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I'd just finished putting a COMMENT below about how I preferred the deliberately (?) 'flat' comic book FX of THE HULK to the more hyper real blockbuster norm... when Entertainment Tonight [SKY 3, 10.55] launched into an on-set report on Oliver Stone's forthcoming World Trade Center... and how some of the actual NYC rescue workers had been "flown to a Hollywood sound stage" where "what they found was so realistic they couldnt believe their eyes..."

Now, I can't (yet) articulate this fully in a snappy Zizek way, but something about this strikes me as obscene. Obscene in and of itself, before we even get into a politics of recuperation under way here (a different kind of 'rescue'), which duly issued forth in teary eyed (but gruff, stolid, manly) declarations about "some good among the ruins" and how this blockbuster was a "tribute to the thousands that died" (what, including the terrorists?).

Cue clip of rescue worker shakily writing a goodbye note in the dust and wreckage ("I LOVE you" - except LOVE here becomes a HEART symbol, presumably in deliberate echo of the long time New York advertising gimmick), and an avalanche (sorry) of syrupy glutinous gut curdling strings as one rescue worker asks another if he can "still see the light?" This combo of hyper real reconstruction and bargain basement cliche epitomises the kind of macho sentimentalisation I was talking about the other day... it brings to mind all those hypocritical articles written in the immediate aftermath, in which media 'workers' mimed self absement and promised: NEVER AGAIN. Never again media triviality, supposedly. Yeah, right. World War 3 is gearing up in the Middle East right now and the media is WAG COCAINE SHAME and Big Brother idiocy and Is Anne Coulter A Man? (I mean - I'm not distancing myself here, I'm as bad as anyone else, or, if I'm not, it's only measured in minute degrees of relative seperation.)

Who will play Oliver Stone for all the dead Lebanese civilians? What greetings-card notion of "light" is searched for in smouldering ruins and refugee camps and bombed out cities across the Middle East, today?

One of the many things that is so infuriating about Israeli actions here, is that they seem almost designed to reap another few decades of mirror-image hatred and conflict. They could just inflict strategic wounds and so called 'targeted' assassinations' of (at a stretch) 'legitimate' targets. But by decimating the conditions of ordinary social and working life, and by producing so many grieving sons and fathers, they have effectively insured the next generation or two of 'terrorists' for themselves and made targets of their own civilian population. A politics of 'Hate thy neighbour' plays out with armed men standing safe and secure behind the tattered screen of cowering civilians.

Meanwhile, the G8 leaders talk about measures to be put in place in Beirut that will "give Israel a reason" not to carry on with its attacks. This stripe of language, too, is almost unfeasibly obscene. (Try it out in a conversation with some Lebanese - or indeed Canadian - mother or father who's just lost their home and entire family: oh, sorry, but we're just digging around and staining our combined brain power to come up with something we can take to Israel on bended knees that is a "reason" they shouldnt blow the unholy shit out of whatever pic nicing or beach attending or dinner serving family of civilians it picks out of the stagnant air this week...

If Israel were to stick to strategic targets (Hamas, Hezbollah) it would be one thing. (All talk of contexts and precedents in the long historical grind aside, for a hypothtical moment.) But a situation in which it deliberately seeks the fear and humiliation of civilians and the suspension of civilian life, in a neighbouring sovereign state, should be called for what it is - terrorism, plain and simple.

And the least of all tragedies procured here, might be loss of a certain faith - how for someone like me who grew up (properly: grew, assimilated, learned) with his head in certain modernist books, something like 89% of my 'ethical' world view was produced by imbibing Jewish culture in one form or another. Thus falls another sort of grief, pining, angry, confused, within my very soul.

posted by Ian 7/17/2006 10:59:00 AM

i think one of my main "tools of critical suspicion" (read: pitifully obvious get-out clause) kicks in whenever the distinction arises between matters "trivial" and "serious" -- i was once on a panel, as a last-minute dep for j.savage, to talk about some aspect of pop, and one of the other panellists decided to switch HIS topic of discussion from "nortions of surveillance in pop culture" (or something like that) to "how Gulf War 1 was caused by videogames" -- ie from cultural kipple, as aguirre called it, to REAL ACTUAL GROWN-UP PROTEST and WORRY (GW1 was just then raging)

this left me a bit stranded, and also -- i found out after -- nettled many members of the audience, who'd paid (a lot -- it was at the ICA) to see what he'd first promised, not what he last-minute switched it to

