Popular Culture Review Vol. 28, No. 2, Summer 2017 - Page 104

triggered by an attempt to obtain inaccessible simulacra wanes, the modern subject must compulsively continue to exchange signs hopelessly longing for a different result in the form of a type of enduring happiness. V. Femininity in Hyper-Real America and the Hegemonic Role of Celebrity Culture Lisa’s meteoric rise to fame in “The Hobbit” also reveals the hegemonic apparatuses that maintain hyper-real fictions which have buried true femininity under an avalanche of symbolic representations. In this vein, this episode of South Park is a scathing critique of American culture and the hegemonic role of celebrities in the promotion and transmission of simulacra. Although very few people will ever have access to the simulated glitz and glamour of Hollywood that has seduced global society in addition to hiding unheralded economic inequalities of epic proportions, this grandiose vision has become the new opiate of the masses. Ensnared by a hyper-real fantasy that even celebrities themselves are not actually living, the new ‘American dream’ is inseparable from the world of simulation. Representations of female beauty are an important part of this chimerical utopia because they represent a billion-dollar industry that has been exported to even the most remote areas of the planet. Numerous critics including Gyorgy Toth, Jaap Kooijman, Andrew Koch, and Rick Elmore have noted that Baudrillard identifies the United States as “the land of hyperreality […] a country where the simulation of experience in film, television, museums, theme parks, and monuments is irrevocably replacing the ‘real’ and ‘objective’ facts of the past, works of art, human relationships and geographic locals” (Toth 199-200). Expressing his fears that reality is under assault on a global scale from the American, hyper-real dream and the simulated utopias that it represents, Baudrillard boldly asserts, “Il n’y a pas pour moi de vérité de l’Amérique […] Ce qu’il faut, c’est entrer dans la fiction de l’Amérique, dans l’Amérique comme fiction. C’est d’ailleurs à ce titre qu’elle domine le monde. Chaque détail de l’Amérique fût-il insignifiant, l’Amérique est quelque chose qui nous dépasse tous…L’Amérique est un gigantesque hologramme” ‘For me, there is no truth about America […] What we have to do is enter into the fiction of America, into America as fiction. It’s by way of fiction in this respect that it (America) dominates the world. Every detail about America is insignificant, America is something that goes beyond all of us….America is a gigantic hologram’ (Amérique 31-33). In Amérique, Baudrillard argues that this seductive paradise where everyone supposedly has the opportunity to live the simulations that flood their screens, if they obey the summons to consume, has been 99