Saturday, October 07, 2006

he Secret of George W. Bush's Power: the State of Exception

In 2005, Factory School published a book by Francis Shor, a professor in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies at Wayne State University. Entitled Bush-League Spectacles: Empire, Politics, and Culture in Bushwhacked America, it brings together some of the entries that Shor wrote between 2001 and 2005 for such liberal news/commentary "blogs" as Common Dreams, CounterPunch, The History News Network and Bad Subjects. The book is divided into four parts, all of which refer to the "spectacle": "The Spectacles of Empire" (essays about international events); "The Spectacles of Politics" (domestic events); "The Spectacles of Culture" (domestic pop culture); and "Countering Bush-League Spectacles" (domestic political action). Shor begins his collection with a preface that, in its turn, begins with a quotation from Guy Debord's The Society of the Spectacle: "The spectacle cannot be understood as a mere visual deception produced by mass-media technologies. It is a worldview that has actually been materialized." But what Shor says right after this epigraph proves that he doesn't really understand Debord. To him,
Spectacles have played a significant part of empires and public life throughout history. From the circuses of Rome to the Nuremberg rallies of Nazi Germany, the staging of public events for mass mobilization has served the interests of the ruling elite. However, in this era of the society of the spectacle where images dominate beyond just the media environment, the spectacle is even more integral to the functioning of society. more..


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