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There were 114 results from your search for keyword(s): 'Simulacra/Illusion'.
- "I ask," I continue, "only because if you get lost it becomes our task here to find you and bring you back to civilization." We pause, savoring from our different positions the ironies of the word.
"Yes, of course," he says. "But that is unlikely. We are fortunate to have the excellent maps of the region provided by yourself."
"Those maps are based on little but hearsay, Colonel. I have patched them together from travelers' accounts over a period of ten or twenty years. I have never set foot myself where you plan to go. I am simply warning you."
Source: Waiting for the Barbarians, p. 12
- "You have been treasonously consorting with the enemy," he says.
So it is out. "Treasonously consorting": a phrase out of a book.
"We are at peace here," I say, "we have no enemies." There is silence. "Unless I make a mistake," I say. "Unless we are the enemy."
Source: Waiting for the Barbarians, p. 77
- "You know, during those interviews I had an idea: one could prepare them in advance, for radio and television, as a sort of stockpile: on amalgamation, wages, cultural affairs, on domestic and foreign policy, on security matters. One could even introduce slight variations to provide a semblance of actuality...it's possible that the taped word sounds more alive than the live word -- Veronica once tried to explain to me that artificial birds, mechanical ones, can walk more naturally than live birds -- I keep thinking about that -- in the same way a sound or video tape might sound much more spontaneous than a live interview -- what they call live is deader than dead. As dead as the little paper that died under my hands -- and proliferates..."
Source: The Safety Net, p. 226-227
- 'I wonder,' said Stewart, 'why there's been so little in the press about Nathan Fox. I only heard on the radio that he'd disappeared suddenly from your house. And they don't include him in the gang. Maybe they couldn't find a photograph of him. A photo makes a gangster real.'
Source: The Only Problem, p. 431
- 'Simulacrum' must be understood here in its strong sense: all the formal traits of a truth are at work in the simulacrum. Not only a universal nomination of the event, inducing the power of a radical break, but also the 'obligation' of a fidelity, and the promotion of a simulacrum of the subject, erected -- without the advent of any Immortal -- above the human animality of the others, of those who are arbitrarily declared not to belong to the communitarian substance whose promotion and domination the simulacrum-event is designed to assure.
Source: Ethics, p. 74
- 'To win the energies of intoxication for the revolution' -- in other words, poetic politics? 'We have tried that beverage. Anything, rather than that!' Well, it will interest you all the more how much an excursion into poetry clarifies things. For what is the programme of the bourgeois parties? A bad poem on springtime, filled to bursting with metaphors. The socialist sees that 'finer future of our children and grandchildren' in a condition in which all act 'as if they were angels', and everyone has as much 'as if he were rich', and everyone lives 'as if he were free'. Of angels, wealth, freedom, not a trace. These are mere images. And the stock imagery of these poets of the social-democratic associations? Their gradus ad parnassum? Optimism...Surrealism has come ever closer to the Communist answer. And that means pessimism all along the line. Absolutely.
Source: Surrealism: the Last Snapshot of the European Intelligentsia, p. 55
- A dizzying hypothesis: rationality, culminating in technical virtuality, might be the last of the ruses of unreason, of that will to illusion of which, as Nietzsche says, the will to truth is merely a derivative and an avatar.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 5
- Ada Colau, mayor of Barcelona, had a great quote about the time she went before the Spanish Parliament and pointed to the banker who spoke right before she did, and called him a criminal who should be treated as such. Amy Goodman asked her about that moment, that decision, and Colau says: "When I encountered this banker who denied the reality and said that there were no problems in Spain, when there were thousands of families in a dire situation, the least I could do was to denounce these lies and talk to them about what was happening in reality. I think what surprised people more and what generated a media phenomenon after this appearance in the parliament was that someone was talking about reality inside Parliament because, sadly, this was something that had not happened in a long time."
Note this translation is from the audio translation not the text transcript, which I think gets it wrong. The audio version is better: "talking about reality inside Parliament" as opposed to "telling the truth in Parliament". Around minute 44:00 in this video:
Source: Random Thoughts, p.
- All of this [multiple interpretation] is simultaneously true. It is the secret of a discourse that is no longer simply ambiguous, as political discourses can be, but that conveys the impossibility of a determined position of power, the impossibility of a determined discursive position. And this logic is neither that of one party nor of another. It traverses all discourses without them wanting it to.
Who will unravel this imbroglio? The Gordian knot can at least be cut. The Möbius strip, if one divides it, results in a supplementary spiral without the reversibility of surfaces being resolved (here the reversible continuity of hypotheses). Hell of simulation, which is no longer one of torture, but of the subtle, maleficent, elusive twisting of meaning -- where even the condemned at Burgos are still a gift from Franco to Western democracy, which seizes the occasion to regenerate its own flagging humanism and whose indignant protest in turn consolidates Franco's regime by uniting the Spanish masses against this foreign intervention? Where is the truth of all that, when such collusions admirably knot themselves together without the knowledge of their authors?
Source: Simulacra and Simulation, p. 17-18
- Already, in moving from the silents to the talkies, then to colour and 3-D and the current range of special effects, the cinematographic illusion faded as the technical prowess increased. No empty space any more, no ellipsis, no silence. The more we move towards that perfect definition, that useless perfection, the more the power of the illusion is lost.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 32
- Although Stone [in Damascus Gate] analyzes the psychology of the true believer, he seems much less interested in those traditional subjects of the realistic novel, middle-class people who live in families and go to work. As a result, the novel's politics are also skewed toward extremism...Stone's Israel itself seems more of an idea, or a system, than a country where real people live.
This derealization of so much of Israel makes it rather too easy for the novel to espouse a conspiratorial view of Israeli politics. In The Mandelbaum Gate, the discovery of a spy is still a major plot development; our inability, in Operation Shylock, to be sure of having penetrated the spy's last disguise, is still a source of mystery. But Damascus Gate starts out with the assumption that Mossad routinely encourages Palestinian terrorist factions; even Hamas is an Israeli operation that got out of control. It is an easy assumption that "Palestinians" beating up informers are really Israeli soldiers beating up their more effective opponents, or that the government encourages gunrunning and drug running in the Occupied Territories. On the political plane, distinctions between legitimate and illegitimate force are not just obscured -- they have ceased to exist. The novel suggests that believing in an apocalyptic cult or a revolutionary underground is quite understandable but hardly imagines anyone delusional enough to take electoral politics seriously.
Having lived with Watergate, the Iran-Contra scandal, and Monica Lewinsky, a contemporary American can hardly find this cynicism strange...
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 135
- Amplanger senior had long been representing Bleibl's interests. He was no longer himself, he was merely the image of himself: irreplaceable as an image; had allowed himself to be deceived by an ever-increasing income, by a proliferating fortune -- there must be something very mysterious in Blurtmehl's hands for him to arrive at such insights under those hands, whereas Grebnitzer, even during long sessions of questioning, never penetrated to the heart of the problem. After all, there was nothing organic to discover, he had never had a heart attack, even his blood count was excellent -- ad yet there was that lead, that chill, in his limbs. Sometimes he actually feared a total paralysis when seated there t his desk powerless "at the power center, at the very heart of capitalism," while his fortune proliferated and he was anxiously concerned not to let a single cigarette "go to waste."
Source: The Safety Net, p. 44
- An act of terrorism in the name of government; a work of destruction so expressive it is incomprehensible; an event so strategic that it appears to be insane. It is a matter of a phantom event. This paradoxical state of affairs is precisely what Privy Councillor Wurmt, the Chancelier d'Ambassade at the London embassy of a 'great power', invokes as a means of sorting out the affairs of state within England in his meeting with Adolf Verloc, agent provocateur: 'What is required at present is not writing, but the bringing to light of a distinct, a significant fact', in order to exacerbate national 'unrest'. The central terrorist action of [Joseph Conrad's] The Secret Agent (1907), based on the actual self-detonation of the Anarchist Martial Bourdin in Greenwich in 1894, is thus prefigured as state 'propagande par le fait' -- 'propaganda by deed', as it is translated in English, though it could equally be rendered 'propaganda by fact'. The term was officially introduced in 1876 at the Anarchist International to inaugurate a policy of political violence that would assert a radical materiality for overturning metaphysics and the state in one blow. Yet in The Secret Agent it is to be put to wholly different ends. Provocation is necessary, Verloc is told by Wurmt, because of the 'general leniency of the judicial procedure' in Britain, a point Mr Vladimir, the First Secretary of the embassy, reiterates: 'This country is absurd with its regard for individual liberty'.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 34
- Are not our powers of speech essentially responsible for the mediocrity of our universe?...[A]ll these worn-out truisms...have kept us so firmly planted in our run-of-the-mill world. It is they that have given us this taste for money, these crippling fears, this "love of country," this disgust for our destiny. I do not think it is too late to reexamine the deceptions that are part and parcel of the words we have so far misused. What keeps me from scrambling the order of words, thereby making an attempt on the sham life of things? Language can and must be set free from its bondage. No more descriptions from nature, no more studies of manners and morals. Let there be silence so that I might tread where no man has ever trodden, silence! -- After you, my fair language.
