jean baudrillard, sociologist and intellectual sniper, passed away today in paris. he was 77.
his acerbic aphorisms and essays channelled the frustration of 1968 into a powerful critique of consumer culture and media society. for baudrillard, there is no reality, but hyperreality: the media have woven a net of simulacra, images of images of images. seduction by the simulacra implies in turn that the "masses" are not oppressed, but complicit in their insistence on believing the "truth" of what is shown. and pretensions on behalf of the left to any sort of liberation or enlightenment simply play into the game of power.
a nihilist for some, a moralist for others, most probably both alternately or at the same time-- in a world of blandness, his sharp wit and scathing style will certainly be missed.
"Intellectual laziness has become the truly olympic discipline of our times."
jean baudrillard (1929-2007)