheur […] La pratique des signes est toujours ambivalente […] Le réel, nous le consommons par anticipation ou rétrospectivement, de toute façon à distance, distance qui est celle du signe. The miracle of consumption also puts into place a package of simulacra-objects, signs that are characteristic of happiness and then waits […] for happiness to manifest itself […] Opulence, affluence are in fact only the accumulation of signs of happiness […] The custom of signs is always ambivalent […] the real, we consume it through anticipation or retrospectively, from a distance, the distance is that of the sign (La Société de consommation 27; 30). From a Baudrillardian perspective, Lisa seems destined to consume the same image of herself that she projects to others. How many fake pictures of herself will she have to create, or how many consumer goods will she have to purchase to keep up this charade in the coming years? Regardless, her simulated femininity might make her a prized commodity, but these banal signs reflect an ideal of beauty that she could never possibly attain in real life. Moreover, Baudrillard offers a cogent argument in his seminal essay La Société de consommation in which he stipulates that simulations can only temporarily fill the existential void. After the ecstasy of the moment 98