Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Another French philosopher bites the dust

First Jacques Derrida, now Jean Baudrillard, the man who declared that the Gulf War didn't exist (he meant it did, of course, but not in the way that we really thought it presented by the media). He coined the idea that LA is the ultimate post-modern City and that much modern day life is a simulacrum - or simulacra - of itself (does that include dying?.
When I saw that he'd snuffed it today I felt a mild sadness, as I did study the guy a lot at University (but obviously not a huge swell of emotion - steady on there). I seem to remember a website that automatically generated random Baudrillard quotes for any day-to-day situations, which is pretty hilarious if you're au fait with his difficult work. If you're not, erm, I suppose you would fail to see why that's so funny. He's the epitome - or at least was - of the existential French philosopher with a metaphysical comment about everything, delivered with the usual gravitas, even if it's as mundane as mowing the lawn.
Some of his (hilariously titled) books in that Guardian article have a striking resemblance to Michel Hollebecq - perhaps it is he, rather than some French academic, who will be the next globe-trotting Gallic thinker? Given how frequently hilarious his books are, I hope so. In any case, this blog entry, also in the Guardian, is a fitting comment on JB. I didn't know that he wore a silver lamé suit onstage at Las Vegas while reading his poetry. Respect to the man. Can you imagine Richard Dawkins doing the same? I mean, you have to hand it to French philosophers, they had panache.

1 comment:

Tuppence said...

My favourite existential French philosopher is Jacques Liverot:

Some highlights:

If we could see politics what would it look like? A cube... but with all its corners on the inside.

An optimist sees half a pint of milk. He says 'It is half full'. A pessimist says 'It is half empty'. I see half a pint of milk, I say 'It is sour'.

"When I drive my car, I am not driving. I am participating in a conspiracy called 'traffic'. I will walk..."