Source: Introduction to the Discourse on the Paucity of Reality, p. 141
- Art today is simply this paradoxical confusion of the two [art and reality], and the aesthetic intoxication which ensues. Similarly, information is simply the paradoxical confusion of the event and the medium, and the political uncertainty which ensues. So, we have all become ready-mades...And just as Duchamp's acting-out opens on to the (generalized) zero degree of aesthetics, where any old item of rubbish can be taken as a work of art (which also means that any old work of art can be taken for rubbish), so this media acting-out opens on to a generalized virtuality which puts an end to the real by its promotion of every single instant.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 31
- As I drew near the fire the woman stopped stirring the pot and rose to greet me. When we faced each other I felt my heart give a convulsive leap and stop. The woman who stood before me was myself...
"[W]ould you like me to decide which of us is I?" she asked...
She nodded gravely and pointed into the soup with the long wooden spoon. "Jump into the broth, meat is scarce this season."
I watched in horrified silence...I tried to nod and move away at the same time, but my knees were trembling so much that instead of going towards the staircase I shuffled crabwise nearer and nearer the pot. When I was well within range she suddenly jabbed the pointed knife into my back side and with a scream of pain I leapt right into the boiling soup and stiffened in moment of intense agony with my companions in distress, one carrot and two onions.
A might rumbling followed by crashes and there I was standing outside the pot stirring the soup in which I could see my own meat, feet up, boiling away merrily as any joint of beef. I added a pinch of salt...
Source: The Hearing Trumpet, p. 137-138
- As part of the movement's broader practices of experiment and play, however, these creative practices tended to nominate other, non-surrealist objects -- flea market finds, trinkets, newspaper articles, artifacts, totems, or so-called primitive art objects - for consideration as art. I argue that the surrealists studied crime in precisely this manner: without ignoring the cruelty of criminal violence itself, they understood that at the moment it becomes subject to representation, the historical event of crime begins to obey the characteristics of art as a proliferation of objects and artifacts that bear the paradoxical relation of art to the empirical world.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 10
- As terrorists grew more savvy about television, they threatened to take control away from broadcasters. A German television journalist noted that during the Baader-Meinhoff organization's kidnapping of Peter Lorenz in 1975, "We lost control of the medium. We shifted shows to meet their timetable..." Terrorist acts, argues N.C. Livingstone, are custom-made for the medium; they are relatively concise, dramatic, and "not so complex as to be unintelligible to those who tune in only briefly...terrorism is so ideally suited to television that the medium would have invented the phenomenon if it had not already existed".
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 12-13
- Baudrillard's problematic of rationality has to do with the disappearance of the world and its replacement by simulacra. For him it's a combination of a fundamental philosophical/ontological issue and a human tendency to quantify, index, describe, account for, perfect, simulate, etc. He has (as of this writing) not addressed the issue of deliberate deception, the deliberate replacement of events and history by falsified versions by the deep state. The rationalist tendency to order things relates also, as in the Dialectic of Enlightenment, to the emergence of totalitarianism which is marked in part by a loss of agency attributable in turn to faith in/fear of/deference to authorities. Besides the problems inherent, this also enables the deception by making us susceptible to it.
Source: Random Thoughts, p.
- Between Plato's distrust of the artist as a liar and magician, a man who can paint the bed he could not build, and Baudrillard's distrust of the hyperreal, "the generation by models of a real without origin or reality," there is a clear line of descent. Seen through Brita Nilsson's eyes, a Warholish Russian painting called Gorby II illustrates the political implications of simulacra. It is a "maximum statement about the dissolubility of the artist and the exaltation of the public figure, about how it is possible to fuse images, Mikhail Gorbachev's and Marilyn Monroe's, and to steal auras, Gold Marilyn's and Dead-White Andy's". What is the connection between the artist who painted Gorby IIand a political world driven by such images? Between that artist and Karen, who conflates Korean messiahs with Khomeini and Mao, or between the artist and a magazine editor in Chile who published caricatures of General Pinochet and then is sent to jail for "assassinating the image of the general"?
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 29
- Beyond this point there are only catastrophes. Perfect is the event or language which assumes its own mode of disappearance, knows how to stage it, and thus reaches the maximal energy of appearances. The catastrophe is the maximal brute event, here too more eventful than the event -- but an event without consequences, one that leaves the world in suspense. Once the meaning of history is over, once this point of inertia has been passed, every event becomes catastrophe, becomes an event pure and without consequence, (but that is its power). The event without consequence -- like Musil's man without qualities, the body without organs, or time without memory.
Source: Fatal Strategies, p. 17
- Blackmail is worse than interdiction. Dissuasion is worse than sanctions. In dissuasion it is no longer, "Don't do that," but rather, "If you don't do it..." And it stop there -- the threatening eventuality is left in suspense. The whole art of blackmail and manipulation lies in this suspense -- the "suspense" peculiar to terror (just as in hostage-taking the hostage is suspended, not condemned: suspended over an outcome that escapes him). Needless to say, we all live collectively under nuclear blackmail -- not under the direct threat, but under the blackmail of the nuclear, which is strictly speaking not a system of destruction, but of planetary manipulation.
This institutes a wholly different type of relation to power than that based on the violence of interdiction. The latter had a specific referent and object, and therefore transgression of it was a possibility. Blackmail, however, is allusive, and is no longer based either on an imperative or on the utterance of a law (we should invent the dissuasive mode, based on the non-utterance of the law and on floating retorsion) but plays on the enigmatic form of terror.
Terror is obscene, in that it puts an end to the scene of interdiction and violence, which at least was familiar to us.
Blackmail is obscene, in that it puts an end to the scene of exchange.
Source: Fatal Strategies, p. 42
- Both spectacles [i.e., the Nuremberg rally and Bush's "mission accomplished" pageant] are examples of the distinctively modern mode of myth creation. They are the self-conscious constructions of visual media. Cinema and television share a common quality of being tyrannical in a specific sense. They are able to block out, eliminate whatever might introduce qualification, ambiguity, or dialogue, anything that might weaken or complicate the holistic force of their creation, of its total impression.
In a curious but important way these media effects mesh with religious practice. In may Christian religions the believer participates in ceremonies much as the movie or TV watcher takes part in the spectacle presented. In neither case do they participate as the democratic citizen is supposed to do, as actively engaged in decisions and sharing the exercise of power. They participate as communicants in a ceremony prescribed by the masters of the ceremony. Those assembled at Nuremberg or on the USS Abraham Lincoln did not share power with their leaders. Their relationship was thaumaturgical: they were being favored by a wondrous power in a form and at a time of its choosing.
Source: Democracy Inc., p. 2-3
- Breton...writes: "The simplest Surrealist act consists of dashing down into the street, pistol in hand, and firing blindly, as fast as you can pull the trigger, into the crowd. Anyone who, at least once in his life, has not dreamed of thus putting an end to the petty system of debasement and cretinization in effect has a well-defined place in that crowd, with his belly at barrel level." Interpretations of these lines from the Second Manifesto have fueled attacks against surrealism in general, most notably Jean-Paul Sartre's charge that the movement, like Breton's statement, represented a feeble attempt to organize "revolution" around the inner dictates of the individual -- a vulgar and politically bankrupt fusion of Leninist and Freudian rhetoric. Yet Breton is not invoking the "inner dictates of the individual," nor is he simply mobilizing this act of terror as a rhetorical flourish. He means it literally, but stresses that "my intention is not to recommend it above every other because it is simple, and to try and pick a quarrel with me on this point is tantamount to asking, in bourgeois fashion, any nonconformist why he doesn't commit suicide, or any revolutionary why he doesn't pack up and go live in the USSR." Surrealism's struggle lay in reconciling its radical break from the "ideology of continuity" with its awareness that even radicalism tends toward the continuous and the familiar whenever it expresses itself in forms, such as gunshots, that are merely extensions of preexisting violence...
