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Brower, B. (2002). Story of the Eye: Fantasy of the Orgy and Its Limit. Am. Imago, 59(1):73-89.

(2002). American Imago, 59(1):73-89

Story of the Eye: Fantasy of the Orgy and Its Limit

Brady Brower

Sociologist Jean Baudrillard, in a characteristically provocative moment, has imagined the contemporary world as a “utopia realized,” the problematic condition of living and desiring in the wake of total liberation, in a time “after the orgy”:

The orgy in question is the moment when modernity exploded on us, the moment of liberation in every sphere. Political liberation, sexual liberation, liberation of the forces of production, liberation of the forces of destruction, women's liberation, children's liberation, liberation of unconscious drives, liberation of art. … This was a total orgy—an orgy of the real, the rational, the sexual, of criticism as of anti-criticism, of development as a crisis of development. … Now everything has been liberated, the chips are down, and we find ourselves faced collectively with the big question: WHAT DO WE DO NOW THAT THE ORGY IS OVER? Now all we can do is simulate the orgy, simulate liberation. (1993, 3)

While one need not accept Baudrillard's commentary as an objective description of the present, and surely there are those who would take issue with its presumptuousness, one should consider the merit of an approach that holds liberation to its promise and follows it through to its fatal conclusion.

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