Burning Cars

Jean Baudrillard can always be relied on to give an interesting analysis of current events and this article from New Left Review offers a warning that all is not well in Europe. It discusses the riots in France in autumn 2005 and argues that not only is French society is collapsing, but “not just theirs … [it is] the whole Western model which is disintegrating; and not just under external assault—acts of terrorism, Africans storming the barbed wire at Melilla—but also from within.” Budrillard’s analysis concludes that the Western model only survives because people aspire to it; narcissistic modern Western societies, he believes are suffering a crisis of self esteem. And those aspirations are in decline: people from outside no longer want to be “mothered” by the West. Baudrillard ends with an attaack on intellectuals like himself: “Of course, nothing will prevent our enlightened politicians and intellectuals from considering the autumn riots as minor incidents on the road to a democratic reconciliation of all cultures. Everything indicates that on the contrary, they are successive phases of a revolt whose end is not in sight.”