Reflection Topic: Identify and analyze a simulacrum you have encountered over the Internet lately. What are the social and political possibilities of that simulacra?
A reflection paper for my Media Theory class for the lecture on Postmodernity/Posthumanism and the Jean Baudrillard essay “The Precession of Simulacra”
The latest RC Cola ad recently went viral. Now, people are bending themselves trying to understand it. It is clear that as an ad meant to be talked about through content that visually presents signs and significations in absurdist ways, it intends to translate its shock value for metrics. In trying to make sense of this ad, people use their very experiences, as well as their principles and convictions, in interpreting the scene of a bullied teen with four empty glasses attached to his back as he confronts his mother who is eventually forced to reveal her secret of having an RC Cola bottle for a head, which was long hidden in plain sight by her apparently removable human head.
As Baudrillard noted how human experience is a simulation of reality where the simulacrum precedes the original and the distinction between reality and the embodied image disappears, this ad shows how contemporary media really blurs the line in either subtly or potently telling people which products are essential and which products “suddenly become essential” after watching it.
The main concern I have in this ad after analysis is how its different interpretations would still ultimately highlight such an insensitive portrayal of adoption, bullying, and racism in its 1 minute, 37 seconds of running time. It perpetuates an absurdist stereotype of an adopted child – highlighting the stigma and negative perception of not just adoption but also skin color and racial typecasting and suggesting how all these can translate to becoming the target of bullying. There is also the mother image that becomes the product to save the day in a form of refreshment for the family. Some say this ad is senseless and pointless, while others say it’s genius for its mere entertainment value. I would have to say, while this ad is a good material to discuss Baudrillard’s simulacra, it is definitely an insensitive and selfish capitalist material with no concern for social and moral responsibility.
Baudrillard, J. (2012). The precession of simulacra. In M. G. Durham & D. Kellner (Eds.), Media and Cultural Studies: KeyWorks (2nd ed., pp. 453–481). Malden, MA and Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230362406.0010
RC Cola. (2020). Nyahahakbkxjbcjhishdishlsab@!!!! Basta RC Cola! – YouTube. Retrieved 27 November 2020, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXWj5BK7evM