Monday, September 05, 2005


Apologies for the cross-posting. The other version is better edited. Slightly.

Steve Gilliard:
"Well, motherfuckers, and that means you, fat ass Goldberg and your master, Rich Lowry, PNAC Bitch Beinart, the racist wannabe white Malkin and the little fucktards at LGF, Bareback Andy and "Diversity" Instacracker, all you backstabbing, fag hating uncle tom ministers, you can see Dear Leader in action. America's largest port is gone, maybe forever, gas is $5+ a gallon and FEMA is coming. Whores come faster with old men than FEMA is getting to NOLA.

"How did your wartime President react? Like Chiang Kai-Shek when the Yellow River flooded in 1944, with corrupt indifference.

"Bush, the man your fever dreams built into the next Winston Churchill when he is really the live action Chauncey Gardiner, has failed to everyone, in plain sight, without question. Rick Perry is trying to save his ass, but it ain't working. NOLA looks like ANGOLA and that ain't flying.

"Say 9/11 changed everything now, motherfuckers. Ooops, 9/11, 9/11. 9/11. Doesn't work anymore? Gee, maybe the sea of alligator MRE's once known as the citizens of New Orleans has something to do with that. Now you can shut the fuck up about 9/11. Bush just proved what would happen with another 9/11. Dead Americans as far as the nose can smell." (via McLemee)

Dead Americans of a certain socio-ethno-economic class, yeah. And we know how much this "President" appreciates and looks forward to working with them. Process and Progress and Long Term Commitment, lalala! Zero tolerance: Destroy the city in order to save it; and it's nice when nature and the heart of darkness lends a helping hand.

Somewhere, in a sterilized airplane, at a posh restaurant surrounded by paramilitary bodyguards, they are factoring in the inevitable catastrophes facing the world's poor--especially in cities along the coast, the soon-to-be refugees. They are predicting collateral damage to their Cause of Fr$$dom, and speculating how best to turn a profit, whose toys to use to clean it all up. Before, it was always supposed to happen Over There.

But no, those meetings were never very serious. They took place over an evening's dark glass, almost as an afterthought, really, to the day's heavy expenditures of three-word memorization, golf, fishing, a nap. They insinuated and hinted back and forth at each other, over well-kept lawns, as to who could care less about the poor, pretending that their wives couldn't hear and understand (but when the wives talk, amongst themselves, they are truly just as bad, if not worse). Bigotry, greed and cynicism masquerading as maturity, the closest space between you a laugh at the "libruls," the "hippies" expense, made pallatable through self-consciously thick layers of mock-irony. But on every important question, your lack of motivation, stemming from a lack of confidence in the process of your thought, ensures your default to the big other's position. Your priorities are without fail nothing short of exactly wrong. You do not even appreciate how one formulates priorities at all.

They would one-up each other, sometimes bowing to decorum, but it was always clear who was the boss. Living for that moment when the other is made aware of being put in his proper place. You begin to depend on decorum alone. And whenever this little game failed, there was always some new distraction to entertain, another drink to make, an early morning on the rise, though it seems to you the sun, itself made for you, is forever setting.

No practical conclusions were ever reached; nothing certain was ever put in place. After all, as a business venture catastrophes are hard things to guarantee. And finally not being prepared is after all part of the fun of being in charge, when there are no consequences to face. Those "debates" are long over, thank God, and people just accepted what was said about them anyway. The poor are not about to show up in the Oval Office; anyway the room is mainly used for goofy ceremonial purposes (and what is the same, TV shows) these days. The poor are not about to vote, and if they do it would still be easy enough to twist their words.

Sometimes you worry about your own incapability within language. But honestly, with such responsibilities (or so you are told), there is no small comfort in being left a Mime. So long as you are pampered, just enough.

