… and death

Emile sent me possibly the most perfect condolences card after I told him about Jean Baudrillard dying yesterday. It made me laugh, it seems so perfect.

CTheory carried an obituary for him today also, I’d forgotten he was on their editorial board along with Paul Virilio, who I guess I’m going to have to start reading again.

I read Symbolic Exchange and Death until I wore out two copies, and I mean I was embarrassed about how poorly I treated these books, soaked in food and drink, shoved in bags and satchels until dog-eared and furry soft, my take-everywhere always-ready-for-a-good-time book, slept with and fell asleep in, I have had a love affair I feel guilty about only because it has never been boring. So here is, amongst pages I know so well I can close my eyes and see the crenelated outlines of paragraphs, a quote that was the heart of hell.

Like so many others, the mad, children and the old, have only become ‘categories’ under the sign of the successive segregations that have marked the development of culture. The poor, the under-developed, those with sub-normal IQs, perverts, transsexuals, intellectuals and women all form the basis of an increasingly racist definition of the ‘normal human’. It is not normal to be dead.

— Jean Baudrillard – Symbolic Exchange and Death

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The online journal ctheory.net has just published Life in the Wires: the Ctheory Reader, which is a great additiona to the essays and articles available on their site.

For those of us who like our media theory to have poetic and dramatic flair, the online journal CTheory provides regular satisfaction. In case you missed some of the recent (or older) essays, or just want them all together in a more complete context, the editorial team of Arthur and Marilouise Kroker have brought together a collection of forty-five CTheory texts into one volume. Titled ‘Life in the Wires,’ the reader explores music, politics, urban space, gender, art and other aspects of contemporary, technologically saturated life. ‘Life in the Wires’ supplies a range of critically ambivalent feelings about our electrified and networked condition, from Paul Miller’s (DJ Spooky) reflections on ‘the cinematic image’ to a conversation with (media theorist) Manuel De Landa on ‘1000 years of war.’ And like any media theory book worth its weight in wires, the CTheory Reader has a companion website with supplementary materials and a series of streamed d events and seminars with many of the journal’s regular contributors and editors.