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Autopsies on Celebrity and Desire

Author: • Jul 29th, 2007 •

Category: Ballardosphere, celebrity culture, Chris Petit, literature, speed & violence

More on the Dead Di meme, as Chris Petit reviews 12:23 by Eoin McNamee and The Accident Man by Tom Cain:

The princess, as a largely self-invented figure, is a gift to fiction, not least because the reasons she might have been killed are finally less arresting than speculation on her untimely death: the swansong of the last century and a black fairytale for the surveillance age, captured in those final smeared security-camera pictures of her leaving the Ritz, reduced in that moment to a walk-on extra in her own unfolding tragedy.

Much of this is material forecast by JG Ballard’s autopsies on celebrity and desire, The Atrocity Exhibition and Crash. McNamee moves through a similar world of airports and underpasses, alert to emerging technologies, the cadences of modernism and to the terminology of stalking, before arriving at that pathological space where crash and violent death become the fulfilment of collective fantasy, satisfying the need for sacrifice on the altar of celebrity.”

[thanks, Tim]

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