[-empyre-] complicty & a genealogy of disappearance?

David Chirot david.chirot at gmail.com
Mon Jan 11 17:59:59 EST 2010

Dear Nicholas and all:

Now playing: Clarence 'Tom' Ashley - The Coo Coo
*posted with FoxyTunes <http://www.foxytunes.com/signatunes/>*

I think that another form of disappearance much in use today is the use of
rebranding:  a paradoxical disappearance, in that the things remain the
same, yet, via the rebranded name, appear to have "changed," making the same
thing now "disappear" as a NAME. Depending on the depth and distances by
which the new name has "covered up" the former will be the depths and
distances of the palimpsest which contains within its strati the varying
degrees of "visibility," "Clarity" or "obscurity" of the traces of the "old

I think that in this sense rebranding becomes a method for essaying to put
distances between names and things so that "complicity" whether "real" or
"assumed," is "assumed" to have been "gotten rid of."  For example, in a
previous note in which i remark on the "distance" created by rebranding the
"avant-garde" as the "avant" or "post-avant," the change of names might be
examined as an effort to put distance between the "old school" avant-garde
and the current "avant," in order to do away with the linking of the art
worlds with the military and military-industrial worlds in the term
"avant-garde. (Worlds might be also thought of, named, as "spheres,"
"theaters," "zones," etc.)

Simply to be aware of an assumption, to have "recognized" it as such, does
not necessarily mean that it disappears; on the contrary, the assumption may
now be examined also as a means of making something rise not simply to the
"level of consciousness", but to "push the envelope further" and accept the
assumption as attaining the “distinguished” status of an idee recue--that
is, an idea, a concept, an image, which is accepted unquestioningly at the
same time that one is aware that it is an assumption  For, after all, if the
idea is so wide spread--viral, global--does not this very wide-spreadedness
guarantee that a "majority" (in the polls, in items sold, in courses taught
about, with, for it etc. . . ) unquestioningly recognize the assumption
itself, whether or not it is an assumption—as something which has been, can
be, taken to be, if not “absolutely, verifiably,  true”, then at least as (a
widely recognized)  an idee recuee, a cliche, a stereotype, a “profile.”

Here the "majority rules," as an assumption assumed to be one of the
"hallmarks" of "democracy."  The assumption, brought to the level of
consciousness, "carries the day democratically" so to speak, and may be
thought of as not ceasing to exist itself, but to be steadily making other
things disappear by its "advance." The more widespread, the greater the
depths, which the "majority assumption" has reached, covered, rebranded,
"shifted," detourned, the more it will disappear while hidden in plain
site/sight/cite.  The very immensity of the assumption, and its "apparent"
"all over effect," a la Richard Wagner's Total Art Work, makes of it that
famous "elephant in the room" the consciousness of which "towers above" the
previously constructed ones.  This makes of the New Assumption a "stealth
juggernaut;" an analogy of which might be "seen" literally, for example, in
the sudden appearance of the Steroid Bodies in Professional Baseball in the
period roughly 1997-present. Here, the complicity is a widespread one of
truly Gargantuan, Paul Bunyanesque actions, complicities, moving from the
trainers and their assistants and associate in the locker rooms to the
doctors, the managers, coaches, owners and the Commissioner himself.  yet,
though it was and is obvious to anyone seeing the sudden immense jump in
size in the 1997 season--everyone turned a blind eye to the problem for as
long as possible, in order that the Steroid Home Run derbies--as well as all
manner of other records falling by the wayside--"rescued" baseball following
the period of strikes and strike shortened seasons.  Complicity here was
indeed an immense elephant in the room which everyone saw, but, by breaking
it up into different "cuts of meat" in order to blame one area at a time of
those complicit from another,  the "blame" was spread around and eventually
narrowed in on just a few major figures, the players of course,. to absorb
the blame and pay the price--the workers at the "bottom" of the hierarchy,
so to speak, get hell for the sins of the whole Institution f baseball,
which is not covered by anti-trust laws.

