April 11, 2003

Momus essay on war as fiction.

from the piece:

"No matter how inspired they are by imagination and fiction, the actions we take, here on the timeline of now, are real. What Bush means when he speaks so often of a 'moment of truth' is not that something irreducible and authentic -- something 'real' -- is about to be recognised. He would like to mean that. But, on the contrary, Bush really means by 'moment of truth' that something fictional -- an element from his 'illusory space', his ideology, 'the project' -- is about to impact on the real world. He means, in other words, that a piece of fiction is about to be forced, by means of spin, money and military might, to wrap around the realities of the world, rather as you might wrap a flag -- pure metonymy, pure ideology -- around a rock.

"With the authoritarian privilege of the author, Bush says to the world 'This is what happens next'. And no matter how ridiculous, how fascist, how murderous, how reductive, how damaging, how retrogressive his proposal might be, it becomes, because he is 'the author', fact. Everything which resists his fiction-become-fact is 'irrelevant' and starts to head in the other direction -- facts like NATO and the UN start to look distinctly fictional. His chapters replace theirs. A chapter heading of his, 'Shock and Awe', replaces the alternative, 'Dialogue and Contain'. And meanwhile, real people die. Real people die in order that he might bring closer the reality of his fictional template, his illusory space, 'The New American Century'."

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