All the way back in 1994, Baudrillard could see that the emerging culture after the revolutionary “orgy” of the 1960s was one increasingly free of any grounding in material causality, constraint, or telos. He characterises art, sexuality and finance alike in these terms, sketching how each of these domains has become a kind of metastasising domain that refers only to itself:
“Ours is a society founded on proliferation, on growth which continues even though it cannot be measured against any clear goals […] There is no better analogy here than the metastatic process in cancer: a loss of the body’s organic ground rules such that a given group of cells is able to deploy its incoercible and murderous vitality, to defy genetic programming and to proliferate endlessly.”
In Baudrillard’s view, stagnation is also endless, directionless self-replication: “where there is stasis, there is metastasis”. He could be writing today, about the endless recycling that now dominates the culture industries — a model of production that realises, at scale, what that since-vanished visionary of fandom-first culture recycling envisaged back in my noughties wilderness years.