May 19, 2011

Mission Accomplished and the Specter of Terror

Mission Accomplished.

An ambiguous phrase that should be not only be met with a passive skepticism but an aggressive negativity. What was the mission. Have the last ten* years been about one man, one spirit, the singular manifestation of all our angst. The War on Terror is an equally as ambiguous term. A war against Terror, radicalism, against all negativity, and Evil inherent in our dualistic world. Usāmah bin Muḥammad bin ʿAwaḍ bin Lādin was the first target of this undeclared war. As the alleged leader of the attacks on the World Trade Center Usama became the "face" of the War on Terror. A picture supplanted in the masses to give the ambiguous "War on Terror" an appearance, to appease our insatiable desire to see our enemy, to know their presence, physical features, to ensure that we are never caught off guard again. It is part of our obsession towards the end, towards finality. An incessant desire to embalm the specter of terror as to make sure that it will never return to seek vengeance. However the Enlightened mind was delayed in its pursuit of that ghastly figure, the spirit that haunted The War on Terror, and the American national conscience. Bin Laden remained elusive and slipped further and further into the void of mountainous tribal lands. Bin Laden's immanent spirit gradually disappeared and left our immediate ability to grasp, capture, and manage the uncertain principle of Evil that lay inside its ghoulish composition; America began to feel haunted.

The paranormal shift undertaken by the spirit of Usama bin Laden can be witnessed by the change in media coverage or interpretation of the event of terror. Our information outlets were thrown into uncertainty and speculations began to surface at an increasing rate and in contradictory fashion. How many times did we hear "We know where he is", "He is dead", or a number of rumors to explain the mysterious disappearance of our not so friendly ghost. Our response to our curse was characteristic of the way we handle most challenges. We disavow the issue in a predictable stage of denial in wake of our failure and produced innumerable reports and speculations that attempted to reanimate the thrill and feeling of certainty that America once felt about its neighborhood spirit. Attempting to pacify our fears we told ourselves that we still held the advantage convincing ourselves of our impervious nature. As our nation coddled its neurosis in simulacra Bin Laden's phantom figure hovered above subtly infiltrating our thoughts by remaining indifferent to our desperate need to escape the uncertainty, his reluctance to relinquish the anthropomorphic grip that he held over the Western powers and their ability to resort to their familiar, convenient, and privileged tactics. Veni Vidi Vici. "I came, I (over)saw, I conquered".

We had been haunted for ten years, that is until the "Mission Accomplished".  The phantom no longer resided in the blind spot of America's dominance, hidden in the depths of America's Shadow. His ghastly nature was now property of the United States government and with this beautiful acquisition uncertainty was possessed in its physical manifestation, and it came in the form of a corpse. Again his spirit becomes immanent in the most natural sense. His death brings about a renewal of certainty in Western consciousness. We will always know and be able to predict our ghost's actions, thoughts, and behaviors and never again will he be able to advance against our weakness in the face of negativity in the face of chaos.

However there is an intriguing turn our story takes after the culmination of its destiny. Do we feel relinquished from our hex? Relieved from living under the shadow of Terror? As the debacle of an illegal assassination unravels we come to a gripping realization - now that we have retrieved the spirit and consumed its energy in a symbolic sacrifice we feel as though the sacrifice was sufficient. Time continuing in its victorious and fatal strategy over the human experience began to corrode the meaning of Bin Laden's spirit. The event of his demise took place almost as a whisper and then most predictably was amplified by all levels and channels of media. Then in the midst of our celebration the inevitable talk began. What significance does this have now? The prevailing consensus it seems is there is one less terrorist in the world. A net decrease of evil that pollutes our atmosphere of thought, politics, and culture. As though trying to avoid drastic climate change we solute every effort no matter how pathetic in nature (US has to kill a man to make themselves feel better) to cleanse our consciousness of all inhibition, contradiction, and anomaly. Mission Accomplished spurred an orgy of self-confirmation, patting ourselves on the back, reassuring ourselves that we are still the superior people, an advanced post- industrial nation that holds the world(and all of its inhabitance) in the palm of its divine hand. This childish and spoiled response characteristic of the liberal notion of entitlement revealed the general inferiority of the United States in the face of a primitive opponent. An enemy that should have been easily defeated under scientific calculation. Bin Laden haunted this truth and contradicted its validity unraveling the regime by removing the ground upon which it was established.

