The Phantasm of American Greatness

On January  17th 1991, when the U.S. president George H. W. Bush initiated Operation Desert Storm as a response to Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, the U.S. found itself putting to the test what has today become known as the principle of a ‘Televised War’. As Jean Baudrillard famously observed, the entire Gulf War only took place as a televised simulation that was produced by the CNN and other major news networks, who reported from the battlefield as the conflict unfolded. Journalists were reduced to actors, action-oriented scripts guaranteed narrative when nothing was happening, cameras framed American war-machines flying above the desert as if they were about to save the world, and the mise-en-scène ensured exhibitionism of high-tech military gear. So extensive was the emphasis on machines and technology, one could have almost forgotten that this war was fought by and against human beings. Baudrillard’s claim that “the Gulf War never happened” aimed precisely at the fact that the public perception of the war in question was completely configured by a certain televised image of war, which the media constructed through a goal-oriented production-process, and which served as an Ersatz for the real physical event that remained in the dark.

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Lies – Imposture – Stupidity (Review Essay)

The task of philosophy, Deleuze tells us, is not to provide ‘solutions’ to philosophical questions, but to create concepts in order to respond to problems that exert an undeniable demand to be addressed. Such responding consists in the mere fact of addressing the problem, that is to say in the ability to disclose a previously concealed conceptual domain, in order to articulate the problem in the first place. If disclosing of that sort ever takes place, it is because the world in which the philosophical thought is situated puts forward the task of articulating something that initially lacks the clearness and distinctiveness of Cartesian ideas, yet stubbornly resonates with our intuition. Propelled by such resonance, our intuition is driven to orient itself through what is traditionally called logos, with the aim of articulating in words something that until then remained ineffable, but by no means negligible. 

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