While screening clips of American soldiers fighting in Iraq and analysis of the insurgency spews forth from the mouth of an expert on the conflict, Fox News's scrolling news ticker reports Homeland Security's terrorist alert level on loop, warning its viewers that terrorism, namely Islamic, continually threatens their daily lives. However, the term terrorism is ambiguous. Its sheer emptiness as an objective word is propagandized to cement the belief that the American nation is under siege. Of course, it was due to the belief in a persistent external threat, terrorism as in Saddam Hussein's supposed potential ability to terrorize the United States with biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons, that the public backed President George W. Bush's decision to declare war on Iraq in 2003. However, the looping of the 9/11 attacks on television screens for the weeks after the cataclysmic event solidified the siege mentality, which had been compounding upon itself for years, in the United States creating a populace that was ignorant of their complicit support for the spectacle and the neo-liberalism it espouses. However, equally terrifying as 9/11 is the terror of the maintenance of the status quo through the forceful expansion of the spectacle and its neo-liberal values. The expansion of the spectacle has severed neo-liberal populaces from reality via instantaneous telecommunication promoting instantaneous fear and the subsequent desire to be sheltered from external threats. And yet, the people mechanically promoting the spectacle are unaware that through their support they are, in fact, caught in a perpetual cyclical terrorization.
[...] As Virilio states, whole world has become too small for the peace, this civil peace between nations and their respective populations now threatened by a never-ending state of emergency that of another ‘state of siege' that is, this time planetary.” The globalization of the spectacle has caused societies to strike out against the spectacle, as on 9/11, creating disequilibrium within the international system that inevitably causes international conflict. Yet, there is still a return to the utilization of instantaneous telecommunications promoting the mechanisms of the spectacle as a means to placate those disturbed at the invasion. [...]
[...] Within the framework of the spectacle, Virilio remarks, “Each of us is metamorphosed into a divine being, at once here and there, at the same time. Whence our arrogance: I could say what I think about what is going to happen to a guy in six months or fifteen hours in the Arabian desert, although I know so little about him. It is totally absurd.” Under the spell of the spectacle, the vast majority of individuals came to the assumption that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons. [...]
[...] Paul Virilio writes: With the liberation of the media and the appearance of networks such as CNN, time dominates that is real time. A practical duree that permits no reflection, no critical distance, a time lapse that no longer distinguishes from the before or after Henceforth joined together, neither for or against war or peace, but right up close, in a conflict of proximity that is also a conflict of interpretation, since we no longer have the time needed to develop an opinion, instead only enough time to pass from one reflex to the next. The individual, seeing images of the carnage in Iraq, is immediately distracted by new images of a kidnap victim only to have their attention diverted to forest fires in California. [...]
[...] Virilio explains, can now analyze, at home rather than over on enemy turf, the doses of terror metropolitan masses can withstand.” That enemy turf can be the inner cities to the mountains of Afghanistan. Regardless, everyone is aware terror is just around the corner. Why? Because the media says so. The consistent stream of information that is currently available dually allows for a fearful resignation from reality coupled with the façade of empowerment. Inside homes, where individuals keep sanctuary from the violence outside, audiovisual media has become a means for education, acting as a voice of benevolent authority. [...]
[...] The spectacle wins the hearts and minds of the vanquished. The most apt example is Japan, which after World War Two became a leading participant in the spectacle. The Japanese have embraced and assimilated the tenets of western pop culture, distancing themselves from their heritage and reality. The deterioration of individual capacity for critical analysis and the symbolic bridging of geo-spatial distance via instantaneous telecommunications have reinforced the collective siege mentality, creating a city of panic, which allows for the unconstrained expansion of the spectacle. [...]
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