Heroin Chic and the Politics of Seduction

  • Henry A. Giroux


In the postmodern world described by philosopher Jean Baudrillard daily life consists of an endless series of simulations that lack any concrete referents. Disneyland becomes a model for a sanitized society purged of politics, a society in which representations become increasingly homogenized and cease to be read critically as part of a broader strategy of understanding, struggle, and intervention.1 In this mediascape, images bombard the senses, identities become transparent and one-dimensional, space and time collapse and displace traditional understandings of place and history, and concrete reality slips into a virtual society where “there is more and more information, and less and less meaning.”2


Young People Human Suffering Fashion Industry Heroin Addiction Fashion Magazine 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    This theme is taken up brilliantly in Michael Sorkin, “See You in Disneyland,” in Michael Sorkin, ed., Variations on a Theme Park (New York: The Noon Day Press, 1992), pp. 205–232.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation (Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 1994), p. 87.Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    I take this issue up in detail in Henry A. Giroux, Disturbing Pleasures (New York: Routledge, 1994). The term “cartoon utopia” is from Michael Sorkin, Variations on a Theme Park, p. 232.Google Scholar
  4. 9.
    Carol Becker, “The Art of Testimony,” Sculpture 16:3 (March 1997), p. 28.Google Scholar
  5. 10.
    Richard Sennett, “The Social Body,” Transition 71 (1997), p. 90.Google Scholar
  6. 12.
    For a personal narrative of heroin use among trendy intellectuals, see Ann M. “Listening to Heroin,” The Village Voice, April 23, 1994, pp. 25–30; Mark Ehrman, “Heroin Chic,” Playboy 42:5 (May 1995), pp. 66–68, 144–147.Google Scholar
  7. 15.
    I take up this issue in Henry A. Giroux, Fugitive Cultures: Race, Violence, and Youth (New York: Routledge, 1996).Google Scholar
  8. 27.
    See Richard Harvey Brown, “Realism and Power in Aesthetic Representation,” in Richard Brown, ed., Postmodern Representations (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995), pp. 134–167.Google Scholar
  9. 29.
    I am drawing in this case on the work of Zygmunt Bauman, Life in Fragments (Cambridge: Basil Blackwell, 1995), especially “Violence and Postmodernism,” pp. 139–162.Google Scholar
  10. 30.
    Geoffrey Hartman, “Public Memory and Its Discontents,” Raritan 8:4 (Spring 1994), p. 28.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Henry A. Giroux 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henry A. Giroux

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations