Wednesday, 3 January 2007

On 9-11

Slavoj Zizek argues that the Sept 11th terrorist attack on the New York Twin Towers ‘recalled the other defining catastrophe from the beginning of the twentieth century, the sinking of the Titanic’ [Zizek, Welcome to the Desert of the Real, p.15]. One interesting feature of the comparison is precisely the way it focuses our attention on the airborne nature of the collision: instead of the (mobile) embodiment of Western technical/ideological triumph crashing into the (unyielding) Natural Necessity, Sept 11th gave us the reverse. The iceberg flew suddenly into frame and collided with the titanic towers. It recalls Malcolm X’s famous interpretation of black America history, about not landing on Plymouth rock, but having the rock land on us. In other words, the striking thing about the Sept 11th catastrophe was our atonished realisation that an iceberg, as it were, could fly.

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