by Ian Monroe
First, Robert Anton Wilson dies on January 11th. That was bad enough. But now, Jean Baudrillard has undertaken the ultimate deconstruction, one that ultimately, we all must face.
From the Independent today:
Jean Baudrillard, philosopher, social theorist and photographer: born Reims, France 29 July 1929; twice married (two children); died Paris 6 March 2007.
Jean Baudrillard, the French writer of brilliantly discomfiting books such as Simulacres et Simulation (1981, translated into English as Simulacra and Simulation, 1994), in his many publications challenged and extended the fissures, contradictions, extremes and ironies in culture and society. He dies at a time when his work is perhaps at its least fashionable, but most important.
Born in the year of the Great Depression - or what he saw as the "first great crash in values" - Baudrillard devoted his work to our present, chronic collapse, which for him was more a problem of a dramatic but unnoticed transformation in our relationship to a "new global order", a world in which the cult of production - of meaning and reality more than economic wealth or consumer objects - had saturated all aspects of life. Baudrillard's version of our universe is one where codes and signs coercively produce and designate our societies and cultures as simulations that produce our versions of reality.