Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mini Review: "Crash" and Bang and All that Perverse Techno-Violence / Whatnot

"Crash" by J.G. Ballard is a tough slog as reading goes. I remember my first, ultimately aborted attempt at reading the novel. At the time, Ballard's prose was too vivid, too sterile, too graphic for my tastes. I don't know that I was really thinking about it at all even, just my discomfort for its language, which is rife with reference to all sorts of sex and technology and the fusion of the two. For example, engine coolant and seminal fluid are inextricably tied, so as to be one and the same admixture, concoction, what have you.

But I think this imagery speaks to some weird bridging of the primal with the artificial, humanity's most base needs and its (to date) most profound, prolific inventions. "Meaning" in any sense is cast off and completely beside the point. In fact, for as much imagery as abounds in this story I've never felt less inclined to parse meaning, to scratch beneath the surface. "Crash" is violence incarnate. It's the disgusting birth video of future as a tactile entity. It's frustratingly, transparently straightforward in its canonization of simulacra. That's why Jean Baudrillard liked it so much.


  1. Crash was written in the weirdest J.G Ballard phase. It comes from an earlier story he wrote for "The Atrocity Exhibition" (which is one of the weirdest novels I've ever read) and he developed it in a story of its own. He wrote more standard stuff without losing his balls. Try "Kingdom Come" if you get around it.

  2. Indeed, Ben, thanks for the recommendations. I'll have to check more of the weirdest period of a very strange writer. I find I enjoy those the most, certainly as goes Philip K. Dick.