The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

November 14, 2004


General Principle of Narrative (Violence) Under Capital

1. The general principal of narrative under capital is _withholding._

2. In withholding, information, which would propel the narrative forward,
is withheld in order to lengthen, not enrich, the diegetic flow.

3. Within capital, lengthening implies additional penny-dreadful or
feuilleton segments.

4. This is accomplished by suspense, but beneath the 'sign of capital,'
withholding is literally the order of the day.

5. Withholding is accompanied by local omniscience.

6. Example 0: In the book of Job, Yhwh waits until the three friends and
Elihu have finishes their dialogs - at which point, the configuration of
his power is enunciated. Note political economy, enumeration of children,
servants, flocks, etc.

7. Example 1: In Dracula, Van Helsinger leads various people at various
times to Lucy's crypt, demonstrating the corpse is or is not present,
without explaining his belief in her vampirism, which is only revealed

8. Example 2: Almost any television/film: "What happened?" - "I don't have
time to explain. Come with me." - or some such.

9. Example 3: Almost any US newscast? "Why did _x_? - We'll tell you after
the break."

10. Example 4: The US military control of theoretically omniscient
reportage or critique: the "embedded" journalist who becomes an
advertisement for ideology and policy.

11. Example 5: Lyotard's differend returned with a vengeance: The
withholding and withering of entire populations.

12. I don't have time to explain. Come with me. I can't tell you yet. We
don't have any time to lose. You'll see in a while. We can't discuss this.
We can't bring the cops in on this. The authorities would be all over us.
We've got to go it alone. Believe in me. Trust me.

13. The Christology is apparent: Believe, not because it is absurd, but
because of the fury of fast-forward time. Not a moment to lose: Kill the
heathens. Fallujah? No time for the convoys. We've got to move on. We've
got to move in.

14. The withholding promises a completion at _the end of time._ You'll see
in a while. Hold your horses. Dramatic time is time deferred, pornographic
time, differance-time.

15. The time of capital is continuous deferment. Iraq, Iran, Syria, USA,
Belgium, Netherlands, France, Tiero del Fuego. The chain is random,
arbitrary, except for the withholder. The withholder makes it up as it
goes along. The withholder has a grand plan. The withholder is national.
The withholder knows better. Re-elect Bush: We can't change horses in
mid-stream. The driver knows. Withholding is always driven, always the
sublimation and exfoliation, the production of capital.

16. What is withheld is almost always within the differend. What is
withheld no longer speaks, not at all, or speaks only at the end of time.

17. The end of time when the differend speaks: defuge, useless, wastage.
No one listens. The control of news is the control of the imminent, the
explosion of the leading story. The rest is debris.

18. God sets the scene in Job. Gods speaks of the fecundity of the earth.
God ensures his construct. Job is reduced either to silence or
acquiescence. The dialog is over.

19. Withholding has moved from biblical narrative through popular
narrative into the heart of news. It drives narrative forward. It has
eliminated other forms of suspense; the "whodunit" has been replaced by
the unfolding of Armageddon. Look at the Rapture, grown into an Amerikan
industry; look at our Wars themselves. We know whodunit; we watch the
pornography of unfolding, the _pli,_ the baroque which hides the raw
vicissitudes of Power.

20. Omniscience is hidden, parcelling out effect and affect. Omniscience
is the Amerikan lie come true, the lie of capital, planetary corrosion.
The largest life-forms are fungal nets beneath the soil in the upper
Mid-West. The largest life-masses are the single-celled organisms
occupying rock strata beneath the surface of the earth. God waited while
everyone talked. The news promises the answer to the question after the

21. The commercial is delivered; the news is the hiatus, the gap. At times
(CNN Headline News for example), the question is not even answered; it is
forgotten in the rush of passing content. "Whatever happened to Baby Jane?
- News at 10." At 10, the news is silent, but the audience is present,
continuing the violating narrative of the planet, what capital allows to
pass for news.

22. "To be distracted by questions of administrative forms, race hatreds,
man hunts, or socialisation of everything but the national debt, is merely
swallowing the sucker-bait." (Ezra Pound, 1953.)

23. The ultimate withholding occurs with the _manhunt_ which is already
foreclosed. The manhunt distracts from the world. The double-withholding:
capital offers the scapegoat; the dead and wounded in Fallujah are
withheld. Withholding occurs in the midst of battle which is never
announced, never enunciated. Withholding creates a _story._ A _story_
promises an _ending._ An _ending_ promises a _suture._ Everything is
returned to normalcy; everything recovers.

24. A _suture_ promises an _ego._ A _suture_ promises a nuclear family. A
_suture_ promises infinity of Power which structures the suture itself.
Such an infinity is Deity. Dissect withholding and Deity always appears.
Withholding is at the beck and call of Fundamentalism, a tool of
Fundamentalism. Withholding promises absolute information, the power of
the Absolute.

25. One withholds because one _knows._ One knows absolutely. The world
divides into the known and unknown. The known is privileged, class.
Withholding is power masquerading as the simulacrum of power.

26. "Trust me. We'll get out of here alive."


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