Geez, what kind of an intellectual am I? I missed this one. This is what happens when I don't stay in touch with my friends in other fields -- or when they don't write me, or when I am too swamped with reading students' work (first things first, after all) to read the newspapers. But you'd think that NPR or the BBC or some online news source would have told me.
Anyway: Jean Baudrillard died. Back in early March. I found out here c/o Beyond Rivalry, a blogger I just discovered and with whom I seem to share some interests; she lists simple living, spirituality, theology, politics, crime fiction,the arts, and several other areas as her interests, and I note that she talks about a broad array of topics from "House" (the TV series) to Jerry Falwell to the Christian Peacemaker Teams to journalists -- e.g. Jill Carroll, the former hostage and writer for the Christian Science Monitor, who has recently returned to the Middle East.
And how did I find Beyond Rivalry? Because I was Googling for photos of Thomas Merton and the first one that popped up was this rather sexy one from her blog. Never seen this one before, and I've seen a lot of Merton pictures.
As for Baudrillard, he was one of those Important People I've Hardly Read But Several of My Friends Really Like. At the end of doctoral work one gets wrapped up in the authors one needs for one's dissertation, and at the beginning of a teaching job one gets wrapped up in the material one is teaching. Thus the Baudrillard gap. He probably falls into the hard to read category, but I'll try him in French as well as English and see whether they've mucked him up in translation. But first I'll do the 101 on those nice links Beyond Rivalry provides.
May Jean Baudrillard rest in peace and have great conversations in heaven. (Sure, at the same time. You think these things are impossible?)