[-empyre-] the bush card

John Haber jhaber at haberarts.com
Thu Feb 7 13:34:43 EST 2008

As I say, I'd hoped that my other comments would be more on topic and 
more productive, on issues relating to (a) the limits of street theater 
as artistic expression and politics, (b) the problematics of claiming 
that one has rejected Western norms or vice versa while playing to the 
camera, and thus (c) the problematics of a global capitalism that 
creates these dilemmas.  And this IS allegedly a discussion about art, 
media, and site-specific in a context of transnational media and cultures.

Moreover, I don't feel terribly obliged to prove my leftist, 
anti-imperialist credentials. I'm a rather lousy poster boy myself for 
Judeo-Christian deontological ethics. I had also put it in the form of a 
question, of how Naam's post should be interpreted, not as a judgment.

Thus even to continue on the subject seems to me unwise. However, since 
people seem to think I have to explain this, let me just note the 
passages that raised the question:

John Gray points out that "projecting a privatized form of organized 
violence worldwide was impossible in the past.  Equally, the belief that 
a new world can be hastened by spectacular acts of destruction is 
nowhere to be found in medieval times...." {. . .]

Within their violent program (what some mistakenly call 
"Islamo-anarchism") is fury at an economic system that has left them 
behind. But you could also argue that it is hypercapitalism that has 
rejected them, because it doesn't know how bracket in communities of 
intense, rigid faith. Perhaps, those you cannot sell product to cannot 
be allowed to exist.

Let's just say that this could be interpreted to mean that capitalism 
makes spectacular acts of violence inevitable and just by, among other 
things, denying faith.  By the same logic, it seems to me, one must 
support the Bush program that 9/11 makes the deaths of 100,000 Iraqis, 
the exile or displacement of more than a million, and the loss of an 
economic future inevitable and just.  One might also then have to accept 
bin Laden's desire to alter the faith and politics of the entire Arab 
world as the Arab world's denial of faith.  So please don't start 
playing the Bush card against me.

There's a problem with most debates about Mideast conflicts, that they 
come down to "he hit me first." This doesn't work for little children at 
recess, and it has an awful taste when the subsequent hits are directed 
at noncombatants.


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