Wednesday, September 12, 2007

This is is not about difference, for a change.

Well, it is not, and yet it is. It's about a new book - The Shock Doctrine - which I am definitely gonna read. It's about the short youtube video linked below (again, a youtube video is worth a thousand words...) which talks of violence, whether state perpetrated or a natural disaster, and how human beings relate to it.

It could be about difference though, if you ask what is one of the main political techniques of mobilizing support in times of a crisis. The wise politician knows that people need a scapegoat - and they deliver it in the form of the marginal groups, who can be easily identified by their appearance. We always seem to need a scapegoat to make sense of crises.

The good thing about such works is that they are not bound by the academic rules. Just like Michael Moore's stuff, they are meant to puzzle you, to have an impact on you. And of course, that's also their bad part. If you really are critical, you cannot avoid asking yourself if these are not generalizations, based on partial evidence, stories constructed to present an argument meant to impress. Conspiracy theory. No answer here.

Link to book review in the New York Times

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