9 ago. 2011

Perloff on 9/11

Click here for complete article. Perloff makes a strong point here:
"I think that many have turned away from our own species in dismay at what it has wrought and turned toward other animals as a locus both of the other who calls us to ethics and of many of the things that, in our various modes of ethics, we value: purity of affect, unselfish altruism, absence of genocide and infrequency of random, unmotivated violence, and connection to what is for us a source of powerful spiritual experience."

I sympathize with the pain and disillusion with politics that could lead a thoughtful critic to such conclusions, but such apocalyptic talk of the human species destroying the planet is predicated on the curious denial of both history and geography that is characteristic of our post-9/11 moment. [Marianne] DeKoven knows very well that, in fact, we cannot just turn away from our species in dismay and give our attention to other animals, seemingly less violent and more altruistic than ourselves. It is a manner of speaking used to dispel the nagging suspicion that America is no longer No. 1, that our vulnerability to attack is an index of the loss of power that is rapidly bringing other nations to the forefront.

4 comentarios:

Leslie dijo...

Is it really normal to be so dependent on the idea that "America" is "#1" and that it is "safe"?

I just can't understand it, although I was born in th 50s and raised in US, so I guess I should.

But I don't remember "America" being safe - I remember assassinations, riot police, and so on. How odd is this? I don't find it odd at all but it seems that normal is to have had 9/11 feel like a watershed, "loss of innocence," and so on ... I can't help feeling that is some kind of propaganda.

Jonathan dijo...

She's attributing a motive to DeKoven that DeKoven may or may not actually have. I have no idea. The part I liked was the insight that such a statement cannot be taken on its face. People say those kind of things without really meaning them.

Leslie dijo...

Isn't she saying the "deep issue" is that we have a vague awareness that we might not be #1 any more?

That's what I wonder about. Or do you mean that the 9/11 as loss of innocence, loss of power trope is just something people repeat, without meaning it? Why do people repeat things like that, that they don't mean? I really am clueless on both points - one, why it was so much worse for people that there was a terrorist attack "on American soil" than elsewhere, and why people say things they don't mean (because they're the cool thing to say?).

Jonathan dijo...

Perloff is attributing the quote about animals to another, hidden motive, because it is impossible that anyone could be so stupid as to think that animals can provide us with an escape from our own species. People also repeat the intellectually lazy things that you mention. I don't know if Perloff is correct that this is the true motive behind this kind of stupidity. Perhaps the first writer really does believe what she is saying.