The group's analyses and debates about the status of violence in the modern world extended to the very question of using revolutionary violence as a political strategy. To what extent could political violence ever be distinguished from crime? How did anti colonial violence differ from terrorism, from ethnic cleansing, or from colonial wars of invasion? Such questions, central to the activities of the surrealist group throughout the movement's history, show the surrealists' dedication to a public intellectualism that confronted the most fundamental principles of revolution and avant-gardism.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 7
- Chester Himes's Harlem crime thrillers, and La Reine des pommes in particular, take this parodic ambition to precisely the baroque excesses at which Deleuze hints. Yet in doing so, the novels end up embracing this parody in a very different way, with a complex combination of political anger and a vernacular ear that resonates more with the cultural project of surrealism than with Deleuze's "copy without an original."
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 254
- Considering the growing debates and expanding legislative definitions of terrorism, it is little wonder that 'terrorism studies' has burgeoned so dramatically over the last three decades. In addition to the increasing number of government-funded institutes, 'terrorology' has taken root in a range of academic fields, including political science, history, sociology, social anthropology, and international relations. The explosion of interest has not resulted in greater consensus, though. As Guelke has argued, 'By the 1990s, the concept of terrorism had become so elastic that there seemed to be virtually no limit to what could be described as terrorism.' This general vagueness of the term is precisely what has led commentators such as the social-anthropologists Zulaika and Douglass to assert that terrorism is 'first and foremost discourse', and that this discourse is largely a matter of 'fictionalization'. As I have argued, though, such a view becomes problematic if the focus on the fictional and the figurative obscures the physical effects of terrorist violence.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 9
- Contrary to what is said about it (the real is what resists, what all hypotheses run up against), reality is not very solid and seems predisposed, rather, to retreat in disorder. Whole swathes of reality are collapsing, as in the collapse of Baliverna (Buzzati), where the slightest flaw produces a chain reaction.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 101
- Deleuze's notion of parody refers less to the novels' play on the conventions of the detective story form, however, than to their parodic relation to "the real" itself. He suggests that the novels presuppose the artificiality and even "falsehood" of lived reality, supplanting mimetic representation with the projection of simulacra.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 254
- During the course of the group's relationship with Minotaure, the surrealists shifted their efforts from theorizing the validity of revolutionary violence to finding strategies for deriving paranoiac knowledge. The surrealists, in other words, strove to create an atmosphere that did not so much constitute "revolution" as it was conducive to the knowledge represented obliquely in Nouge and Magritte's drawing: the means -- moral as well as material -- are at hand. By calling surrealism's period of political and epistemological reassessment both a noir period and a period of negation, I have argued, first, that the group's poetic and political aims in 1933 were not limited to revealing irrational forces at work within exterior reality. Rather, the surrealists studied how such forces were organized as coherent structures of motive, causality, and perception in a way that revealed their contiguity with existing structures of political and ideological logic. Second, I maintain that this noir period enabled rather than performed the group's political work. The theoretical experiments of this era provided the basis for a new "morality of revolt" that advocated a massive collective restructuring of society on diverse fronts -- from mental institutions to literature to family structure to political parties -- instead of the merely destructive violence of Aragon's "Red Front."
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 197
- Ecstasy is the quality proper to any body that spins until all sense is lost, and then shines forth in its pure and empty form. Fashion is the ecstasy of the beautiful: pure and empty form of an esthetic spinning about itself. Simulation is the ecstasy of the real: just look at television, where real events follow each other in a perfectly ecstatic relation, that is, in dizzying, stereotyped, unreal and recurrent ways that allow their senseless and uninterrupted concatenation. In ecstasy: this is the object in advertising, as is the consumer in contemplation of the advertisement -- the spinning of use-value and exchange-value into annihilation in the pure and empty form of the brand-name.
Source: Fatal Strategies, p. 9-10
- Even literal acts such as the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 are surrounded by vast doses of nonfactual guesswork, scholarly interpretation, political manipulation, and judicial indictments. As a result, when, on November 14, 1991, the U.S. accused two Libyan officials of the Lockerbie massacre, most family members and journalists who had followed the three-year investigation remained skeptical. Experts were quick to dispute, on various technical grounds, the theory that a simple microchip timer recovered from the wreckage set off the explosion, and reiterated the existence of contradictions and evidence pointing to other culprits now exculpated in a clear case of skewing raw data for political ends...Whether "blood feud" or "international terrorism" means little to the victims of Lockerbie, the difference in political rhetorics is critical for the rest of us. The monster is there, but what are its qualities?
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 11
- Everything is metamorphosed into its opposite to perpetuate itself in its expurgated form. All the powers, all the institutions speak of themselves through denial, in order to attempt, by simulating death, to escape their real death throes. Power can stage its own murder to rediscover a glimmer of existence and legitimacy. Such was the case with some American presidents: the Kennedys were murdered because they still had a political dimension. The others, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, only had the right to phantom attempts, to simulated murders. But this aura of an artificial menace was still necessary to conceal that they were no longer anything but the mannequins of power. Formerly, the king (also the god) had to die, therein lay his power. Today, he is miserably forced to feign death, in order to preserve the blessing of power. But it is lost.
Source: Simulacra and Simulation, p. 19
- Fetishes communicate with each other by the omnipotence of thought and with the rapidity of dreams. Whereas there is a deferred relationship between signs, there is an immediate chain reaction between fetishes because they are made of an indifferent mental substance. We see this in fashion items, where the transmission is unreal and instantaneous because they do not have meaning. Ideas, too, can have this mode of transmission: they just have to be fetishized.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 81
- For Crevel, Lacan's thesis was promising to the left for its understanding of paranoia as a psychotic structure that systematically accuses the very ideological forces signified by Freud's notion of "culture." This culture was repressive not simply because it beat back the death drive but because it represented the full force of bourgeois social conditioning which in the France of the early 1930s, was beginning to take on a frighteningly discernible shape: an attachment to so-called family values that sanctioned patriarchal privilege and a rampant homophobia; and an ever-present xenophobia and anti-Semitism whose deep roots in twentieth-century French culture only strengthened what Crevel and the surrealists considered to be a growing fascist sympathy among the French bourgeoisie.
The "accusation" performed by murderous exhibitionism thus does not canonize the psychotic as a revolutionary figure; insofar as the physical illness represents the moral illness that produces it, Crevel's structuralist notion of behavior as a representation allows his further ideas about political illness and oppression to be a matter of extension...Yet Crevel's version of political and psychological causality structured as a "fortuitous encounter" is particularly useful to surrealism insofar as it rethinks the causality not only of presumably legitimate revolution but of the most inexplicable, brutal, and regressive of events as well -- whether domestic murder or the growing domestic appeal of fascism.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 189
- For example: it would be interesting to see whether the repressive apparatus would not react more violently to a simulated holdup than to a real holdup. Because the latter does nothing but disturb the order of things, the right to property, whereas the former attacks the reality principle itself. Transgression and violence are less serious because they only contest the distribution of the real. Simulation is infinitely more dangerous because it always leaves open to supposition that, above and beyond its object, law and order themselves might be nothing but simulation.
Source: Simulacra and Simulation, p. 20
- For the majority of people who are not directly subject to its violence or intimidation, terrorism has to be 'made to mean' and the media are crucial ideological vehicles in systematizing and organizing disparate 'acts of terror'. Indeed, media are not simply external actors passively bringing the news of terrorist incidents to global audiences but are increasingly seen as active agents in the actual conceptualization of terrorist events. They are credited, in other words, not simply with definitional but constitutive power: we now have 'mediated terrorism' (Cottle, 2006), 'media-oriented terrorism' (Surette et al., 2009), 'media-ized warfare' (Louw, 2003) and 'mass-mediated terrorism' (Nacos, 2007)
From chapter: Introduction
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 9-10
- Here due weight must be given to the insight that in the Traité du style, Aragon's last book, required a distinction between metaphor and image, a happy insight into questions of style that needs extending. Extension: nowhere do these two -- metaphor and image -- collide so drastically and so irreconcilably as in politics. For to organize pessimism means nothing other than to expel moral metaphor from politics and to discover in political action a sphere reserved one hundred per cent for images. This image sphere, however, can no longer be measured out by contemplation.
Source: Surrealism: the Last Snapshot of the European Intelligentsia, p. 55
- How long will we have to wait for a brand new laboratory where established ideas, no matter which, beginning with the most elementary ones, the ones most hastily exonerated, will be accepted only for purposes of study, contingent on an examination from top to bottom and by definition free from all preconceptions?
Source: Arcanum 17, p. 61
- How to persuade the reader that the actual direction of contemporary politics is toward a political system the very opposite of what the political leadership, the mass media, and think tank oracles claim that it is, the world's foremost exemplar of democracy?
