Sunday, June 12, 2005

Following the Simulation

I have been massively negligent in not posting for a long while now, somewhat busy and somewhat silenced by the stream of media and governmental (they are the same) iconography. I am afraid my posting may remain spotty for the next six weeks as I am off to Europe and am unsure of the conditions of internet cafes as the great socialist experiment (who knew?) of Western Europe collapses and the Islamists who have taken power in the Latin quarter burn all the sparkling globe-flattening technology the christological free market delivered. But I just wanted to pop in and point to an excellent Frank Rich column. Frank Rich, although somewhat decadent, has shown a remarkable ideological staying power in nailing it to the fascists. His point here, about the revelation of "Deep Throat"'s identity and the media coverage which essentially constituted the covering-over of the Nixon Administration's wild crimes, and a certain similtude between that administration's arrogance and information-control and this one's, doesn't even go far enough. The fact remains that not only is Watergate being covered up AGAIN, for a second time, and not only is the present administration taking steps to end the possibility of a "Woodward" or a "Bernstein" (I am unconvinced of the reality of these metonymic figures) occuring again, but Watergate, or similar scandals, are taking place ALL THE TIME. Given the poverty of actual information the public has of the labyrinthine machinations induced by our government, and given that the great deal of information we are allowed to possess in all its incriminating detail is startling, we must assume that scandal is perpetual, ongoing, and that criminality is the defining feature of those who decide what is and is not a crime. Jean Baudrillard, the batty French critic who may be the greatest observer of American politics since De Tocqueville, called the Watergate "scandal" an alibi. He argued in Simulations and Simulacra that Watergate was allowed to happen as a sort of blood-letting, and that the revelation of a single scandal within our government is necessarily formulated to distract us from the fact that scandal is not the exception, the drama of an "All the President's Men," but rather the reality on the ground, the happy cost of doing business. Indeed, when you realize that Mark Felt was the fellating and trans-gendered figure of revelation, a career FBI agent and a statist acting in order to conserve a certain power structure, you see that Watergates ever so often must be revealed, if only for a moment, a three or five year window, in order to convince us of their theatricality, in order to be televised, to make the scandal a fiction. But the scandal is the real, and the fact that there has not been "another Watergate" is simply evidence of how deep the American public and its duplicitous media guardians have fallen into an epistemological and ethical abyss.

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