Friday, March 09, 2007


So, Baudrillard's dead. But don't weep, it's not real.
I read his book Simulacra and Simulation when I was at University. It was on a reading list but I don't think anyone else bothered because, despite a few attempts, I could never find anyone to talk to about what I'd read. Yet I remember getting very excited at the post modern prospect that all of this - life, the universe, everything - is fake, a copy, a shoddy facsimile, that reality is exactly the opposite of what it purports to be, that we can no longer separate an original thought or work from what is derived from same - indeed, according to Jean, the concept of originality and authenticy has ceased to exist. You can pretty quickly tie yourself in knots once you start thinking about all this but, equally, once you do devote a few seconds to thinking those thoughts, you do actually realise, rather quickly, that Baudrillard had a point. I guess what appealed to me about this madcap Frenchman is exactly what Michael Parsons wrote in a Times obit - that Baudrillard, who died on Tuesday, was the Pythonesque stand-up comedian of the philosophical world. Oddly, for a bloke obsessed with media (he had 50 television sets in his apartment so he could watch everything that didn't exist on several channels at once) Baudrillard bashed out his thoughts on a rusty old typewriter. So, he's gone, although, of course, he might never have been here in the first place. His kerazy theories (mainly his claims that the Gulf War and 9/11 never happened - rather, they were just an extension of the work of CNN or a fusion of history and dark fantasy) will live on. Or will they? Either way, he was one hell of a thinker.

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