What bridges this chasm, at least to some extent, is the book’s open and generous sensibility. Boon is determined to be inclusive and explanatory, rather than exclusive and accusatory. He also has a personal interest in Buddhism, and this perspective informs his writing, lending alternative interpretations of copia formed by non-Western philosophies and traditions. In his introduction, he draws a comparison between theme parks and Tibetan monasteries, noting that “just as a Disney theme park is an iteration of a framework, albeit one with a not particularly stellar meaning, the Tibetan monasteries are also ‘hard copies’ of a mental framework.” As different as they are, Space Mountain and Mount Meru are both emblematic to Boon of the mimetic frameworks that exist all around, whether we acknowledge them or not. “What if copying,” he asks, “rather than being an aberration or a mistake or a crime, is a fundamental condition or requirement for anything, human or not, to exist at all?”
Those that find resonance in the above question (or this one: “If it looks like a Louis Vuitton bag, is it a Louis Vuitton bag?”) will probably relish In Praise of Copying. Readers with interest in topics like epistemology or translation will likewise encounter plenty of tasty tidbits for the nibbling. The book won’t float everyone’s boat. As someone who enjoys theory but hasn’t read Baudrillard in a while, I did find parts of it rather self-referential. Overall, though, Boon has found a compelling way to explore and contextualize an often tetchy topic.
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