Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Unclear on the Concept

I was thoroughly amused and delighted by the events recounted in today's New York Times. First, one has to admire the sheer discipline and organization that led to physical copies of a faux-times being handed out across New York City. More importantly there is the content of the edition itself. While it is in many respects "too liberal" for my taste, wage caps, taxes that reflect social cost etc., It at least has the advantage of expressing some fundamental fantasies and desires: most importantly the end of the Iraq war.

However, as the article makes clear the "Times" quite simply fails to get it. First of all, it cannot really be called a spoof. Second, it is almost sad to learn that the only response to such an event that the article can imagine is selling a copy of the counterfeit "Times" on ebay. (Dream Big) What the authors fail to grasp is the politics of the imagination: the political dimension of imagining a better world. It is quite possible that many of the people who received copies of the paper felt a moment of elation when they read its headlines. There is something valuable in that feeling, if even for a moment, that another world is possible.

Since the election last week there has been a small scale reaction, laying the ground for a mini-Thermidor, against the tiny, and all too modest progress of change. Articles in the "Times" and elsewhere have sought to curtail the sense of the possible, reminding us that America is a "center-right" nation, lest we get any ideas. What these articles forget, what the "Times" forget is that the political orientation of the nation, and the sense of the possible, are not given, but produced.


Mark_Henderson said...

Did you see this?

Will Roberts said...

Great post, UN. I've been meaning to respond for days, but no time, no time... Maybe next week.