In this book, perhaps the most cogent expression of his mature thought, Jean Baudrillard turns detective in order to investigate a crime which he hopes may yet be solved: the "murder" of reality. To solve the crime would be to unravel the social and technological processes by which is becoming a thing of (empty) transparency and visibility, a place where reality, swamped by the "real time" of the news media, has quite simply vanished. But Baudrillard is not merely intending to lament the disappearance of the real, an occurrence he recently described as "the most important event of modern history," nor even to meditate upon the paradoxes of reality and illusion, truth and its masks. The Perfect Crime is also the work of a great moraliste: a penetrating examination of vital aspects of the social, political and cultural life of the "advanced democracies" in the (very) late twentieth century.
However, whether stripping away the layers of hypocrisy which surround our smug perceptions of the former Yugoslavia, or deploring the New European Order characterized by 'white fundamentalism, protectionism, discrimination and control', the moraliste is also the deft and disturbing social theorist. Where critics like McLuhan once exposed the alienating consequences of "the medium," Baudrillard lays bare the depredatory effects of an oppressive transparency on our social lives, of a relentless positivity on our critical faculties, and of a withering 'high definition' on our very sense of reality.
Jean Baudrillard was born in 1929 and now lives in Paris. Among his works translated into English are Seduction, In the Shadow of the Silent Majorities, Simulations and Simulacra, Fatal Strategies and, from Verso, America, Cool Memories, The Transparency of Evil and The System of Objects.