Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Spencer – ‘Attacked From Within’

“The simultaneous publication of these three texts [Baudrillard’s The Spirit of Terrorism and Requiem for the Twin Towers, Paul Virilio’s Ground Zero, and Slavoj Zizek’s Welcome to the Desert of the Real: Five Essays on September 11 and Related Dates] on the first anniversary of 9/11 presented a unique opportunity to assess both relations among prominent voices in critical theory and the political meaning of aspects of theoretical discourse. Readers who are familiar with these authors will not be surprised by the dominant perspectives and some of the ideas in these texts: Baudrillard's negotiation of the simulacral and the real, Virilio's critique of the extensions of military technology, and Zizek's appeal to Lacanian concepts are all on display. Baudrillard, Virilio, and Zizek use these frameworks to address the significance of 9/11, but the centrality and contextualization of the World Trade Center attacks differs considerably among them. In contrast to Baudrillard's self-enclosed and sustained inquiry into the impact of the WTC events, Virilio's analysis of techno-scientific progress makes only occasional reference to 9/11, and Zizek's study of the political meaning of the terrorist attacks engages with a vast range of cultural and political material. Rather than being associated with conflicting opinions, however, such differences create a variegated map of consistent critical reaction. One of the effects of 9/11 is therefore the emergence of a theoretical solidarity that encompasses positions that in other contexts seem opposed or incompatible. The appearance of solidarity is due to the political priorities that animate these texts.” – International Journal of Baudrillard Studies.

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