Wednesday, June 15, 2005


The scandal narrative is (was): revelation, investigation, expiation & punishment, and return.

Mark Danner notes the change in our prevailing narratives from Watergate era to this moment. "What is that the heart of the scandal, the wrongdoing, is right out in front of us. Virtually nothing of great importance remains to be revealed." "What distinguishes our time - the time of September 11 - is the end of the narrative of scandal."

This is from a speech to the graduating English majors at Berkeley this year and so highlights the role of humanities thinkers as critics commited to truth and reality (in the current radical sense, contra the reality-making of the Bush regime). Danner doesn't elaborate on what caused or permitted the freeze at revelation. Why there isn't a narrative propulsion to investigation and expitation? Where is the need for narrative profluence? Or is there a different narrative? Are discoveries easily absorbed into the rhetoric of narrative of disgruntled elites and putting our men & women in uniform at risk - cultural class war and sentimental nationalism. Or is it a non-narrative - is the discovery of facts not a revelation of betrayal or contradiction from some presumed reality? We already knew Bush was keen on invation. Shit happens. We're at war. WMD don't matter. No rupture, no story, hence no movement.

Published in The New York Review of Books 6/23/05 (p. 53).


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