What is Hollywood, you ask, dear children? A quorum of whores babbling endlessly on about fucking while the bordello is razed for a penny arcade -- Paul Bern

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


"For many national citizens, the practicalities of residence and the ideologies of home, soil and roots are often disjunct, so that the territorial referents of civic loyalty are increasingly divided for many persons among difference spatial horizons: work loyalties, residential loyalties, and religious loyalties may create disjunct registers of affiliation."

A few more thoughts on OBL before he vanishes again into the ahistorical.

Impure spaces. Capital no longer requires the “technology” of the nation-state. Why, after all, should power be made to flow through the ancient and constricted aqueducts of the fabled Hegelian state?  There are now many contenders for the post-statist impure political space, but the paradigmatic community of this sort is the internet, i.e. the real home of Bin Laden, the virtual culture-hero. 

So what sort of rhetorical battle was Bin Laden fighting? Was it the old anti-colonial/anti-imperialist battle of 1945-1989? Was he a political fighter, or a peculiar type of baudrillardean image specialist? A creature of western security agencies? Or a Dostoyevskian nihilist? All of the above. He’s a baffling nowhere man:  a rich Saudi playboy fighting his family’s chief benefactors, the Sauds, living most of his adult life in exile by launching an apparently quijotic war against the ghostly spirit of the United States, which no longer exists in a certain place, in any case. A titanic battle between virtualities.

At its most utopian, Islam preaches a sort of “withering away of the state” through a perfectibility of human action, an ideal community without need of either despots or ulama: the ummah. That utopian sense was lost in the chaotic maze (from the outsider’s perspective, naturally) of Islamic jurisprudence, which was perhaps a necessary conservative move to protect Islam from its human tendency to fragment and schism along tribal lines.

Mirrors: labile terrorism imitates airmobile capital; It is inconceivable without it. Mammon too has his utopian ummah, which exists above and beyond its political and financial structures.

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