Evil Derrida and Holy Baudrillard

I once read someone express the opinion that Baudrillard is just “evil Derrida.” I think they’re right – and I think Conor Cunningham is “holy Baudrillard.”

I think the critique of nihilism expressed in Cunningham’s “holocaust/ice cream cone” section [1] is a pretty basic expression of the impetus that I first detected in Derrida and in the differentiation Baudrillard marks between difference and radical alterity.

All of them appear concerned with the possibility of radical alterity – the value (if we can call it value – Baudrillard) or significance (again, Baudrillard shakes his head) or importance (?) of mystery or enigma. This was how I originally understood Derrida – “difference” was sort of a pathway to this element of otherness, because it suggested the trace or slippage that inhered in every structural claim – i.e. that the other exceeded the structural calculations of the self. The term “condition of possibility” resonates here – as if nothing would matter if there wasn’t something more. I think that basic claim appears in Derrida (“the trace” or “the supplement” as only possible foundation to meaning), in Baudrillard (radical alterity/”reversibility”/”seduction”?? – as the sort of radical position), and in Cunningham (God/transcendence as ‘the meaning of it all’). This ethical concept provides the ultimate impact to their arguments.

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