Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Bombing for peace

The danger when we operate wholly in a world of representations and images is that we begin to mistake that world for reality, and to believe that by manipulating symbols we can automatically change the reality they represent.

We lose touch with the reality behind the symbols.

Grisly death becomes collateral damage.

Torture becomes enhanced interrogation.

A bill to gut pollution controls becomes the Clear Skies Act.

Defeat in Iraq becomes victory.

War becomes peace.

Hate becomes love.

Slavery becomes freedom.

The Orwellian ambition to render language incapable of even expressing the concept "freedom" has nearly been fulfilled.

Not by eliminating the word, but by converting it into a mere image, an empty shell, a brand.

How can the voices of protest be effective when everyone discounts all speech as image, spin, and hype?

Whatever you say, it is in the end just words

Take heart: the evisceration of the language that makes our tyranny impregnable also ensures its eventual demise.

The words, numbers, and images over which it exercises complete control are less and less congruent to reality.

Such is the folly of the infamous "Brand America" campaign, designed to burnish America's "image" abroad.

The image has become more important than the reality.

Bombs blow up innocent civilians to send a "message" to the "terrorists."

No matter that this message exists only in the fantasies of our leaders.

They are, like those they rule, immersed in an increasingly impotent world of symbol and cannot understand why the world does not conform to their manipulation of its representation, the pieces on their global chessboard.


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