Sunday, April 26, 2009

JG Ballard 1930-2009

Much comment has been occasioned on the death of JG Ballard.

The following Ballard quote struck MC as interesting:

"We live in a world ruled by fictions of every kind — mass-merchandizing, advertising, politics conducted as a branch of advertising, the instant translation of science and technology into popular imagery, the increasing blurring and intermingling of identities within the realm of consumer goods, the pre-empting of any original imaginative response to experience by the television screen. We live inside an enormous novel. For the writer in particular it is less and less necessary for him to invent the fictional content of his novel. The fiction is already there. The writer’s task is to invent the reality."

This, we think, could only be said by a science fiction writer, which Ballard was but which he somehow managed to escape the confines of and move into better company. His name, hideously, is now an adjective "resembling or suggestive of the conditions described in J. G. Ballard's novels and stories, especially dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments."

Haven't we seen this movie? Ballard died about two years after being diagnosed with prostate cancer and is now being feted in death as somehow making a genuine contribution to culture.

He was put in the same category as William S. Burroughs, who at least one half of MC considers to be genuinely evil. He also was the author of "Crash" which the same one half of MC had the misfortune of viewing, in all places, in Istanbul with Turkish subtitles (plot=people have erotic encounters in and around crashes!). The director was David Cronenberg who made the film "Naked Lunch," from the Burroughs signature novel. Sickness attracts sickness.

Still, MC refers readers to Jorge Luis Borges who could write fiction, who was far too familiar with reality (no need to make up failing eyesight and blindness, thanks!) to pretend it needed to be invented and who could actually write.

Click on the title of this post to read the Wiki entry (sorry) on Borges. It will at least get you started.

Correction: Ballard did not commit suicide and references in the post above to such have been deleted. MC regrets the error and thanks attentive readers for bringing this to their attention.