anyway i didn't have much option, so i talked -- not from notes -- about how much more important pop is in a world full of so-called grown-up politics

i think this guy's instinct was understandable, but i still think he was also being an engagé one-upmanship d!ck
BTW: i actually comment on the unworkability of 'trivia' v Serious in Comment box below [the Nick Drake/bad Girls one]. NB, this is getng a bit 2 Foster Wallace, isnt it? Comments within comments about comments...?
haha well my hem hem "anti-foster wallace critical tool" = never reading what anyone else has said till after i've posted!
Terrorism my arse. Who are the actual aggressors here? The Lebanese government has admitted it's powerless to deal with Hezbollah (ie Iran by proxy) so it's down to Israel to sort them out, now they've gone on the offensive. What's the alternative? Surrender?

And more to the point, what do Hamas and Hezbollah actually want? (Silly question - the inner logic is obvious....) Israel isn't going anywhere and there will never be any lasting peace until the Arab world recognises this and outgrows its psychopathic fantasies.

Do us all a favour and channel Julie Burchill on this one - she would cut through all the default "enlightened" drivel with GUSTO.
PS That last sentence sounds as if I was personalising things more than I meant to - I was actually alluding more to Guardian/C4 News pieties...
Who's the psychopath here?
The Jewish writer Michel Warschawski has analysed how the atrocities of Israeli occupation—from the sack of Ramallah to the massacre in Jenin, the razing of houses and refugee camps, shooting at ambulances and hospitals, the use of Palestinian civilians as human shields— brutlaises Israelis themselves, and how each new ratcheting up of violence and subjugation pushes back the boundaries of what was previously thinkable... I mean, just reverse the picture: if Israel had "legitamately" (as is alays said) "captured" two "prisonrs of war) (I.e. two grown adult men, wearing the military unifrom of the 'other side', taken as prisoners of war), and then the Hamas/Hezbollah "response" had been the ad hoc murder of more than 200 civilians (a lot of them children) - you can just imagine how a lot of the media and the politial Establishment would play that one out cannt you... Sometimes the disjunction between what one sees Israel doing with one's own eyes, and how it is reported or referred to, beggars belief. Taking two adult soldiers hostage in order to bargain for the release of other (political) prisoners - as against the concerted and deliberate bombing of innocents. Which sounds more like terrorism? And God forbid I should channel JB on this - I love her like a sister, and all, but on anything Arab/Israel she has an appalling record of flat out quasi-racist drivel, which at times has been VERY hard to see past.
Fuck Julie Burchill! Overrated rent-a-mouth who's done more to turn 'feminism' into a joke than Wolf and Dworkin combined. A mean-spiriterd bigot who flaunts her working class roots like a get-out-of-jail-free card (like that other pub landlord Tony Parsons), while writing drivel for any number of right-wing rags 'saying the unsayable'.

Enough kipple. Now I'm getting angry. Whoever the 'anonymous' is on the comments post should realise his racial/ cultural distinctions between 'terrorism' and 'defence' i.e. if poor people do it, it's 'terrorism'; but if governments do it, it's 'defence'. Israel has a military ambition hugely disproportionate to its size and economy. It is basically a colony for US interests. So much for 'Israeli identity' (which seems to mean 'Jewish with added military spending'!). THE ONLY NUCLEAR POWER IN THE MIDDLE EAST IS ISRAEL, but somehow we're supposed to see them as 'vulnerable'?

Anyone see Niall Griffiths last night? Leaving aside his dodgy interpretation of history as a race war (with Western empires easing 'ethnic resentments' - yeah right). His notion of 'war by proxy' was spot on. The Israelis have been conducting it for the US since WW2. The result? Seemingly permanent instability in the region, growing nuclear tension and a worldwide resurgence of anti-semitism. The vitual aphartheid Israel practices keeps wages low and military needs high. Like the cud-chewing Afrikaaners who clung to their pathetic notions of 'identity' and 'self-defence' while being used and largely fucked-over by corporate interests (the only reason Mandela was let out was because he promised to preserve those interests: 'reform not revolution'- but hey, he got to meet the Spice girls, whatta guy!). The international impotence towards Israel is a fear of the US. That's why both 'nations' get to bomb with impunity while other nations get threatened for even thinking about nuclear technology. AGUIRRE ANON
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