Source: Democracy Inc., p. xx
- Hyperreality and simulation are deterrents of every principle and every objective, they turn against power the deterrent that it used so well for such a long time. Because in the end, throughout its history it was capital that first fed on the destructuration of every referential, of every human objective, that shattered every ideal distinction between true and false, good and evil, in order to establish a radical law of equivalence and exchange, the iron law of its power. Capital was the first to play at deterrence, abstraction, disconnection, deterritorialization, etc., and if it is the one that fostered reality, the reality principle, it was also the first to liquidate it by exterminating all use value, all real equivalence of production and wealth, in the very sense we have of the unreality of the stakes and the omnipotence of manipulation. Well, today is is this same logic that is even more set against capital. And as soon as it wishes to combat this disastrous spiral by secreting a last glimmer of reality, on which to establish a last glimmer of power, it does nothing but multiply the signs and accelerate the play of simulation.
Source: Simulacra and Simulation, p. 22
- I don't like the kind of houses they build for themselves, don't like their taste, let alone Fischer's. Even the finest paintings they have hanging there, paintings I even like, seem like forgeries to me even when they've been proved to be genuine -- especially ten. There's something about them that kills art, even music -- I'm glad our child has left all that behind.
Source: The Safety Net, p. 228
- I take Sun Tzu's wise words regarding war on pretty much the same level as a fortune cookie, but when it comes to the war on terror, then Sun Tzu here catches my breath. For it seems that the art of deception in this particular war is organic and built in to what is by necessity a war of error, a deliberate and compulsive lying, tied up with the fact that in the name of defending the people, which is to say democracy, the war is now against the people. We the public have become the enemy, and that is how I read Sun Tau on the art of war today.
Yet would it were that simple because the power of the art of deceit does not -- I repeat not -- necessarily weaken with exposure. Sometimes the very opposite occurs; sometimes deceit seems to thrive on exposure, as in the conjuring tricks of shamanism and in the conjuring now exercised on a global scale by the world's only superpower. This global conjuring rests on a sea change in the way truth and language work in what Carl Schmitt called "the exception," meaning the state of emergency. The curious thing is despite the tremendous concentration of power such a state of emergency implies, which should allow the leaders to tell the truth without fear of the consequences, the opposite is more likely to occur.
Source: Zoology, Magic, and Surrealism in the War on Terror, p. S100
- In a sense, the greatest masterpiece, Helen's beloved Vermeer Girl, corrupts this terrorist and sways him from the purity of his design. He falls in love with it, as the Palestinian Ahmed says, "like a bride," spending hours staring at it obsessively. And when Henk produces his reasonable argument for negotiating with the government, Jeroen chooses to blow himself up with the painting in a classic murder-suicide that Ahmed calls "le geste sublime d'un grand révolutionnaire" (358); although he does not mean to, he also kills ten other people.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 73
- In appearance [me: i.e. illusion], things are what they give themselves out to be...They signal to us, but are not susceptible of decipherment. On the other hand, in simulation, in this giant disposition of meaning, calculation and efficiency that encompasses all our technical devices, including current virtual reality, the illusion of the sign is lost, and only its operation remains. The happy non-distinction between true and false, between real and unreal [me: in illusion], gives way to the simulacrum, which consecrates the unhappy non-distinction between true and false, between the real and its signs, the unhappy, necessarily unhappy, destiny of meaning in our culture.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 18
- In his paper, "Fearing Fictions," Kendall Walton proposes the notion of "quasi-fear" for that fright experienced when contemplating on a movie or TV screen agents (such as a terrible green slime or the creature from the Black Lagoon) that the viewer knows for certain are only fictional. Then there is the fear of a person afraid of a nonexistent ghost or burglar who are nonetheless "real" since the person believes that they are present. Fear of terrorism is never solely fictional, as in the first case, but is rather of the second type. Still, faced with the extraordinary fact that during one single month 10 million Americans decided to stay at home rather than take an airplane reportedly because of a terrorist threat issued several thousands miles away by a beleaguered dictator, one questions whether they were dissuaded by real feelings of terror or were engaging in some sort of make-believe in which they acted "as if" the threats posed real danger to their lives...
Terrorism discourse is characterized by the confusion of sign and context provoked by the deadly atrocity of apparently random acts, the impossibility of discriminating reality from make-believe, and text from reader. These strange processes and their mix make terrorism a queer phenomenon. Emptying the sign of its deadly messages seem to be, following Barthes's advice, the best antidote to the experience of terror. And nothing appears to be more damaging to the ghosts and myths of terrorism (for audience and actors alike) than fictionalizing them further to the point that fear dissolves into "as-if" terror.
The discourse's victory, then, derives from imposing a literal frame of "this is real war," "this is global threat," "this is total terror." Its defeat derives from writing "this is an as-if war," "this is an as-if global threat," "this is make-believe total terror."
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 28-29
- In such fashion there is blurring of the line between fact and fiction in ostensibly objective journalistic reporting, particularly since it is the very nature of covert operations and intergovernmental confidentiality to place a premium more upon "deniability" -- a fancy expression for mendacity -- than upon veracity. Hence the novel's plot of intrigue and the journalist's political discourse collapse into the monolithic frame that we have labeled contemporary terrorism discourse.
This blurring of genres is further exacerbated by the propensity of some journalists and counterterrorism specialists to author terrorism novels (e.g., Robert Moss, Arnaud de Borchgrave, William Buckley Jr., Brian Crozier). Thus, at terrorism conferences it is not uncommon for the experts to discuss their next fiction project!
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 48
- Is any given bombing in Italy the work of leftist extremists, or extreme-right provocation, or a centrist mise-en-scène to discredit all extreme terrorists and to shore up its own failing power, or again, is it a police-inspired scenario and a form of blackmail to public security? All of this is simultaneously true, and the search for proof, indeed the objectivity of the facts does not put an end to this vertigo of interpretation. That is, we are in a logic of simulation, which no longer has anything to do with a logic of facts and an order of reason.
Source: Simulacra and Simulation, p. 16
- It appeared to be unanimous: unless you were one of the victims, the terrifying reality of the events could only be experienced and expressed as hyperbole -- as surpassing the normal limits of experience and expression. All of a sudden, then, the figurative, if not the fictional, was at the very heart of the disaster.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 2
- It is because they both hide and stand out and it is because they both attract and repulse that Gray Fox and his friends are deployed. More than this, they attract because they repulse just as they stand out because they are secret. In this sense they represent an advance on the fascination of the abomination.
Source: Zoology, Magic, and Surrealism in the War on Terror, p. S112
- Jim Garrison, the New Orleans prosecutor who for years tried to investigate the assassination of President Kennedy, once remarked, "I'm afraid, based on my own experience, that fascism will come to America in the name of national security." He was, perhaps, closer to the truth than he realized, for it was during the Kennedy Administration that senior U.S. military officials proposed a false-flag terror operation...called Operation Northwoods...Northwoods included proposals for false-flag acts of sabotage of the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; the sinking of a U.S. Navy ship in the Guantanamo Bay harbor (casualty lists for which, it was hoped, "would help cause a helpful wave of national indignation"); the blowing up of John Glenn's rocket ship during his historic space flight; and a highly elaborate deception for simulating the shooting-down of civilian airplanes which involved the retrofitting of aircraft by the CIA, secret landings and disembarkation of passengers, and the surreptitious substitution of drones for aircraft. On behalf of the Joint Chiefs, Lemnitzer submitted the Northwoods plan to President Kennedy's Seret of Defense, Robert McNamara, whereupon it was summarily quashed.
Source: 9/11 As False Flag: Why International Law Must Dare To Care, p. 16-17
- Lacan suggests...that the real effects of social relations on the subject -- so readily misrecognized, in the case of the Papin sisters, as direct class oppression -- become recognizable as motives for the crime only insofar as they become visible as motifs. Indeed his title, "Motifs du crime paranoaique," suggests that, in this sequel to his earlier article on paranoiac style, the French term motifs can signify both causal motives and stylistic motifs. That is, Lacan's study of motive stresses how the structure of psychosis involves a simultaneous interpretation and representation of lived reality; within this structure, social and material conditions are manifest not merely as the facts that a subject represents to herself, but also as the determining forces that the unconscious must represent to the consciousness.
Christopher Lane has argued that this psychotic structure -- which is not political in itself, since the people involved are unaware of its meaning -- may be politicized insofar as its motifs, its exhibitionism, provide a reminder of "the fragile supports on which subjectivity is so reliant, and the way each precarious identification fosters an illusion of psychical stability."
