9/11

Zero Dark Thirty and Torture

April 1, 2013

. I held my peace during the controversy over Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty because I was working on an extended consideration of the film and preferred to make my case fully in that venue. Suffice it to say as brief introduction that I think the criticisms of the film, those that accused it of [...]


4 comments Read the full article →

Conspiracies

October 4, 2012

. I was talking with my class the other day about the methodology of fully-developed conspiracy theories and my general skepticism toward them. The undeveloped conspiracy theory works off a form of radical skepticism. How do you know we really landed on the moon? Have you been witness to any of the reality of the [...]


4 comments Read the full article →

(Updated) Impenetrable: The Hollow Rhetoric of Judith Butler

September 10, 2012

. (Update) Tomorrow, September 11, 2012, the birthday of Theodor Adorno, and only chronologically coincident with the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 attack, Judith Butler is set to receive the triennial Adorno Prize, awarded by the city of Frankfurt. Resonant with the themes addressed in the commentary below, originally posted last week at the Algemeiner, is this [...]


12 comments Read the full article →

9/11/11: Home

September 18, 2011

. (The last in a thirteen-part series.) What was the response to 9/11 on the political left, the direction from which was quickly drawn the historical cover of the “squandered sympathies” meme? There is no single answer. The “left” is not a unitary political tendency. It is stalwart, mainstream Democrats in the U.S. and the [...]


2 comments Read the full article →

9/11/11: The Stylus Avenger

September 17, 2011

. (Twelfth in a series) It had been possible in the countryside of so many nations, on another continent, always in transit, to leave the palpable sense of 9/11, if not our emotions, behind. The last day, at Charles de Gaulle Airport amid intense security, and three weeks after the attack, Julia and I rejoined [...]


2 comments Read the full article →

9/11/11: Chomsky Nation

September 16, 2011

. (Eleventh in a series) On October 18, 2001, five weeks after the 9/11 attack, Noam Chomsky gave a talk at MIT, still available on the web in video and transcript form, entitled “The New War against Terror.” He employed the same slippery rhetorical constructs and argumentative ploys as were on display in his half-hearted [...]


1 comment Read the full article →

Little Sympathy to Squander: the American Left & 9/11

September 15, 2011

. (Tenth in a series) The antipathy to the U.S. voiced in the Guardian, on Question Time, from Baudrillard and Zizek – not merely despite 9/11, but in political sympathy with it, if not advocacy of it – found voice in the U.S. too. No small amount of it emanated from The Nation, perhaps the [...]


2 comments Read the full article →

9/11/11: a “Good Terror”

September 14, 2011

. (Ninth in a series) When it came to 9/11 sympathies too absent to squander, Slavo Zizek actually beat Baudrillard to the text. On September 14, 2001, only three days after 9/11, he first posted to the internet “Welcome to the Desert of the Real,” which he revised and extended several times. Later, like Baudrillard’s [...]


3 comments Read the full article →

9/11/11: Goering’s Defense

September 13, 2011

. (Eighth in a series) In the matter of “squandered sympathies,” let history not lose the record that as early as November 2, 2001, fewer than two months after 9/11, Jean Baudrillard notoriously produced in Le Monde, under the title “The Spirit of Terrorism,” a logically homeless piece of postmodern theory-talk that evinced the equally [...]


2 comments Read the full article →

9/11/11: Squandered Sympathies

September 12, 2011

(The seventh in a series) The squandered sympathies meme states that the United States, as a consequence of 9/11, was the recipient of widespread international sympathy and good will. The meme was born as soon after 9/11 as some people began to anticipate U.S. action in Afghanistan, which is to say as early as those [...]


0 comments Read the full article →

Left Bereft: September 11, 2001 and the Politics of the Moral Imagination

September 11, 2011

(9/11/11: the sixth in a series) I have met them at close of day Coming with vivid faces From counter or desk among grey Eighteenth-century houses. I have passed with a nod of the head Or polite meaningless words, Or have lingered awhile and said Polite meaningless words, And thought before I had done Of [...]