May 17, 2011

The Legitimacy of Blogs

Are blogs legit? Since joining this site this question has been lurking in the back of my mind. Since many of the contributor were/are involved in debate we often deal with the question of what is qualified evidence. I would like to get writers and readers take on the legitimacy of blogs when used as evidence in situations such as legal issues and debate.

My personal take is that it is 100 percent legitimate. Several state supreme courts have used blogs and wikipedia. I'd like to hear everyones opinion.

P.S. Does the author being qualified change the issue of an average blogger? If a professor were to write a post on LoF is it more legitimate then ours? I think we should also have a discussion of what determines an author's credibility


May 16, 2011

What Does It Mean to Be a Revolutionary Today?

Soem cool stuff I found while playing around on youtube. Enjoy.

I suggest watching them in order.

May 10, 2011

What is Performance?

Posted Image

What is performance debate?

Just a little over a year ago I was called a "project debater", then since the summer of this season I've been called a performance debater? The questions that I have is what makes a performance debater different from a regular debater, and what makes a regular debater not a performance debater? Isn't all debate a performance?

May 3, 2011

43 Years Later

43 years ago in France students protested political bureacracy within the educational system and the existence of class discrimination. Today their movement which forced the government to hol dnew elections and almost oust de gaulle is seen as a failure. 43 years later the same things these students protested in May of 68 and on March 22nd 1968 still exist.

I thought this post was necessary because May Day and all other important events in May seem to have been pushed to the side by a U.S. wetworks operation.

A single non-revolutionary weekend is infinitely more bloody then a month of total revolution.

May 1, 2011

Graffiti Series Part I- Graffiti as a Strategy of Communciation

I hope that all the authors of this site comment on these posts and provide their own interpretations on the importance of graffiti, each of us has a different background and other points of view are appreciated.

America views graffiti as trash, as an obstacle to having a "clean" or "normal" society." The majority of the graffiti that appears in urban neighborhoods across the U.S. is often affiliated with gangs and organized street crime. This graffiti is seen as ugly but serves a purpose to those who throw it up as well as those who live in areas near those who put up the graffiti. Typical gang graffiti is called "tagging" it is certain logos that are put up to establish territorial boundaries for gangs. They are often also used as warning signs once in the neighborhoods of how things work with a certain gang's territory. This trashy graffiti is not very different then the political graffiti seen in cities across the U.S. such as Berkeley or Austin. Both types of graffiti serve to communicate a message. While gang graffiti does have an underlying violent trope it never the less acts a medium of communication to convey an important message.

The political graffiti of the U.S. is easy to understand as a strategy of communication--it conveys a political opinion. Instead of analyzing the political graffiti of the U.S. I would like to examine the political graffiti that has appeared in history. As rebellions occur so does graffiti. Many separatist groups and rebels have used graffiti to convey political messages, pass secret messages and to confuse the enemy.

The French partisans (during World War II) used graffiti in highly German populated areas to communicate secret meetings. Instead of writing in french or German which was easily interpreted by the Germans they used names of historical french figures as code. These simple messages scrawled deep in enemy territory were used plan secret meetings that helped bring down the Nazi regime. An older French example of political graffiti was during the french revolution, the poor peasants used tomatoes to paint cries for revolution on walls throughout the city.

A more recent example of insurgent graffiti is the protests throughout the middle east. In Libya most notably hundreds of messages yelling for democracy have sprung up not only in Misrata but in all the major cities showing diffusion of rebellion. The Libyan graffiti has taken on a different trope then the graffiti of the rebellions in Bahrain or the graffiti that had showed up in Egypt. Libya's graffiti appears to be synchronized. The messages and words are unified and the same messages appear everywhere unlike Egypt in which countless different phrases and messages popped up, it is almost as if the rebels are using graffiti as a tactic to confuse and attack the enemy on a different front.

This Post was a brief intro to some communicative uses of graffiti. Below are several pictures of political/insurgent graffiti for your viewing pleasure.

This caricature of Gadhaffi reads "The Monkey of Monkeys of Africa" a play on his self given title of the "The King of Kings of Africa"