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 193
- Lacan's attention to the historical basis of psychiatry [in Minotaure I] is meant to dislodge the practice of diagnosis from questions of criminal responsibility or irresponsibility, which risked reducing definitions of insanity to a moral choice policed by the state...For Lacan, the disciplines brought together in Minotaure -- artistic, psychiatric, and theoretical -- were all necessary to the study of mental illness, since paranoia reveals the work of signification and imagery in the formation of subjectivity, and not just within the fields of cultural and artistic production alone. Lacan's work on the Papin sisters builds on his description, in the first issue of Minotaure, of paranoiac lived experience as an "original syntax," a mode of symbolic expression that could be at once intentional and yet still determined by real social tensions.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 190, 191-92
- Like Burroughs, Spinoza shows that, far from being an aberrant condition, addiction is the standard state for human beings, who are habitually enslaved into reactive and repetitive behaviors by frozen images (of themselves and the world). Freedom, Spinoza shows, is something that can be achieved only when we can apprehend the real causes of our actions, when we can set aside the 'sad passions' that intoxicate and entrance us.
Source: Capitalist Realism, p. 73
- My long dark hair is soft like cat's fur, I am beautiful. This is quite a shock because I have just realised that I am beautiful and there is something that I must do about it, but what? Beauty is a responsibility like anything else, beautiful women have special lives like prime ministers but that is not what I really want, there must be something else...
Source: The Hearing Trumpet, p. 15
- Not to be sensitive to this degree of unreality and play, this degree of malice and ironic wit on the part of language and the world is, in effect, to be incapable of living. Intelligence is precisely this sensing of the universal illusion, even in amorous passion -- though without the natural course of that passion being impaired. There is something stronger than passion: illusion. There is something stronger than sex or happiness: the passion for illusion.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 6
- Osama bin Laden...offered similar interpretations:
'...America has been filled with horror from north to south and east to west, and thanks be to God that what America is tasting now is only a copy of what we have tasted.' [quote from Audrey Gillan, 'Bin Laden Appears on Video to Threaten US', The Guardian, 8 October 2001; emphasis added by Houen]
...The attacks are thus simultaneously hyperbolized and diminished through being explained as figurative events. As imitations, the effects, in reality, are nothing compared to American precedents; as iconic attacks their material impact extends to more than the destruction of the buildings and people involved.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 3
- Our paradoxical situation is this: because nothing any longer has meaning, everything should work perfectly. Because there is no longer a responsible subject, each event, even a minimal one, must be desperately imputed to someone or something -- everyone is responsible, some maximal floating responsibility is there, waiting to be invested in any kind of incident. Every anomaly must be justified and every irregularity must find its guilty party, its criminal link. This too is terror and terrorism: this hunt for responsibility without any common measure with the event -- this hysteria of responsibility that is itself a consequence of the disappearance of causes and the almighty power of effects.
Source: Fatal Strategies, p. 36-37
- Paranoia, Dali argues, systematizes a mental crisis which is analogous to hallucination, yet which expresses itself instead in terms of recognizable and empirically verifiable evidence. As paranoia calls on the exterior world to validate its obsessive ideas, its troubling power derives from its exacting particularity; as Dali writes: "Paranoia uses the external world to assert the obsessive idea, with its disturbing characteristic of making this idea's reality valid to others. The reality of the external world serves as illustration and proof, and is placed in the service of the reality of our mind." Dali notes the "inconceivable subtlety" of paranoiacs, who take advantage "of motives and facts so refined as to escape normal people" and thus "reach conclusions that are often impossible to contradict or reject." As a result, these "conclusions," in the form of simulacra, can at their most powerful compete with, and even displace, reality itself. "It is because of their failure to cohere with reality," Dali writes, "and because of the arbitrary element in their presence, that simulacra can easily assume the form of reality and that reality, in its turn, adapts itself to the violences committed by simulacra."
Unlike what Breton would call the surrealism of its mid-1920s "rational phase," Dali's paranoia-critique no longer relied on accurate critique to expose the ideological excesses of contemporary society. Instead it mechanically -- yet critically -- misinterpreted reality in order to provoke a "crisis in consciousness" that would dislodge contemporary thinking from its ideologically overdetermined sense of the real.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 162
- Perhaps one reason why no one believed Hitler at the time regarding his claim of Polish aggression, and why after the war some statesmen seemed preoccupied with the issue of false flags justifying aggression, was because people remembered the occurrence of a notorious false-flag event early in the Nazi reign, to wit, the Reichstag Fire of 1933. The story is relatively straightforward: The Nazis set fire to the German Parliament (the Reichstag) but blamed the crime on a group of communists in order to justify a mass political witch hunt of the German left, the termination of political and civil liberties for the citizenry at large, and the seizure of totalitarian political control over Germany. What is important about this false flag for our purposes is the extent to which it was viewed (both at the time and years later at Nuremberg) as an act of state terror having international ramifications...The feeling was ripe that the international community -- in some way, shape or form -- had to become involved in litigating the facts of the Reichstag Fire.
Source: 9/11 As False Flag: Why International Law Must Dare To Care, p. 14-15
- Politics and fabulation overlap further towards the end of Part Five of How German Is It in a section entitled 'The purpose of an antiterrorist film'. According to Wurtenhberg's chief of police, the purpose of such a film amounts to constructing a complete terrorist profile that identifies 'their slang, their gestures, their preferences, their way of dressing...their weapons, their techniques, their political rhetoric...' in order to 'Depict as accurately as possible the threat they pose to the stability of this society'. However, as the narrative voice points out, presenting an authentic picture of the threat is fundamentally a matter of deciding how to 'minimize' or 'exaggerate' the terrorists' 'strength' and 'callousness'. Determining a special-effect of realism appears to be the only way the desired political effects can be realized: 'In order to clarify, to make evident a terrorist threat, the film has to distort, fabricate and often lie. But no matter how great these flaws are, the need for the film is self evident'...That this whole procedure requires that the distinctions between events and representations, facts and fictions, 'terrorism' and counter-terrorism, become totally unclear in order to manipulate the public is no doubt why there is 'always a possibility' that it will not succeed.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 227-228
- Reality is a bitch. And that is hardly surprising, since it is the product of stupidity's fornication with the spirit of calculation -- the dregs of the sacred illusion offered up to the jackals of science.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 3
- Really Existing Capitalism is marked by the same division which characterized Really Existing Socialism, between, on the one hand, an official culture in which capitalist enterprises are presented as socially responsible and caring, and, on the other, a widespread awareness that companies are actually corrupt, ruthless, etc...But postmodernism's supposed gestures of demystification do not evince sophistication so much as a certain naivety, a conviction that there were others, in the past, who really believed in the Symbolic. [now quoting Zizek:] ...those who do not allow themselves to be caught in the symbolic deception/fiction, who continue to believe their eyes, are the ones who err most. A cynic who 'believes only his eyes' misses the efficiency of the symbolic fiction, and how it structures our experience of reality.
Source: Capitalist Realism, p. 47-48
- Recognizing the popular and clinical impact of crime to be an admixture of fiction and fact, the surrealists viewed crime as a phenomenon of the marvelous, an event characterized by the discrepancies and excesses it brought to light. Louis Aragon, in a series of aphorisms published in 1925, refers to this phenomenal quality as "the contradiction that reveals itself within the real." Aragon would later uphold this phenomenon as a mechanism for political change, arguing that the marvelous provides a means for diagnosing crises within existing political and cultural orders, as well as for attacking, in turn, the ideological forces that sustain them as reality...The surrealist fascination with crime is fundamental, I propose, to the movement's collective project, a radical synthesis of diverse fields of knowledge that sought to transform the ordering systems through which we understand and experience modern life.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 1-2
- Say: This is real, the world is real, the real exists (I have met it) -- no one laughs. Say: This is a simulacrum, you are merely a simulacrum, this war is a simulacrum -- everyone bursts out laughing. With forced, condescending laughter, or uncontrollable mirth, as though at a childish joke or an obscene proposition. Everything to do with the simulacrum is taboo or obscene, as is everything related to sex or death. Yet it is much rather reality and obviousness which are obscene. It is the truth we should laugh at. You can imagine a culture where everyone laughs spontaneously when someone says: 'This is true', 'This is real'.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 97
- Sid kills the running lights and the motor, and they settle in behind Island of Meadows, at the intersection of Fresh and Arthur Kills, toxicity central, the dark focus of Big Apple waste disposal, everything the city has rejected so it can keep on pretending to be itself, and here unexpectedly at the heart of it is this 100 acres of untouched marshland, directly underneath the North Atlantic flyway, sequestered by law from development and dumping, marsh birds sleeping in safety.
