Tag Archives: fiction

PART FIVE The Archive and the Record: Memory, Obsession, the Discourse of the Miser and the Dustbin of History

Is it any wonder, then, that the “discourse of the miser” has emerged as the dominant mode of being among the world’s economic elite and their underlings? What does $7 000 000 000 000 look like? Is it even an object of possible experience? Or is it, like the Kantian “noumenal object,” something that is known (or suspected) to exist, even though it cannot be experienced directly through the senses? (For example, the universe AS A WHOLE is known to exist yet cannot be a sensible object; likewise, but also somewhat dissimilar, is the existence of God, which is entirely negative, that is, the existence of God takes on the contours of positivity in proportion to the level of doubt: it is not belief in God that makes God exist, it is doubt.) The crucial difference between $7 000 000 000 000 and the universe as a whole (and, even, the existence of God) is that $7 000 000 000 000 is entirely fictional: it is purely an object of the archive, each dollar is a byte of information in the collection. The fictional status of money in no way detracts from truth-value or truth-effects—in fact, this is what sustains the monetary system: the truth, after all, is structured like a fiction (Lacan). The idea of the miser is compatible with the notion of the archive put forth: today’s miser is busy collecting information that resembles money. (Also, the deregulation of banks has allowed money to pass into this new form of “spectral-information;” essentially, banks no longer need to have money in order to loan money, which has resulted in the shift from the good old fashioned “discourse of the capitalist” to “the discourse of the miser.”)

sneak peek, “the discourse of the miser”

Immanuel Kant’s question of the day: “Is [$7 000 000 000 000 USD] an object of possible experience? Or is it merely [bad, speculative] fiction?”

OK. I cheated—that’s two questions.

Why I Did It, A Terrorist Manifesto (part 18, End)

[This is a fiction I co-authored with Louise Norlie. I have published the story in serial installments, every Monday for the past little while. Read the entire story here.]

In this dream I burn
And so does the world
Everything
Even the pavement beneath my feet
The glass hanging vertically above me
The air shot through with hot white embers.

Here I breathe the freshest air I have ever tasted
Burning flesh and hair smells sweet, not acrid.

Despite the fire I am cool, at room temperature.
I listen as screams fill the air when night descends

Even the stars fall, icy to the touch
Striking me with a cold burn
Not the explosive heat of a sun.

The burning beings of the world flock to the stars
But the heavenly glaciers do not save them.

A drunken moon devours the junkie sun
Regurgitates it into a burning ocean
It fizzles and dies with a hiss.

Yet when the dream ends
I do not wake in a sweat.

Why I Did It, A Terrorist Manifesto (part 17)

[This is a fiction I co-authored with Louise Norlie. I will be publishing the story in serial installments, every Monday for the next little while. Stay tuned.]

I shouldn’t have been surprised that they prevented me from ending my life as I planned.

By this, they committed another act of terror. They kept me alive when they wanted to see me die.

My final attack went awry and a S.W.A.T. team apprehended me. I offered no resistance, I dropped the detonator I held in my left hand, I put my hands behind my head, and I lay down – face down. They surrounded me, assault weapons ready. Handcuffs were placed tightly around my wrists and my feet were cuffed as well. I was treated roughly, just at the limits of abuse. Predictably, the officers held back from true violence.

The headlines surrounding my capture were numerous. I even heard that a few of the radical presses were hailing me as a “hero,” which I never considered myself. I received hate mail while in prison, mixed with an occasional letter professing admiration, even – absurdly – affection. I was offered several interviews by the major national networks. I declined them all.

On my way to my preliminary hearing, the public showed up in droves brandishing pictures and relics of the ones they had lost due to my attacks. There were screams of anger directed at me. I could feel the hatred emanating from the crowd. I could feel their rage, but not one of them had what it takes to act; I commend the police for intimidating these animals into merely vocalizing their discontent. The situation was not without a certain sense of humor. The police, in their heavy riot gear, had to protect me from them. I told them, “We can dance,” and smiled widely. The media assumed I was gloating in my victory (what victory?). We arrived at the courthouse over two hours late.

