October 24, 2005

We would have full enjoyment, if only...


Lenin, again on endemic and worsening poverty in the USA. But even after Katrina has exposed the reality of America's internal Third World, the fundamental fantasy of the US Right remains robustly in place. In Lacanian terms, a subject's fundamental fantasy takes the form of a statement of this type: 'I would have had access to enjoyment if only X hadn't stolen it from me'. The US version of this is a slight variation: 'we Americans have full access to enjoyment, but we are preventing from experiencing it because others want to steal it from us' or 'our access to full enjoyment is blocked only by those others who resentfully pretend that we don't have such access.' In this fantasy, Americans are positive, optimistic, while the Other - 'Old' Europe and/ or 'Islamofascists', or their supposed fusion in 'Eurabia' - is negative, embittered, backward-looking. One of the most baffling and infuriating aspects of those who fall victim to the fantasy is their absolute conviction that, in their heart, everyone wants to be American. I'm sure that the disaster in Iraq is in part a consequence of this fantasmatic conviction. It is not so much that the Bush regime failed to think about how to deal with resistance to American occupation; it is that such resistance was for it at the time unthinkable. The expectation was that the US Army would be warmly greeted by all Iraqis, proclaiming: 'yes, bring us your 60 hour working weeks, your pornography, your spiralling debts, your obesity and heart disease, give us it now, it's what we have always wanted...'

Posted by mark at October 24, 2005 06:24 PM | TrackBack