Source: Bleeding Edge, p. 166
- Since we cannot grasp both the genesis and the singularity of the event, the appearance of things and their meaning, we are faced with an alternative: either we master their meaning, and appearances elude us, or the meaning eludes us, and appearances are saved. Since most of the time the meaning escapes us, this makes it certain that the secret, the illusion which binds us under the seal of secrecy, will never be unmasked. This is not something mystical but something that arises from an active strategy of the world towards us -- a strategy of absence and relinquishment, as a result of which, by the very play of appearances, things stray further and further from their meaning, and doubtless further and further from each other also, the world accentuating its flight into strangeness and the void.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 58
- So the world, then, is a radical illusion. That is, at least, one hypothesis. At all events, it is an unbearable one. And to keep it at bay, we have to realize the world, give it force of reality, make it exist and signify at all costs, take from it its secret, arbitrary, accidental character, rid it of appearances and extract its meaning, divert it from all predestination and restore it to tis end and its maximum efficacy, wrest it from its form to deliver it up to its formula. This gigantic enterprise of disillusionment -- of, literally, putting the illusion of the world to death, to leave an absolutely real world in its stead -- is what is properly meant by simulation. It is not, then, the real which is the opposite of simulation -- the real is merely a particular case of that simulation -- but illusion.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 17
- So, for example, you put forward the idea of simulacrum, without really believing in it, even hoping that the real will refute it...Alas, only the fanatical supporters of reality react; reality, for its part, does not seem to wish to prove you wrong. Quite to the contrary, every kind of simulacrum parades around in it. And reality, filching the idea, henceforth adorns itself with all the rhetoric of simulation. It is the simulacrum which ensures the continuity of the real today, the simulacrum which now conceals not the truth, but the fact that there isn't any -- that is to say, the continuity of the nothing...No longer is it theories which adapt to events, but the reverse.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 102
- The best-known development during this period [1932-ish, the Age d'or affair] was Dali's invention of paranoia-critique, a response to Bataille's critique of surrealism that was designed to counteract what Aragon identified as "the revenge of censorship on the unconscious." In Dali's paranoia-critique, Andre Masson's early notion of a "physical idea of the Revolution" found a new incarnation as a psychic mechanism whose "revolutionary" potential Dali advocated in an essay printed in the first issue of Le Surrealisme au Service de la Revolution in 1930, titled 'L'ane pourri" (The Rotting Donkey). Dali's theory of paranoia heeds Bataille's claim that it is through participation in spectacles o violence, rather than through grand ideals or "irons of intellect," that it becomes possible to overthrow existing ideological frameworks. Yet Dali strongly disagreed with Bataille's presumption that such spectacles were natural occurrences that could be experienced without idealism or fancy concepts. Dali argue that the Bataillean effect of spectacular participation could instead be produced through the capacity of paranoia for generating simulacra whose presence vies with other "images of reality"; as a result, one's ideologically overdetermined confidence in such images would begin to self-destruct.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 161
- The big Other is the collective fiction, the symbolic structure, presupposed by any social field...One important dimension of the big Other is that it does not know everything. It is this constitutive ignorance of the big Other that allows public relations to function. Indeed, the big Other could be defined as the consumer of PR and propaganda, the virtual figure which is required to believe even when no individual can. To use one of Žižek's examples: who was it, for instance, who didn't know that Really Existing Socialism (RES) was shabby and corrupt? Not any of the people, who were all too aware of its shortcomings; nor any of the government administrators, who couldn't but know. No, it was the big Other who was the one deemed not to know -- who wasn't allowed to know -- the quotidian reality of RES. Yet the distinction between what the big Other knows, i.e. what is officially accepted, and what is widely known and experienced by actual individuals, is very far from being 'merely' emptily formal; it is the discrepancy between the two that allows 'ordinary' social reality to function. When the illusion that the big Other did not know can no longer be maintained, the incorporeal fabric holding the social system together disintegrates. This is why Khrushchev's speech in 1965 [sic, it was 1956], in which he 'admitted' the failings of the Soviet state, was so momentous...Khrushchev's announcement made it impossible to believe any more that the big Other was ignorant of them.
Source: Capitalist Realism, p. 44-45
- The bomb-maker [in Lessing's The Good Terrorist], Jocelyn, imitates the IRA gunrunners' Irish accents so perfectly that Alice judges that she may actually be Irish: "Does it matter? Here is another of us with a false voice!" (416)
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 79
- The challenge of simulation is never admitted by power. How can the simulation of virtue be punished? However, as such it is as serious as the simulation of crime. Parody renders submission and transgression equivalent, and that is the most serious crime, because it cancels out the difference upon which the law is based. The established order can do nothing against it, because the law is a simulacrum of the second order, whereas simulation is of the third order, beyond true and false, beyond equivalence, beyond rational distinctions upon which the whole of the social and power depend. Thus, lacking the real, it is there that we must aim at order.
This is certainly why order always opts for the real. When in doubt, it always prefers this hypothesis (as in the army one prefers to take the simulator for a real madman). But this becomes more and more difficult, because if it is practically impossible to isolate the process of simulation, through the force of inertia of the real that surrounds us, the opposite is also true (and this reversibility itself is part of the apparatus of simulation and the impotence of power): namely, it is now impossible to isolate the process of the real, or to prove the real.
This is ow all the holdups, airplane hijackings, etc. are now in some sense simulation holdups in that they are already inscribed in the decoding and orchestration rituals of the media, anticipated in their presentation and their possible consequences. In short, where they function as a group of signs dedicated exclusively to their recurrence as signs, and no longer at all to their "real" end. But this does not make them harmless. On the contrary, it is as hyperreal events, no longer with a specific content or end, but indefinitely refracted by each other (just like so-called historical events: strikes, demonstrations, crises, etc0, it is in this sense that they cannot be controlled by an order that can only exert itself on the real and the rational, on causes and ends, a referential order that can only reign over the referential, a determined power that can only reign over a determined world, but that cannot do anything against this indefinite recurrence of simulation, against this nebula whose weight no longer obeys the laws of gravitation of the real, power itself ends by being dismantled in this space and becoming a simulation of power (disconnected from its ends and its objectives, and dedicated to the effects of power and mass simulation).
Source: Simulacra and Simulation, p. 21-22
- The day seems long past when a sorcerer could use art to confuse and destroy the enemy. Even when Brecht evokes the "house of Tar" to take on the Third Reich, we take it as mere metaphor. Poet at work, we say.
But what if this distinction between art and war is fatuous, that all along the science of war has been a misnomer, just like the distinction between metaphor and reality? How else to explain the frisson we feel when we come across an ancient Chinese manual of war such as that of Sun Tau, reeking of the magic of antiquity and Orientalism, and nod our heads in respect? For one of the strangest things about war whether ancient or postmodern is that as a pumped-out, puffed-up "science," it reeks of craft and witchcraft, accident and chance, as much as planning. Indeed the more "scientific" or "technological" it appears, the more arcane and mysterious, also. Guerrilla warfare makes this doubly so. Clausewitz is known on account of his equation of politics with war, but is not politics merely the tip of a submerged continent of power whose outlines we dimly discern and whose uncanny force we feel?
To combine a magician, a surrealist painter, and a zoologist, as in the British War Office, is pretty much the mind-set that any of us interested in brushing history against the grain might espouse. So how might one out-camouflage their camouflage? That was John Heartfield's strategy with photomontage in Berlin around the tie Brecht wrote his poem about the anxieties of the regime. Heartfelt was a pioneer in the art of photomontage, cutting up images, rearranging the parts, and adding some new ones and a caption so as to reverse the message or expose its hidden meanings. This would be to counteract the macabre artistry of "love beads," [note: on soldiers] themselves a sardonic transgression of transgression. It is also what Delouse and Guattari ["Treatise on Nomadology: The War Machine" from A Thousand Plateaus] were getting at with their labored notion of the war machine, a machine they saw as the anarchic special ops built into any army, yet antithetical to it....
Camouflaged soldiers bring into being a most curious amalgam of the allegedly utilitarian and the unacknowledged exotic. Blending with the animal world and the love of imitation therein, together with the aesthetic pleasure of theatrical disguise, the coloration we call camouflage illustrates how narrow is the view of the practical, workaday world if it does not admit that the most practical is also the most aesthetic when transplanted from the field to the battlefield.
To date the field of aesthetics has paid scant attention to its affinity with the animal and with war, just as it has fought shy of magic and conjuring. So-called primitive societies knew better. To open this doorway, as with the war machine, or with Tom Mitchell's pointed question, "What do pictures want?" is to recast the division between the aesthetic and the practical, a first step to understanding how truth now functions in the Terror of the war against terror.
Source: Zoology, Magic, and Surrealism in the War on Terror, p. S116
- The emissions from the power stations, already turned to clouds, moved across the sky, the effect was idyllic, as evocative of nature as in some Dutch paintings, or early Gainsboroughs and Constables.