*

I hired the best lawyer I could, and I got off with life in solitary – a disappointment in more than one way. I was placed in maximum security with criminals arguably worse than myself. They created a community amongst themselves out of their hatred for me.

Even in prison, a criminal among criminals, I am an exile.

For some reason, people wanted to visit me. Reporters of all sorts, leftist politicians, right-wing religious extremists, academics who were studying the “terrorist mind,” women with a taste for “bad boys,” and simply individuals I may have inspired or ones who may have wanted to kill me – I refused them all.

*

I take responsibility for my own unhappiness. If I am unhappy, it is not because of others. That is the way society says it has to be: to each his own. Never mind what they took away from me and continue to take. I live with the rules they set up and I put up with their politics, day after day. Each day I see people succeed and fail, I see them rise above and get trampled. Most of all, I see people just getting by and they seem happy. I do not make the rules, yet I am forced to obey them. I am in prison, but who will be punished for what they have done and what they continue to do?

Why I Did It, A Terrorist Manifesto (part 16)

[This is a fiction I co-authored with Louise Norlie. I will be publishing the story in serial installments, every Monday for the next little while. Stay tuned.]

You may think I am cruel, that I am a sadist. Nothing could be farther from the truth of my desire. I took no pleasure in hurting and killing people. What I took pleasure in is the fear that hurting and killing inspires in others. If terror could be achieved some other way, it is quite possible I would have opted for that. But nothing – NOTHING – makes people afraid like the threat of being hurt, possibly killed, and “nothing” is not an option for me.

*

To inspire terror in God, does one torture an angel?

*

I am not sure when, but at a certain point, I lost my passion for terror. It just seemed like everything else.

However, I had been terrorizing for so long that a life without killing and maiming not only seemed impossible but utterly unlivable. What was I to do? Return to school? Why? To prove, like a marathon runner, that I could achieve something meaningless, something anyone could do? Get a job? Again, the only possible reason I could see myself doing this would be to live the “American Dream,” trying to blend in despite my absolutely nightmarish existence.

No. In the end I decided to go out with a bang. I thought it better to end my life than live a life without being manifest terror.

Why I Did It, A Terrorist Manifesto (part 15)

[This is a fiction I co-authored with Louise Norlie. I will be publishing the story in serial installments, every Monday for the next little while. Stay tuned.]

I poison medicine and finish the sick
So there is no hope of recovering
So families mourn my fallen patients.

I set spikes on roads where traffic roams
So the speed of life becomes fertilizer
So haste ends in hideous fusion of flesh and pavement.

I set libraries ablaze and immolate all inside
So desire for knowledge is turned to an oven
So ashes feed the future flames of ignorance.

I plant razors in beaches
So sand lovers turn cripple
So gulls feast on dried blood.

I design weapons that wound
So dying seems not too bad
So death is the choice to being maimed.

I create forces that annihilate
So no thing can flee from this sure end
So no will obstructs my revenge.

All of this, and more, I do from mortal hatred.

Why I Did It, A Terrorist Manifesto (part 14)

[This is a fiction I co-authored with Louise Norlie. I will be publishing the story in serial installments, every Monday for the next little while. Stay tuned or look back.]

I saw it on television, where else?

It was the first time I had witnessed the effect and aftershock of one of my attacks. I had driven a few miles away from where it happened, to a seedy country western bar. I sat down and looked up. I surprised myself by how calm I was. My hands, though grimy and covered in sweat, did not shake.

The people in ambulances. The people with ash on their faces. Blood.

My heart took wings, and I watched.

It is futile to say that they had no idea what happened to them. They never would. This was life. It had been part of their lives before. It would always be part of their lives, with me or without me.

A reporter stood in front of the scene. Feigning shock and disbelief. Then a commercial break.

Others in the bar started to chatter amongst themselves, muttering lukewarm oaths about what they would do if they ever “got hold of that psycho bastard.” I felt like confessing right there, just to see if they were more than just ghosts, if they would put their flesh at risk to live their words. It was not worth it though – I had work to do.

After several minutes of commercial breaks, the news telecast went on to another story.

What gives advertisers the right to attack our psyches, with methodical, intentional, and frequently successful tactics based on fear, the aim of which is no less terrible than anything I have ever done?

Or, better yet: Whom?