July 29– JEAN BAUDRILLARD
French cultural theorist, media philosopher, art critic.
Our point is not to defend radical thought. Any idea that can be defended is presumed guilty. Any idea that does not sustain its own defense deserves to perish. But we have to fight against charges of unreality, lack of responsibility, nihilism, and despair. Radical thought is never depressing. This would be a complete misunderstanding. A moralizing and ideological critique, obsessed by meaning and content, obsessed by a political finality of discourse, never takes into account writing, the act of writing, the poetic, ironic, and allusive form of language, the play with meaning. This critique does not see that the resolution of meaning is right here, in the form itself, in the formal materiality of an expression. As for meaning, it is always unfortunate. Analysis is by its very definition unfortunate since it is born out of a critical disillusion. But language on the contrary is fortunate (happy), even when it designates a world with no illusion, with no hope. This would in fact be here the very definition of radical thought: an intelligence without hope, but a fortunate and happy form. Critics, always being unfortunate (unhappy) in their nature, choose the realm of ideas as their battle field. They do not see that if discourse always tends to produce meaning, language and writing on the contrary are always a matter of illusion. Language and writing are the living illusion of meaning, the resolution of the misfortune of meaning operated through the good fortune of language. This is the only political or transpolitical act that a writer can accomplish.
From Baudrillard’s article Radical Thought, read more Baudrillard online here.
JULY 29, 2009 HOLIDAYS AND FESTIVALS
*Norway: Oslok, the festival of Saint Olaf the Fat.
*Quimperle, Brittany: Pardon of the Birds. Festive fair and picnic with a bird theme.
ALSO ON JULY 29 IN HISTORY…
1883 — Italian Socialist Party leader turned fascist Benito Mussolini born.
1890 — Dutch crackpot painter Vincent Van Gogh dies, Auvers-sur-Oise, France.
1921 — Adolf Hitler becomes president of the German Nazi Party.
1929 — French media theorist, art critic Jean Baudrillard born, Reims, France.
1979 — New Left theorist, radical hero Herbert Marcuse dies, Sternberg, East Germany.
2006 — French radical historian Pierre Vidal-Naquet dies, Nice, France.
Excerpted from The 2009 Autonomedia Calendar of Jubilee Saints: Radical Heroes for the New Millennium by James Koehnline and the Autonomedia Collective