Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Jean Baudrillard: How To Disappear Completely

My life is spent in an alternative media world from most, so I am often unaware of major "events" that normative values say I should be interested in. I must say I have never suffered any harm or diminishing of richness in my life due to this. Quite the contrary.

However, this happy oblivion did mean that I was unaware immediately of Jean Baudrillard's objective disappearance from the world, which newspapers report to have happened March 6, 2007. If the name means nothing to you then read the fine obituary at The Guardian, or those from his colleagues at the International Journal of Baudrillard Studies.

That publication held a conference last September at Swansea University. I was fortunate enough to deliver a paper there, thanks to Alan N. Shapiro.

After Baudrillard's non-appearance at this conference I had assumed already that he was gone. In his absence he left a paper, "On Disappearing", one of the more sublime efforts he has achieved, certainly beyond my meagre attempts at understanding. So thankfully there was an expert panel to provide multiple paths into and out of the text.

I never met Baudrillard and would have had nothing to say if I had. A positive nothing. I know this because I once met JG Ballard, who has had a profound influence on my life. I could not say anything to him that would not have diminished the silence with words. Though, raised always to be polite, I believe I did spoil things with a "thank you".

In this way the quotidian is used to mark time where otherwise rich stillness might fall.

A lack of noise is traditionally seen to signify quietude, quietus and death. But there is nothing richer than a silence which one experiences intently.

Death is a silence in which no-one listens. I strive to not mourn those who have gone to that literal utopia, that ou topos in which silence itself does not exist.

So, thank you Jean Baudrillard, for giving me the perspective from which I may spoil this dark page with words that know their own limitations.

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