The food industry offers further examples of simulation. My favourite example of this is Chicken Tikka.
The perception of Chicken Tikka as foreign and exotic is in fact a misconception, as the dish was actually invented in the UK – most probably Glasgow (BBC, 2009). This was an attempt by Indian restaurants to provide for the milder British taste.
As this is now thought of by most people in the UK as a traditional Indian dish, it becomes more real than the reality of actual traditional Indian dishes – Baudrillard’s ‘hyper-real’.
This trend is apparent across a huge number of food types, as food hyperreal is killing off the real. For example, there was a Jamie Oliver show on channel 4 where he showed children a range of processed (burgers, hot-dogs etc) and unprocessed meats (e.g. a chicken carcass). The children identified the burgers as cow, or sausages as pork – but couldn’t guess correctly what animal the unprocessed chicken was.
This example is again apparent if we consider fruit. As genetic modification of fruit grows, we are beginning to view ‘real’ apples as weird looking or unappetising – instead wanting the ‘perfect’ hyperreal ones. I imagine a few hundred years ago there were no apples that looked like this:
And more that looked like this:
But let us think back further. Are braeburns, for example, real? In fact, they are the product of earlier methods of breeding that entirely changed apples. This is another key point from Baudrillard – sometimes what we think is real, when contrasted with new simulations, are in fact simulations themselves! The new simulations provide an alibi for the previous simulations.
Baudrillard’s example of this is Disney Land. Disney Land acts as an alibi for the rest of America. The rest of America, too, ‘is Disney land’ he says – that is, the rest of America is also a fantasy world detached from the real – there is childish behaviour and fakery all over America. But because Disney Land is another layer on top of this, we start thinking America is the real.
Simulation is not about what signs are real – not about: is Disney Land real? Are apples real? Is Chicken Tikka real? Instead, it is about masking the fact that the real is not real.
I don’t want to get too far into the wider conclusions just yet – I’ll save them for a final post on all this – now with examples from the adult entertainment industry, computer games industry and food industry I have plenty material to draw conclusions from.