[-empyre-] Baudrillard and the future of theory

Dear -empyreans--

The passing of the great French philosopher and theorist, Jean Baudrillard, on Tuesday, brings us into a moment of memorial and reflection.

énoncer (FR): to convey 'in a particular manner of speaking or presentation,' quite similar to English 'enuciation,' perhaps with more subtle depth..

With the passing of Baudrillard, it seems timely and important to reflect on how philosophy matters, how it is énoncé, in our lives.

Two -empyre- avid readers and writers have asked to take up a discussion in this space, this month -- Nicholas Ruiz will be helping me with
moderating the conversation, and Aliette Certhoux will bring her unique perspective from the world of Paris and critical theory, mostly in French, as she
explains, in hommage to Baudrillard. Aliette has also invited her friend, author McKenzie Wark, whose Hacker Manifesto she has just published in French with Éditions Critical Secret.

Posts in French and English are especially welcome.

my best to all, and I look forward to reading.


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From the Associated Press.....

French philosopher Jean Baudrillard dies
The Associated Press
March 6, 2007

PARIS: Jean Baudrillard, a French philosopher and social theorist known for
his provocative commentaries on consumerism, excess and what he said was the
disappearance of reality, died Tuesday, his publishing house said. He was

Baudrillard died at his home in Paris after a long illness, said Michel
Delorme, of the Galilee publishing house.

The two men had worked together since 1977, when "Oublier Foucault" (Forget
Foucault) was published, one of about 30 books by Baudrillard, Delorme said
by telephone.

Among his last published books was "Cool Memories V," in 2005.

Baudrillard, a sociologist by training, is perhaps best known for his
concepts of "hyperreality" and "simulation."

Baudrillard advocated the idea that spectacle is crucial in creating our
view of events — what he termed "hyperreality." Things do not happen if they
are not seen to happen.

He gained fame, and notoriety, in the English-speaking world for his 1991
book "The Gulf War Did Not Take Place." In the first Gulf War, he claimed,
nothing was as it appeared.

The public's — and even the military's — view of the conflict came largely
through television images; Saddam Hussein was not defeated; the U.S.-led
coalition scarcely battled the Iraqi military and did not really win, since
little was changed politically in Iraq after all the carnage. All the sound
and fury signified little, he argued.

The Sept. 11 attacks, in contrast, were the hyper-real event par excellence
— a fusion of history, symbolism and dark fantasy, "the mother of all

His views on the attacks sparked controversy. While terrorists had committed
the atrocity, he wrote, "It is we who have wanted it. . . . Terrorism is
immoral, and it responds to a globalization that is itself immoral."

Although many Americans were puzzled by his views, Baudrillard was a
tireless enthusiast for the United States — though he once called it "the
only remaining primitive society."

"Santa Barbara is a paradise; Disneyland is a paradise; the U.S. is a
paradise," he wrote. "Paradise is just paradise. Mournful, monotonous, and
superficial though it may be, it is paradise. There is no other."

French Education Minister Gilles de Robien said "We lose a great creator."

"Jean Baudrillard was one of the great figures of French sociological

Born west of Paris in Reims on June 20, 1929, Baudrillard, the son of civil
servants, began a long teaching career instructing high school students in
German. After receiving a doctorate in sociology, he taught at the
University of Paris in Nanterre.

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