Friday, December 07, 2007
Another way of destroying the evidence.
The torture tapes you won't get to see. Okay, so the CIA tortures. No surprise. The empire permits itself a wide range of disciplinary technologies, from drowning to rape to electrocution to burning to the use of incapacitating drugs. There is also the technique of "Palestinian hanging", the tearing off of skin, and the use of phobias and humiliation. This baroque assortment of bipolitical measures are known, in the pious language of American political culture, as "enhanced interrogation techniques". Furthermore, its allies, such as the risible "President for Life" Hosni Mubarak, are sold torture equipment to keep their own populations in line. It's a global management technique, the obscene obverse of its Disney-led seduction efforts. (Do you ever actually sit down and watch this Disney shit, by the way? Every one, every single production, is a charming retelling of 'the American story': variously, kings are bad; everyone can succeed if they apply their own unique talents; diversity is better than social justice; girls are feckless, and men are heroic; bad guys have British accents, and good guys - even Parisian rats - always have American ones; etc etc. What do you mean, 'its obvious'?) Since the term seduction has itself been pre-cooked and marinated in bullshit sauce, it's always worth remembering that seduction is a form of attack. In this case, it's a deadly inducement to forgetting, offered by the most determinedly forgetful culture industry on the planet. If you forget about the vast, unprecedented scale of the global application of violence and terror by the American empire since its inception, which you are always invited to do, it is no longer incongruent to hear of American troops "discovering" an "Al Qaeda torture chamber" (in Iraq of all places), and then to hear the most explicit advocate of torture in recent US presidential history moralise about it. You don't absolutely have to burn the tapes, although it helps if you know there are no spare copies knocking around: you simply have to erase its memory in public culture. Populate the terrain of idle thought with fantasies of slick violence, pornography, furry rabbits, car chases, technophilic bondage, evil dictators and heroic troops, talking tortoises, revisionist history, opulent glamour, etc etc. "Come on," the empire exhorts, "there must be something we have that you want. Forget about that guy getting whacked, he hates you anyway, doesn't like freedom. Actually he's a real misogynist, did you know that? Bad environmental politics too. And he's a torturer - some people are real bastards. Hey, go behind that velvet curtain over there and I guarantee you'll forget all about this messy business in five seconds."