Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Baudrillard is Dead

I can think of a number of cheap quips - but the Guardian's obit does it all anyway.

I think the obituary is quite fair - after the initial cheap shots, anyway. For what it's worth I think that Baudrillard's early work is really good, although I'm not sure if I'm convinced by it. The idea that under advanced consumer capitalism commodities must possess 'symbolic value' in addition to use and exchange values seems to have quite a lot of force to it. Baudrillard got there long before Naomi Klein.

I'm with Christopher Norris, though, on the later stuff - his famous declaration that the first Gulf War 'never happened' was, I think, politically and morally irresponsible. This isn't to say that Baudrillard doesn't make some good points in that infamous work - clearly, (post)modern* warfare is, in many ways, media spectacle. Doesn't mean that there aren't real people really being pulverised and eviscerated in the explosions shown on our TV screens, however.

*Argghhh, dirty!Must wash hands.

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