Source: The Safety Net, p. 86
- The government took PR to a new level: it is now called PM for 'perception management' and it treats war as a product to be 'rolled out' and promoted. It is serious and systematic. It branded the war and used advertising-like slogans to sell it...Anchormen complained the the media had gone from being a watchdog to a lap dog, but did nothing about it...It is important to understand that this does not add up to a critique of a few lapses or media mistakes. The Iraq War was more than a catalogue of errors or flaws. The war was shaped for coverage, planned and formatted, pre-produced and aired with high production values, designed to persuade, not just inform. What we saw and are seeing is a crime against democracy and the public's right to know.
From chapter: Challenging the Media War by Danny Schecter
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 314-315
- The great philosophical question used to be 'Why is there something rather than nothing?' Today, the real question is: 'Why is there nothing rather than something?'
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 2
- The impossibility of rediscovering an absolute level of the real is of the same order as the impossibility of staging illusion. Illusion is no longer possible, because the real is no longer possible. It is the whole political problem of parody, of hyper simulation or offensive simulation, that is posed here.
Source: Simulacra and Simulation, p. 19
- The lie which is no longer challenged becomes lunacy...The ideology which is materialized in this context has not economically transformed the world, as has capitalism which reached the stage of abundance; it has merely transformed perception by means of the police.
Source: Society of the Spectacle, p. 105
- The only revolution in things is today no longer in their dialectical transcendence (Aufhebung), but in their potentialization, in their elevation to the second power, in their elevation to the nth power, whether that of terrorism, irony, or simulation. It is no longer dialectics, but ecstasy that is in process. Thus terrorism is the ecstatic form of violence; thus the state is the ecstatic form of society; thus porn is the ecstatic form of sex, the obscene the ecstatic form of the scene, etc. It seems that things, having lost their critical and dialectical determination, can only redouble themselves in their exacerbated and transparent form, as in Virgilio's "pure war": the ecstasy of unreal war, contingent and present everywhere. Spatial exploration likewise is a mise en abyme of this world. Everywhere the virus of potentialization and mise en abyme carries the day, carries us towards an ecstasy which is also that of indifference.
Source: Fatal Strategies, p. 41
- The only way to look at Man is as the victim of his mirrors.
Source: A Wave of Dreams, p. 43
- The only weapon of power, its only strategy against this defection, is to reinfect the real and the referential everywhere, to persuade us of the reality of the social, of the gravity of the economy and the finalities of production. To this end it prefers the discourse of crisis, but also, why not? that of desire. "Take your desires for reality!" can be understood as the ultimate slogan of power since in a non referential world, even the confusion of the reality principle and the principle of desire is less dangerous than contagious hyperreality. One remains among principles, and among those power is always on the right.
Source: Simulacra and Simulation, p. 22
- The real does not efface itself in favor of the imaginary; it effaces itself in favor of the more real than real: the hyperreal. The truer than true: this is simulation...More generally things visible do not come to an end in obscurity and silence -- instead they fade into the more visible than visible: obscenity;
Source: Fatal Strategies, p. 11
- The spectacle, grasped in its totality...is the heart of the unrealism of the real society. In all its specific forms, as information or propaganda, as advertisement or direct entertainment consumption, the spectacle is the present model of socially dominant life.
Source: Society of the Spectacle, p. 6
- The theoretical conception of my topic -- that terrorism is both actual killing and a fictional construct, that fiction embodies an acute critique of the power of discourse as opposed to the power of the individual's self-assertion -- owes a great deal to deconstruction and neo-Marxism and will be familiar to readers with a grounding in the New Historicism and cultural studies.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 2
- The world he could see from the window gaily mocked him with a promise of being an image of the painting...
Source: All Hallows' Eve, p. 84
- There is a point at which the lives of madmen and murderers become so bizarre that we question whether the discourse about them "starts to function in a field where it qualifies as literature." Oedipus with his crimes or Faust with his devilish pact remain as emblematic literary figures of their times; "The Terrorist" and his apocalyptic threat might perhaps endure as an archetype of the late twentieth century's postmodern military simulacrum. [Quoted part is from Alexander Neill's 1991 "Fear, Fiction, and Make-Believe", The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 49:47-56.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 63
- There is no need to deny or diminish by one iota the atrociousness of these chilling events. What we call into question here, however, is the apocalyptic and absolutist framework within which terrorism discourse casts its characters and networks, i.e., its assumptions of all-encompassing discursive coherence. The exaggerated and conspiratorial style of terrorism rhetoric itself should be a warning that we are dealing with political pathology. As Richard Hofstadter noted, "What distinguishes the paranoid style is not...the absence of verifiable facts...but rather the curious leap in imagination that is always made at some critical point in the recital of events." We believe that regarding terrorism, the brandishing of stark facts goes hand in hand with great leaps into discursive fantasy. The present intellectual world is, after all, one of self-referential illusions and postmodern self-parodies, of crimes perpetrated in real life whose public significance is far greater in terms of their commercial value for increasing TV ratings, a world in which the boundaries between the real and the make-believe are increasingly blurred. We therefore question to what extent all discourse on terrorism must conform to and borrow from some form of fictionalization. By "fictional" we "do not mean their feigned elements, but rather, using the other and broader sense of the root word fingere, their forming, shaping, and molding elements: the crafting of a narrative." [latter quote is from Natalie Davis, Fiction in the Archives: Pardon Tales and their Tellers in Sixteenth-Century France, Stanford University Press]
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 4
- They fled and escaped from actuality. Unknowingly, they spoke as he did, knowing; therefore they were his servants -- until they dissolved and were lost.
Source: All Hallows' Eve, p. 101
- This is an extreme and caricatured form of responsibility: an anonymous, statistical, formal and aleatory one that plays on the terrorist act of the taking of hostages. But if you think about it, terrorism is only the executioner for a system which itself also seeks both total anonymity and, at the same time and contradictorily, total responsibility for each of us. With the death of anyone, it executes the sentence of anonymity that is henceforth ours, that of the anonymous system, anonymous power, the anonymous terror of our real lives. The principle behind extermination is not death, but rather statistical indifference.
Source: Fatal Strategies, p. 36
- This whole virtual technology media circus, this perpetual 'reality show', has an ancestor: the ready-made. Those who are plucked from their real lives to come and act out the psychodrama of their AIDS or their marital problems on TV have an ancestor in Duchamp's bottle-rack which that artist similarly plucked from the real world to confer on it elsewhere -- in a field we still agree to call art -- an undefinable hyperreality.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 30
- Those who turn their critique of fascism into a question of rational vs irrational are missing the point. It is always fundamentally a question of (moral, ethical, political) values. Where Popper puts his faith in rationalism as the way towards equal rights and justice, and dismisses 'irrational' emotions as inevitably tending towards division and violence, he is neither entirely wrong nor entirely right. Rationalism is necessary but not sufficient. There is nothing about rationalism that obviates inequality, violence, repression, genocide if reason dictates one is better off by catering to such unpleasant impulses. What is needed is rationality guided by humanitarian or egalitarian values. And between the two, values and rationality, values are the driving force; rationality is just the tool.
Similarly, where the Frankfurt School critiques the Enlightenment for how it enabled Nazism, and the counter-critique emerges about how the Nazis represent irrationality rather than rationality, again what is really important ultimately are values.
What needs to be highlighted is when repugnant values masquerade as rationalism, as in capitalist realism or fascism. It doesn't much matter whether the repression and violence is rational or irrational. What matters is that it can be exposed for what it is, and cannot pass itself off for what it is not.
Source: Random Thoughts, p.
- To the tragic illusion of destiny we prefer the metaphysical illusion of subject and object, the true and the false, good and evil, the real and the imaginary; but, in a final phase, we prefer the virtual illusion even more -- that of the neither true nor false, of the neither good nor evil, of a lack of distinction between the real and the referential, of an artificial reconstruction of the world where, at the cost of total disenchantment, we would enjoy a total immunity.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 43
- Unlike the discourse of the real, which gambles on the fact of there being something rather than nothing, and aspires to being founded on the guarantee of an objective and decipherable world, radical thought, for its part, wagers on the illusion of the world. It aspires to the status of illusion, restoring the non-veracity of facts, the non-signification of the world, proposing the opposite hypothesis that there is nothing rather than something, and going in pursuit of that nothing which runs beneath the apparent continuity of meaning.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 98
- We are all hostages, and we are all terrorists. This circuit has replaced that other one of masters and slaves, the dominating and the dominated, the exploiters and the exploited. Gone is the constellation of the slave and the proletarian: from now on it is the hostage and the terrorist. Gone is the constellation of alienation; from now on it is that of terror. It is worse than the one it replaces, but at least it liberates us from liberal nostalgia and the ruses of history. It is the era of the transpolitical that is beginning.
