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The PDF file you selected should load here if your Web browser has a PDF reader plug-in installed (for example, a recent version of Adobe Acrobat Reader). In this, his most important collection of essays since Le systeme des objets, Jean Baudrillard contemplates Western culture “after the orgy”—the orgy, that is. “Postmodern sociologist-prophet Jean Baudrillard examines the legacy of the s, Working through these contemporary riddles, The Transparency of Evil .

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A n extremely pleasant surprise: I pick on the Baudrillard because, quite simply, it is the most fun. Originally appearing in French init has been reprinted by Verso quite a few times, so while new to me, it is hardly new – but the nature of Baudrillard’s thought is such that it will always have a fresh savour to it, as well as that period savour that comes off when he writes, as trajsparency does here, of La Cicciolina trsnsparency Michael Jackson.

This is Jackson before the child abuse allegations; but these accusations would have come as no surprise to Baudrillard, and are trransparency in the slightest way inconsistent with what he has written in this book. And you suspect the subsequent mass public mawkishness regarding his death cf Jade Goody would have been observed by him with a rueful shrug and the words, “I told you so”.


So while it is almost 20 years old, this is still a very useful handbook for understanding modernity, and tdansparency the ghastliness of contemporary western culture, the banal or vicious circulations of fame, fashion, drugs, terrorism, religious fanaticism or the pathetic denials of politically correct locution: As a matter of fact, we are so terrified of Evil, so greedy for euphemisms to denote the Other, misfortune, or bausrillard irreducibles, that we no longer even refer to a cripple as such.

Much of what he says falls into the category of uncomfortable truth, and if that raises your hackles, wait till you get to what he has to say about Holocaust denial, or our insistence on “rights”. On the collapse of tyranny in eastern Europe and the Soviet Union: It is inevitable, in his position qua French intellectual, that he is going to use a fair amount of language that the Johnsonian English reader is going to find impenetrable or meaningless – he does go on an awful lot about “the Other” in what I presume is a Lacanian sense, and not in the rather bawdier, Carry On English sense of “a bit of the other”.

The Transparency of Evil: Essays on Extreme Phenomena – Jean Baudrillard – Google Books

There is surely a paper to be written on this coincidence of terminology, n’est-ce pas? At times – but baudrilladd at times – you get the feeling he is playing a Gallic version of Mornington Crescent with us; and, incidentally, it is a pity that game was not in his frame of reference, as he would have loved it.


This is not a flaw, or a basis on which to discredit his thought. The Anglo-Saxon reader, unhampered by the strict necessity to read and try to make sense of everything he says even when you feel as if you’re going to get a nosebleed in the attempt “Machines work more quickly because they are unlinked to any otherness” – quoi?

The Transparency of Evil Quotes

There is much to relish here. Baudrillard may use jargon, but he is not in the grip of it; he is original enough to be among the most accessible and useful of theorist-commentators.

And how can you not love a philosopher who is brave and curmudgeonly enough to say: I would suggest that the s be abolished in advance, and that we baudtillard directly from to Is there any good reason why we should have to languish for another decade in this hellish atmosphere? Topics Philosophy books Nicholas Lezard’s choice.