The is it possible to speak of "the poor" without speaking for them? To bear witness. Those "collectively unseizable" and cursed, in a sense, by profound paradox: On the one hand, in your mind they are utterly dispensable, Muselmanns, "turning Moors." In Levi's description:
"Insistently marked for their failure to submit to a logic of value and capital, the Muslims are "the men in decay [with whom] it is not even worth speaking." They are the "weak, the inept, those doomed to selection," those who stopped fighting, living dead or walking corpses...turning ghosts. (Gil Anidjar, introduction to Jacques Derrida: Acts of Religion, 2002)

They wade through the waters of filth, refusing to be rescued. It is a statement of dignity. On the other hand, it is their very existence as 'subjects to capital' upon which the future "health" of the system depends. Their smiling faces are a tribute to our great success. Their anger must be accurately measured, diverted and contained. They must not be allowed to realize the full potential of their place, of their residence on the porous margins. We must not show them wandering for too long, lest we begin to question ourselves. You are crazy for refusing to be rescued. For refusing to be put on a plane by a soldier arriving unmistakably days late, to not even be told where you are being taken. The last time they claimed to be saving you, they locked you up.

They must not realize their potential as last men. The world cannot stand to bear witness to that. They must be exploited up to a point, as indignant and shameless, sensational limit-figures but then at once herded back into the fold (or, what is more profitable, away to prison), their right to every silence "rescued," pictured, patented and clichéd under an artifical sky. Silences plugged full, or turned into hollow echoes, concrete bars and buzzers, ceaseless noise.

Still, you can relate to their relative incapability within language.

Token gestures are now necessary. This is the "real" disaster: a public relations test of your maturity. You dread such moments, like you dread the dentist, or perhaps the memory still of a little league game. But the memory is strong (you are careful to make it so) of the time when you "excelled"...when you "came into your own" and "found your stride." You are a "War-Time President." The memory of that moment is strong. (You never knew they had that in store for you, but you were not without your suspicions. You are not as naive as everyone thinks. You tell yourself this, secretly, sometimes. It seems to help. That and the toys you get to play with. The first order of business in making a President, let alone a War-Time President, being to make him believe, and so seem, that he is Presidential. Presidential to you means power. Loyalty to power. And above all freedom from extraneous self-doubt. Still, you needed a strong hand to steer you on the course; you would have been nothing without that original hand, and the guilt of being undeserving is likely something you will never live down. Your pride has been wounded--indeed you once thought of yourself as a well-liked guy. The effort required to keep this delusion intact is monumental.

Token gestures are needed; you know they are needed. There is a nobler cause your friends are serving. You know they are your friends. Some of them were your daddy's friends. Some of them were your daddy's daddy's friends, though some of your daddy's daddy's friends are now dead. Time must be made to work for the vacationing investors once again. Everyone is back to help you. And believe me, you need it. It's amazing what can happen in the space of a few weeks vacation. A press conference with pursed lips and folded eyebrows, a face squeezing with the very effort to convey..."effort." A first lady's frozen smile; the kissing of clean babies and tragic, yet strangely smiling children (you don't need to know that moments earlier your aid has made their day with a crispy George). To be filmed against a papier-mache backdrop, food stand and water coolers demonstrating "relief in action." You weren't told they would be torn down as soon as the cameras depart. And surely you don't care what the foreign press reports. After all, they are forever "Over There" in some land where we send our children to murder other children, to come back maimed, numb and poisoned like all good motherfucking "heroes." Which is better than being a no-good highschool drop-out, you charitably figure. I mean it's a good thing nobody ever fixes the schools in this fucking country, helps the parents attain a dignified quality of life, or decides to pay the teachers, otherwise the cool kids might end up doing more than just getting motherfucking shot at. How you loathe those cool kids. How you envy their potential, their shells of self-mastery, and their power. More Presidential than you will ever be, because there are some things that soundbites and commercials cannot fake. Every time you speak, you feel their eyes, their eyes, their eyes. Each pair responsible for the murder of eighty others, Over There. Civilians. Eighty pairs of innocent eyes in each killer's stare.

You cannot fathom it. You can't even come close.

From PTDR: What Happens to a Race Deferred; Hurricane Katrina as Class Warfare; Racial Reality and the New Orleans Nightmare

Remember these images:

See also TomDispatch and Times-Picayune.

What will it take for the African-American to recognize the Marrano, the Muslim, the Arab in herself? Perhaps a flood?

No comments: