Jim Rossignol, Editor of RPS and writer-extraordinare, wrote a fitting farewell tribute to the late JG Ballard on Offworld today. In it, Rossignol eloquently examines Ballard’s effect not only on his own creativity, but on that of contemporary culture and the consumerist society Ballard saw growing around him.
The future would be boring, said Ballard. Our modern age sits at the point at which the march of rationalism and reason has peaked, divorcing us from our early extremism and our innate primitivism, and giving us a bland culture of calm consumer choices and deadened emotions.
Rossignol looks to the ideas Ballard cultivated in his best works, like Super-Cannes, Crash, and The Atrocity Exhibition. Surreal expositions about the dangers of boredom in the human psyche and lengths to which we might go to entertain ourselves.
But now, we have video games to relieve that pressure. Video games represent a
safe excursion to the gladitorial arena … our excursions, or psychological medications, are not literal violence, but the fantasies of exploration and victory that are delivered in gaming
I couldn’t agree more with Rossignol or Ballard. Video games are a safe release for the pressures and stresses of life. They do so in a way that the passive comforts of books and movies can’t.
Aside from touting gaming as part of a healthy mental diet, Rossignol also examines, or rather, dusts off and pumps-up another of Ballard’s bits of wisdom: Culture should not come from a vacuum. Culture, especially those who make it, should feed on anything that moves.
Read the full, wonderfully written piece here.