In a sense, by cutting off the avant from avant-garde, the current avant
rises to shift the level of complicity from itself, and lay the burdens on
the avant-gardes like Futurism or many aspects of Modernism.  However, the
simple shifting of language in order to make things disappear, as seen in
politics of the avant and the politics as a whole of the USA--in simply
shifting a word both the avant and politics are complicit in essaying to
distance themselves from accountability when it comes to say, torture--so
though it continues to be a widespread practice which continues to have
drastic effects on the American language, it is assumed to have
"disappeared," , it has a blind eye to it, because President Obama said that
it would stop, even though his administration continues on an even grander
scale than Bush's to make use of torture and to build more secret prisons
while making the Kandahar torture/prison/rendition flight air filed larger
and larger and larger--

For myself, since 9/11 especially, all language in use in the USA are in
complicity with the actions of torture, what Pierre Vidal-Naquet calls the
"cancer of Democracy."  Even if one does not deny torture, or the US support
of the Apartheid State of Israel and its war crimes, as well as those
committed daily by the USA--even if one does not deny that these are
happening, there is still the sense in which these things are accepted as
part of "homeland security's" long reach not only at home but abroad also
making it possible now for the President to pick any person any where n the
planet and have them brought to the USA and detained indefinitely without
any charges being pressed against them

Torture is just like a Russian artist’s description of language, that it is
a fascism not because it silences, censors, but because it "forces one to
speak."  It does not matter what is said by the tortured person--no one
cares if, as so often happens, the person is lying--what matters is that
they have been FORCED TO SPEAK--thus eliminating their "fields of choice"
among varying degrees of silences, agreements, disagreements, lies,
truths--the forcing to speak as it were, while producing language, destroys
language as anything other than complicit with the actions and desires of
the torturer.

I have been writing pieces for Jerome Rothenberg’s on line developing
anthology of outsider Poetries and Writings--I noticed it written in a post
today that there is a question of there needing to be an outside if there is
to be a chance for a fotm of critique of complicity to arise. One might go
further which is the basic question that is--is there an Outside at all? To
these far reaching, devouring complicities supplying the endless tape worm
hungers of the gigantic maw of nothingness and control--is there an
Outside?  Or is the Outside in large part eliminated by being devoured on
the one hand and on the other, like Chairman Mao’s famous "May a hundred
Flowers Bloom"--being forced to speak in order that it be identified and
then--executed, disappeared--with "speaking up/out" becoming an immediate
self-identification necessary to one's being sent to the collective farms or
to disappearing into the long rolls of documents being scrolled into
oblivion on which the names are named as the persons vanish—a “roll call”
called in order that the person answering can now be removed as it were—from
the rolls of the living—that, by proclaiming oneself “present,” one has
assured all and sundry of one's imminent absence.

The Israelis employ a term for that State’s resident citizen Arabs:  that
they are “present absentees:” that is, while they exist in name and in
person for NOW as citizens, residents, since the strategies and policies of
the States are to make them imminently non-persons both physically in name,
they exist for now simply as those suspended between as it were “being and
nothingness,” between presence and absence, between their being present as
yet as presences, and their being very-soon-to-be absences.

Ass another form of complicity with “disappearances, absences,” the Iraeli
State unveiled last Spring in the subway tubes of London travel, vacation
posters for Israel which are not the current “Israel” but the “Greater
Israel” which is the ultimate goal of the policy of ethnic cleansing and
land settlement the State is using against the Palestinians living inside
“greater Israel” and as such being still present on maps via place names and
other indications of presence, appearance.  To “speed up the process” as
well as to assure the invited guests of an absolute Security, the psaters
have “time traveled” to the point in time which they shall be in fact,
verifiably, true “on the ground.”  Al;ready, before the phsycial fact is
attained, the Palestinians have “disappeared” from a form of consciousness
associated with the State: i.e. that its “greater Self” already exists, and
that those impediments of the map’s Past, have disappeared.  Where to is not
a question which the posters, maps, tourists, need be concerned.

Complicity takes place in language before it appears physically—or, in its
own way, may reverse engineer names so that those of the present have
already as it were conquered those of the past.

When one assumes that such maps, posters, stetements of a State or other
entity are “unquestioningly true” because of the ‘trust” which one places in
the maker of the statements, the maps, the posters, one has been “roped in”
as it were, as an accomplice “after the fact.”
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