September 11 attacks

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 [...]


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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 [...]


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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 [...]


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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 [...]


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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 [...]


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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 [...]


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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 [...]


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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 [...]


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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 [...]


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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 [...]


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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 [...]


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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 [...]


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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 [...]


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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 [...]


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Madrassas, Mosques, Migrations II

June 17, 2010

2. Mosques Bad feelings, it should come as no surprise, are not good for us. Anger, resentment, bitterness, even hate are all human emotions – they are emotions, so they are human – but we are told they are not healthy emotions, and surely, in time, in the experience of them, we feel that they [...]


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