|Gatsby's Mansion from the 2013 film The Great Gatsby|
|James Dean plays troubled teen Jim Stark|
in Rebel Without a Cause
Of course, this kind of cultural appropriation is not new. Nor indeed, is this phenomenon confined merely to literature. During the 1700s, in an effort to quell Jacobite sentiments in Scotland, the English government banned kilts, bagpipes, and other symbols of Scottish nationalism, then appropriated these symbols to use as the icons of elite British regiments. Thus, the dominant cultural system absorbed counter-cultural symbols and turned them against the counter-culture. Later, in the 1950s and 1960s, wearing blue jeans became a way of "defying the establishment" as James Dean proved in Rebel Without a Cause (1955). It did not take long, however, for blue jeans to transition from icons of counter-culture, to fashion statements. Instead of defying popular culture, blue jeans came to signify an adherence to popular culture. True, jeans are not as complex as a novel, but the pattern is the same.
On a final note, even Baudrillard's indictment of "the simulation" was, itself, absorbed by "the simulation." His essay "Simulacra and Simulations" became the inspiration for the popular Matrix movies, which, for all their good intentions, quickly devolved into mindless action movies. At the end of the day, The Simulation always wins.