File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0112, message 11

Date: Tue, 04 Dec 2001 22:11:30 -0600
Subject: Re: the state and violence

steve.devos wrote:

> I can feel Lyotard's ghostly smile and I am sorry that the 'deep dark
> depression' is still hanging around you...


The deep dark feeling I was trying to describe wasn't depression.

I admit Baudrillard usually leaves me cold. Most of his insights come
across as a kind of bargain basement McLuhan. However, his recent piece
on 911 seems haunting to me.

The root of the feeling Baudrillard seems to express is this. As you
point out, the state (which includes the entire apparatus of late night
capitalism) is both violent and oppressive. At the end of the cold war,
America paradoxically found itself in a state of crisis and needed to
assert itself in novel ways to maintain its hegemony. As a result, its
power began to appear almost invincible, despite the forces who
contested the top-down piss-on-the-poor globalism that only served to
maintain the interests of the wealthy elites.

The secret unconscious Freudian feeling many experienced with the
collapse of the World Trade Center, besides the obvious conscious
horror, was the hidden sense of surprize that American capitalism,
imperialism, militarism remained vulnerable. Despite our latent fears,
history had not ended after all. Another world was still possible.

Which again for the umpteenth time is not to defend the actions of what
those terrorists did.  Their motivations are much closer to those of
Ashcroft and Sharon than they are to mine.  

History ocurred in a way that was almost dreamlike and simultaneously a
all-too-real catastrope - the innocents who died were certain made of
flesh and blood, their tragedy remains inscribed in us. 

What Bauddrillard evokes in his essay is exactly this strange, uncanny
ambivalent feeling which many of us felt, but could not really express
in the midst of the retribalization and suspicion that occurred among

Does this make my point any clearer? Certainly, our anxieties about the
state and violence found a strange echo in 911.


p.s. - Is it ironic, or merely convenient, that exactly when the
nomadism of which you speak is on the rise, terrorism is used as an
excuse to combat it?  Only the corporation is permitted to become
nomadic under the law of capitalism because only the corporation and the
fetus are considered real. The multitude remains an interloper which
must be utilized before it is exterminated like vermin.

Sharon aping Bush and 911 disgusts me to no end. Why can't he be tried
by a military tribunal for his war crimes?


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