symbol = thing, or, the power of myth

The symbol is the thing: wearing wires from your fingers means that you have created, or in fact are, a bomb-threat.

"A 21-year-old college student could spend years in jail on bomb threat charges after he stood silently outside a military recruitment office dressed like an Iraqi prisoner: in a black cape, hooded, wearing stereo wires hanging from his fingers. The police charged Joseph Previtera with making a bomb threat since the stereo wires resembled wires to a bomb."

A tendency to equate the symbol with the thing signals an equivalence; of the leader's face to the body of the nation, the body to the bomb. This equation, when in favour of the State, expresses the formula of patriotism. When against the State, it expresses equivalence to the thing itself (or its intent). Dissidence equivocates an actual enemy (add: combatant). It signals the spiral, the inversion upon which law begins to turn, around and around, rotating into the compression of the centre where all are quashed. A contemporary exercise of the law in the United States of America. The tendency of this law in its collapse of symbol and thing comes to define the authoritarian; its mergence to the leader of the State, a despotic convergence. But it is quite possible that the contemporary despot is more than one. Beyond recognition, then, of the situation, to -- ?

Not really "fascinating" to note, but observe here how Michael McCarthy, of the Boston Police Department, constructs a condemnation of education as not teaching "common sense." It is always in defense of "common sense" that oppression and the tendency to authoritarianism finds its wellspring.

The original protest, with links to coverage (pictures).

The follow-up protest (pictures).

Thanks to Klintron.

Reading: Fascism, Aesthetics and Culture. Ed. Richard J. Golsan. Hanover: UP of New England, 1992.

posted. Thu - July 8, 2004 @ 01:07 PM           |