Sunday, April 19, 2009

Damnit, J.G. Ballard died today

One of my favorite authors. Although I haven't read lots of his books the ones I have read have had a lasting impression on me; I'm thinking of the collection of short stories, Rushing to Paradise, and High-Rise. Will have to get to "The Day of Creation" and "Crash". The short stories are awe inspiring. High-Rise is a wonderful comment on modernistic society and the idea of artificially constructed, self contained, living spaces, like a high rise that has a grocery store, pool, shops, etc.. in it. Rushing to Paradise is a funny jab at environmentalism where a disgraced doctor creates a media spectacle about saving a bird in the south pacific and more. It's something that I appreciate in a sort of collegial way; if we can't laugh at ourselves....

When I first started reading J.G. Ballard, when I found his short stories, I was seriously reading Baudrillard at the same time. This produced very interesting cross over ideas since Ballard focusses on artificiality, the media, and the follies of modernistic society while Baudrillard criticizes the media and capitalism in general as creating a simulacra of real life that we all participate in, something totally mediated while we're exploited behind our backs. The failure of the modern western utopia to manifest itself, instead creating a false, oppressive, behemoth. Ballard and Baudrillard have some things in common.

He'll be missed, one of the few truly righteous writers out there who stuck it to the man in all the right places.

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