Source: Fatal Strategies, p. 39
- We don't need the novel. Quoting Bill. We don't even need catastrophes, necessarily. We only need the reports and predictions and warnings.
Source: Mao II, p. 72
- We have entered the constellation of blackmail not only in the "political" sphere, but everywhere. Everywhere the insane multiplication of responsibility operates as dissuasion...But do political events themselves ever offer anything but a false continuity? It is the solution of continuity that is interesting. Once it seemed to present itself as revolution; today it ends up as special effects. And terrorism itself is only a gigantic special effect. However, this is not because no meaning is intended. Against the general transparence, terrorism wishes to call on things to regain their meaning again, but does no more than accelerate this sentence of death and indifference.
Source: Fatal Strategies, p. 39,40-41
- We have to restore the potency and the radical meaning of illusion, which is...the way things have of presenting themselves for what they are when they are not actually there at all.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 17
- What we have forgotten in modernity, by dint of constantly accumulating, adding, going for more, is that force comes from subtraction, power from absence. Because we are no longer capable today of coping with the symbolic mastery of absence, we are immersed in the opposite illusion, the disenchanted illusion of the proliferation of screens and images. Now the image can no longer imagine the real, because it is the real. It can no longer dream it, since it is its virtual reality. It is as though things had swallowed their own mirrors...
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 4
- What within truth is merely truth falls foul of illusion. What within truth exceeds truth is of the order of a higher illusion. Only what exceeds reality can go beyond the illusion of reality. [Me: to fall foul of illusion is to become simulacrum (rational with limited and decipherable truth); truth within but exceeding its "container" (simulacrum) truth gets *back* to illusion, which is larger and slipperier and more frightening, closer to real reality or at least our unmediated perceptions of it; exceeding reality is to fuse the rational and the irrational and become the existential true human...maybe?]
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 20
- When you inflict punishment on someone who is not guilty, when you fill rooms with innocent victims, you begin to empty the world of meaning and erect a separate mental state, the mind consuming what's outside itself, replacing real things with plots and fictions. One fiction taking the world narrowly into itself, the other fiction pushing out toward the social order, trying to unfold into it.
Source: Mao II, p. 200
- With the predominance of information technology and global networks of power, war has become both 'postmodern' and 'discursive', [Chris Hables Gray] argues: 'its unity is rhetorical'. What characterizes it are 'the metaphors and symbols that structure it, not...any direct continuity of weapons, tactics, or strategy between its various manifestations...'...Any survey of statements made by politicians in the aftermath of 11 September would certainly suggest that rhetoric and the figurative did play a major part in the event and the responses to it...The attacks on the buildings were declared to be not just an attack on the US as a whole, as bin Laden suggested; for US Secretary of State Colin Powell, 'It wasn't an assault on America. It was an assault on civilization, it was an assault on democracy', and on 'the twenty first century' itself.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 4
- [A] multiracial thicket of travelers all busily photographing and filming each other and forming an unreal contrast to the secret life inside the compound of the police ministry, like two interlocking realities, one of them cruel and demonic, the other as banal as tourism itself...
Source: The Assignment, p. 48
- [Conversation between Bill Gray and his friend Charlie]
"You have a twisted sense of the writer's place in society. You think the writer belongs at the far margin, doing dangerous things. In Central America, writers carry guns. They have to. And this has always been your idea of the way it ought to be. The state should want to kill all writers. Every government, every group that holds power or aspires to power should feel so threatened by writers that they hunt them down, everywhere."
"I've done no dangerous things."
"No. But you've lived out the vision anyway."
"So my life is a kind of simulation."
Source: Mao II, p. 97
- [Following fascism and Communism] Now it is terrorists who lurk in every shadow, images of terrorist attacks that fill our television screens, and fears of new varieties -- nuclear, biological, cyber-terrorism -- that drive calls for increased surveillance and larger defense budgets. If such Orwellian transformations in the identity of the enemy do not make us skeptical, an element of construction in political and journalistic rhetoric about terrorism, even in terrorist acts themselves, seems inescapable. Bombings and hijackings begin with a few people plotting violence for maximum exposure, come to us on television, where distinctions between news and entertainment are ever more tortuous, and quickly pass into the popular imagination, into blockbuster movies and paperback thrillers.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 1
- [For Boorstin] the spectacle would be caused by the fact that modern man is too much of a spectator. Boorstin fails to understand that the proliferation of the prefabricated "pseudo-events" which he denounces flows from the simple fact that, in the massive reality of present social life, men do not themselves live events. Because history itself haunts modern society like a specter, pseudo-histories are constructed at every level of consumption of life in order to preserve the threatened equilibrium of present frozen time.
Source: Society of the Spectacle, p. 200
- [God] was not dead; he had disappeared. That is to say, the problem no longer even arose. It was resolved by simulation. This is what we do with the problem of the truth of reality of this world: we have resolved it by technical simulation, and by creating a profusion of images in which there is nothing to see.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 5
- [I]f there is anything worse than being subject to the law of others, it is surely being subject to one's own law. The real is something we must not consent to. It has been given to us as simulacrum, and the worst thing is to believe in it for want of anything else.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 12
- [I]t is critical to note that the surrealists' reaction to the Noziere affair is different from their relation to Violette herself as either a body, a subject, or the object of their attention. In the book she remains very much a set of signifiers, never photographed or represented "realistically" like Germaine Berton or the Papin sisters, insofar as her features, appearance, and physicality are not fixed in or by a single image...Breton explains this process of transmutation into myth in the book's first lines, as a function of the media spectacle Violette has become:
All the world's curtains drawn before your eyes
It's pointless for them
Before their mirror gasping for breath
To stretch the jinxed bow of ancestry and posterity
You no longer resemble anyone living or dead
Mythological to the tips of your fingernails
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 209
- [N]ot even this was considered advisable now, since that day not long ago when one duck had veered off, in a completely unnatural way, from the flock that was so charmingly patterning the dark water; it swam toward the shore, and out of the bushes rushed Hendler, the young security guard, shouting "Take cover! Down!" and thrusting Kit and himself down onto the grass, flinging himself beside them, while the duck, which later turned out to be made of wood, ended its unnatural course at a projecting piece of turf and began to spin even more unnaturally. Handler had taken it for a floating bomb, camouflaged as a duck or hidden inside the duck. Fortunately he was mistaken...Ever since then he had been suspicious of the ducks, he even began to distrust the birds he had so long enjoyed observing. Presumably it was possible to develop remote-control mechanical birds which, filled with high explosives, would suddenly switch to horizontal flight and fly through an open window bearing havoc in their artificial breasts, in their artificial bellies..."Even the birds of the air aren't to be trusted anymore."...Come to think of it, mechanical birds were nothing new, and he recalled a conversation with Veronica on the terrace in Eickelhof, when Veronica had maintained that artificial birds flew "more naturally" than real ones, just as wound-up toy birds "walk more naturally than real ones..."
Source: The Safety Net, p. 91-92,93
- [O]ur images of reality themselves depend on the degree of our paranoiac faculty, and that yet, theoretically, an individual endowed with a sufficient degree of this faculty, might as he wishes see the successive changes of form of an object perceived in reality, just as in the case of voluntary hallucination; this, however, with the still more devastatingly important characteristic that the various forms assumed by the object in question will be controllable and recognizable by all, as soon as the paranoiac will simply indicate them.
Source: The Rotting Donkey, p. 257
- [T]error is a sort of convex and deforming mirror of order and the political scene: the mirror of its disappearance. It too seems to come from some other set of connections, aleatory and vertiginous, from a panic by contiguity, and no longer seems to respond to the determinations of mere violence. More violent than the violent -- such is terrorism, whose transpolitical spiral corresponds to the same ascension to the limits in the absence of any rules for the game.
Source: Fatal Strategies, p. 34
- [T]he crime is never perfect, for the world betrays itself by appearances, which are the clues to its non-existence, the traces of the continuity of the nothing. For the nothing itself -- the continuity of the nothing -- leaves traces. And that is the way the world betrays its secret. That is the way it allows itself to be sensed, while at the same time hiding away behind appearances.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 1
- [T]he spectacle is nothing more than an image of happy unification surrounded by desolation and fear at the tranquil center of misery.
Source: Society of the Spectacle, p. 63
- [T]here was no self, or rather, only a countless chain of selves emerging from the future...a process that seemed to imply a fiction of selfhood in which every person made up his own self, imagining himself playing a role for better or worse, which would make the possession of character mainly a matter of putting on a good act, and the more unconscious and unintentional the performance, the more genuine its effect...
Source: The Assignment, p. 24-25