0 comments Read the full article →

9/10/01: “Ere the sun Swings his noonday sword”*

September 10, 2011

. (9/11/11: fifth in a series) That much I can give you of these hours.  That much only,  fists and blossom forged by salt, trellising your wounded helixes against our days.  Tell us how to live for we are shades, facing, caged, the chastening sun.  Our eyes are scorched and lidless.  We cannot bear your [...]


1 comment Read the full article →

Twenty-Five Hundred Years before 9/11

September 9, 2011

(9/11/11: fourth in a series) Van Gogh’s Eyes Before my drive to Normandy and my second stay in Paris, I had left Julia in St. Remy-de-Provence, where she taught a photo workshop to the eight students who had braved their fears to fly there less than two weeks after 9/11. I stayed a few days [...]


1 comment Read the full article →

Nine Hundred and Thirty-Five Years before 9/11 (and Fifty-Seven, too)

September 8, 2011

  (9/11/11: third in a series) The Landing at Normandy When, after a brief return to Paris, I arrived in Normandy – a couple of days after leaving Julia behind in Provence – it was with the expressed purpose of making a first visit to the landing beaches, and to some of the countless fields [...]


0 comments Read the full article →

Nine Days before 9/11

September 7, 2011

  (9/11/11: second in a series) Before I made my way to Normandy, I stopped back in Paris, which Julia and I had left on September 9. She now remained behind in Provence to teach a photo workshop. My first arrival in Paris had been ill-omened, but then the connections between our personal lives and [...]


2 comments Read the full article →

Two and a Half Centuries before 9/11

September 6, 2011

  (9/11/11: the first in a series) Long ago loosed from popular memory, the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 was not only a natural catastrophe but a crisis of the enlightenment mind as well. The quake is estimated to have lasted ten minutes, with three distinct jolts. Modern seismological estimates, based on recorded observations of the [...]


1 comment Read the full article →

Labor Day & 9/11

September 4, 2011

  This is a photo of the North Tower of New York’s World Trade Center under construction. Accompanying text from the source reads: The World Trade Center project in lower Manhattan last week entered a new phase of construction. A crane placed the first of 76 huge steel columns, shaped like short-handled pitch-forks, that will [...]


0 comments Read the full article →

Letter from Paris: a Lump in the Throat

March 17, 2011

Yesterday’s Jazz Is entry, a Dexter Gordon film rendition of “Body and Soul,” put me in mind, for a reason you will soon understand that number always now does, of an another experience of the jazz standard. It was September 2001, and I was beginning a sabbatical year with a month-long drive around Europe. Julia [...]


1 comment Read the full article →

The Long, Steep Descent of Noam Chomsky

November 10, 2010

“The explicit and declared motive of the [Afghanistan] war was to compel the Taliban to turn over to the United States, the people who they accused of having been involved in World Trade Center and Pentagon terrorist acts. The Taliban…they requested evidence…and the Bush administration refused to provide any,” the 81-year-old senior academic made the [...]


8 comments Read the full article →

Not Lost in Cambodia, Just Lost

January 18, 2010

Last week I wrote about Andrew Anthony’s article in The Observer, “Lost in Cambodia,” on the horridly naive supporter and apologist for the Khmer Rouge, Malcolm Caldwell, whom the Khmer Rouge murdered for his efforts. Now Oliver Kamm has a follow up. Anthony’s article noted the influence on Caldwell of Noam Chomsky’s skepticism about the [...]


0 comments Read the full article →

Politics and Shame

January 11, 2010

In the concluding paragraph of The Open Mind IV: Riposte, I wrote, To comment generally, the record of the Left’s response to 9/11 and of supporting the Bush administration in its response to that attack – a record I have researched and inscribed– is embarrassing and often shameful. Many conservatives today speak and act no [...]


4 comments Read the full article →