Popular Culture Review Vol. 28, No. 2, Summer 2017 - Page 98

is no real world or referent” (69). The fact that Butters does not question the authenticity of an image depicting a girl that no one initially considers to be attractive gives credence to Baudrillard’s assertion that the vast majority of our experiences are filtered and deliberately packaged for our consumption through a given screen (i.e. TV, tablet, computer, smart phone). Given the ubiquity of the simulacra that constantly bombard the modern subject at home, work, in shopping centers, and everywhere that we go, Baudrillard posits that our “capacity for critical reflection” has been eroded (Norris n.p.). Without a momentary reprieve from the onslaught of images that compel us to consume our way to happiness and prosperity, the philosopher maintains that we are witnessing what he calls the ‘murder of the real’ and the ‘death of meaning.’ For Baudrillard, symbolic representations of the female body that have no significance whatsoever outside of a code generated by pre-packaged models whose sole purpose is to increase revenue for transnational entities are simply part of the all-encompassing “acute crisis of simulation” which has destroyed everything in its path (Baudrillard Seduction 48). 1 Enticing images, which intentionally remove any blemishes or imperfections that a woman might have according to a certain ideal of feminine beauty, have substituted themselves for actual sexuality. Due to the collapse of the real buried deep beneath the surface of thick layers of hyper-real fiction, Baudrillard contends that women are judged by empty signs of sensuality and physical beauty predicated upon a fantasy structure portraying a sexual utopia that has never truly existed at all. IV. Manifestations of Hyper-Reality in “The Hobbit” and the Dire Repercussions of the Pervasive Realm of Simulacra In “The Hobbit,” it is only when Lisa begins to display signs of beauty transmitted via computer-generated imagery (CGI) and social networking that she suddenly becomes the object of every schoolboy’s desire. The other girls at school realize that they will never be able to measure up to the grandiose simulations of female beauty that inundate billions of screens across the globe unless they reduce their essence to a meani ́ͥݡ́䁕፡)́ѡɕѡȁѡ́ɕͽѡɸѡȁ́ɕ䁅Ʌѡɕ͕()%ͥȁٕ Ցɥɐչ́ɹɅ䁅̃qЁѡȁͥѡ͕Յt(MՍѥ̤ Ցɥɓéͽɹ́ɕѕѼѡȵɕɔɹɅɅ͍ѡ)Ʌѥхѥ́ѡ́Ց丁ȁѕѥ͍ͥѡɽɹɅ䁥ѡ͕ѥ)ȵɕɽѥх̰͕ͥ-IɐqQMɕMɕQ͕MMՍѥMձѥt)Q)ɹAձȁ ձɔ̤ĴĸɅͱѥ́ɔ䁽ݸչ́ѡݥ͔ѕ(