Skip to main content

Speech Acts of Violence

As Judith Butler showed us, and as the assassination attempt in Arizona reminds us, speech acts - especially political commentary in the public sphere - can be violent - and lead to more violent acts.  The sheriff in the case was quick to draw the conclusion that incendiary rhetoric was potentially to blame, and it cannot be ignored (nor has it been) that Palin's website had stamped a gun target over the district of the shot congresswoman Giffords (who is doing as well as can be expected at time of writing).  At times like these, one wants to draw comfort from the hope that good can come from evil deeds - that perhaps this massacre will dampen the powder keg, and   spoil the Tea Party.

But, as was seen recently in Pakistan, assasination of liberal and brave speakers can simply be a herald of more anarchy to come.  At stake here is, at least, this: the world is becoming increasingly intolerant of difference; fundamental positions are hardening; deafness is the new default position; and those not with us are against us.  For all the social networking hype, we are a world at war, and contra each other.  The media, Murdoch most of all, seems, in the West, to be profiting from this Babel of nasty idiocy.  It needs to be reined in.  And, if America was saner, there would be fewer guns around - note that this gunman was not shot down by a pistol-packing citizen, but "wrestled" to the ground.
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

AMERICA PSYCHO

According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…

DANGER, MAN

Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…

OSCAR SMOSHCAR

The Oscars - Academy Awards officially - were once huge cultural events - in 1975, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Shirley MacLaineandBob Hope co-hosted, for example - and Best Picture noms included The Conversation and Chinatown. Godfather Part 2 won. Last two years, movies titled Birdman and Spotlight won, and the hosts and those films are retrospectively minor, trifling. This year, some important, resonant films are up for consideration - including Hidden Figures and Moonlight, two favourites of this blog. Viola Davis and Denzel Washington will hopefully win for their sterling performances in Fences. However, La La Land - the most superficial and empty Best Picture contender since Gigi in 1959 (which beat Vertigo) - could smite all comers, and render this year's awards historically trivial, even idiotic.

The Oscars often opt for safe, optimistic films, or safe, pessimistic films, that are usually about white men (less often, white women) finding their path to doing the right thin…