why American culture is tragically obsessed with violence, and the ways which Americans fantasize about using violence personally, socially and politically as a prime principle of cultural power. At question is how we imagine the heroic implementation of violence, and how this implementation of violence has become the bedrock of the American national identity. It reveals what Americans care most passionately about.
The thing was that the facts of the Cold War are far messier than the simplicity of this heroic narrative. They are far more ambiguous than the flat surfaces, where the gaps in this heroic narrative don’t add up. In Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA, Tim Weiner tells that the CIA was not nearly the clever intelligence agency of our popular imagination. The CIA’s history is replete with intelligence failures, and in essence, failed as an agency in the Cold War due to a lack of mission. They were designed as an intelligence agency. But they did way more than espionage. They engaged in counterrevolutionary measures9781433203022, called black ops, across the world. They set about, in large part, to remake the world according to the narrative of American power, and sided with military juntas in the so-called third world in order to do this. As Weiner writes, “In World War II, the United States made common cause with communists to fight fascists. In the cold war, the CIA used fascists to combat communists” (39). This resulted in fascist coups in places like Chile, Argentina and the Congo, and lead to the assassinations of democratically elected leaders like Patrice Lumumba and Salvador Allende.
One of the curious fables in the Book of Genesis involves the episode involving the Curse of Ham. The story goes that the patriarch Noah had been planting, and one day drank too much wine, […]
There is a running joke in the Road Runner cartoons when Wile E. Coyote, the archetypal ravenous fool, runs off the cliff in pursuit of his prey. Each time, he is at first unaware that he has run out of road and keeps running on air, and doesn’t really fall until he realizes what happened. The mute troublemaker holds a sign: “yikes!” We’re there, folks. Sometimes this mid air moment occurs in slow motion, could take years even. But, you know, gravity. Even Icarus fell.
I made a short film in 2011 called “Captivity.” It was a reflection on the state of our historical moment – late capitalism, reality tv, torture movies – you know, junk culture. Oh, and this […]