Monday, October 24, 2005

Hurricane horror stories

From today's Salon. Why did false tales of rape, shootings and murder flood out of New Orleans in the wake of Katrina?. Aaron Kinney writes, "By the time Brian Thevenot, a reporter for the Times-Picayune, arrived at the New Orleans convention center on Monday, Sept. 5, the makeshift emergency shelter had achieved mythic status as a place where unspeakable crimes had been committed. Police Chief Eddie Compass had told the media that people were being raped and beaten inside. The New York Times had reported that evacuees witnessed seven dead bodies lying on the floor, and a 14-year-old girl who had been raped. Fox News, MSNBC, CNN and other television news channels had repeated stories of rape and murder there." ...

Kinney can't or won't tell "us" why. The article doesn't really offer anything new. That's why Zizek's "The Subject Supposed to Loot and Rape," is one of the better pieces that I've read on the assigning of "truth" to the stories of black looting, rape ( of first women, then children, then babies), and gun violence.

He writes:

" Even if all the reports on violence and rapes had proven to be factually true, the stories circulating about them would still be “pathological” and racist, since what motivated these stories were not facts, but racist prejudices, the satisfaction felt by those who would be able to say: “You see, Blacks really are like that, violent barbarians under the thin layer of civilization!” In other words, we would be dealing with what could be called lying in the guise of truth: Even if what I am saying is factually true, the motives that make me say it are false."

"Of course, we never openly admit these motives. But from time to time, they nonetheless pop up in our public space in a censored form, in the guise of denegation: Once evoked as an option, they are then immediately discarded. Recall the recent comments by William Bennett, the compulsive gambler and author of The Book of Virtues, on his call-in program “Morning in America”: “But I do know that it ‘s true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossibly ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down.” The White House spokesman immediately reacted: “The president believes the comments were not appropriate.” Two days later, Bennett qualified his statement: “I was putting a hypothetical proposition … and then said about it, it was morally reprehensible to recommend abortion of an entire group of people. But this is what happens when you argue that ends can justify the means.” This is exactly what Freud meant when he wrote that the Unconscious knows no negation: The official (Christian, democratic … ) discourse is accompanied and sustained by a whole nest of obscene, brutal racist and sexist fantasies, which can only be admitted in a censored form."

Read more.


Post a Comment

<< Home