March 1, 2013 - admin

Volume 39, Issue 2: The Charisma of Impending Doom: Disaster Solidarity and Emergency Mentalities

In the drive toward its ‘Global War on Terror’, the Bush administration famously claimed that one was either for ‘us’ or for the ‘terrorists’ – each and every man, woman, and child in America was suddenly reclassified as either an anti-terrorist combatant or an evildoer. Since there were no longer bystanders, everybody was also reclassified as a legitimate target of annihilation (Worrell, 2013). The sacralization of 9/11 resulted in the metamorphosis of all reactions into various phases of what amounted to an American jihad. The ‘Global War on Terror’ (i.e. the military aspect of post-Fordist speculative hegemony) is over, in name, but the holy war continues unabated (Worrell, 2011). Indeed, the days of periodic war have given way to continuous warfare on multiple fronts. Just as war has become a fulltime American occupation, natural and social disasters (‘superstorms’ and floods, rapacious energy extraction and the proliferation of ‘sacrifice zones’, collapsing mar- kets and corporate bailouts, ballooning student and consumer debt, budgetary fiascos and austerity, manufactured political crises, and massacres, etc.) now tumble along unrelentingly (Austin and Clark, 2012; De la Barra, 2006; Fasenfest, 2010; Hassan, 2011). There is a propensity for self- destruction, just as we saw with the war on terror, to make the abnormal something sacred and, in so doing, risk discounting the value of everyday life in the mad dash to combat monsters. The charisma of the emergency cannot and will not increase the value of those who create value in the humdrum, routine world of the everyday…

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