There comes a time, daily, when one must set the paranoia level. My paranoia level is rising, but more importantly, we need to slow down and reflect.

9/11 has come and gone, and I got an email from the President reminding me to keep my head down and volunteer for some local community service projects. I was even given a link so I could find stuff to do. You know, go out, get busy, there are family values in that, and don’t think, just “do good.” I thought the call to service was a bit of a preemptive strike, the superego command to “enjoy your duties.” I’m waiting for them to release wethepeople , so I am on their mailing list.

In the meantime, this drifted unto my radar: 9/11, a conspiracy theory.

The truth of 9/11 is not straightforward. There is no Darwinian evidence here, to quell our anxiety in the face of the unknown. Nor is this a “choose your faith,” situation, where every view is valid so long as it is “belief” or “opinion.” 9/11 is a piece of the Real, as we have been working to define it on this blog. It is a traumatic gap, precisely what is missing from from our Symbolically constituted world.

What happened? Why did it happen? And what is it’s legacy? These are questions we still live, often with confusion, questions that are part of the Real of our time.

However, we also live in a time that loves to leap to conclusions. As a result, as a culture we thrive on jumping the shark before there was even a golden achievement in place. Think of the so-called “enthusiasm gap,” following Barack Obama. His momentous victory, his Nobel Peace prize, all before he had delivered anything but face-melting rhetoric solos.

Or think of the recent Odd Future phenomenon, the way a band was able to generate so much hype through a finely tuned, internet driven, buzz machine, that they blew up and had a career almost overnight; and now they are looking to publish a book about their lifestyle.

Likewise, Justin Bieber gathered “Beliebers” with astonishing speed, achieving a career and a retrospective movie in almost the same instant that the masses first heard of him. Both of these artists are talented, but lets turn to 60’s media theorist Marshall McLuhan who coined such phrases as “the global village,” and “the medium is the message.”

The message from Odd Future and Justin Bieber is only partially about their music, the real message is the self-perpetuating hype that they generate. Justin Bieber is popular and notorious because he is popular and notorious. At a certain tipping point, Odd Future generated buzz about the amount of buzz that they generated. We have hit a critical feedback loop in the media machine.

In moments like this, I turn to Hipster Runoff, one of my favorite music/cultural critique blogs. Will, I’m interested to see what you think of this post, on dubwave.

For as long as I have been listening to music, there has been a divide between “mainstream,” and “alternative/indie.” This is where I begin to make sense of the term “culture wars.” While Odd Future and Justin Bieber have both hit critical mass, which one you tune into determines which side of the fence you are on.

Likewise with September 11th. America is hairline-deep in a cultural civil war right now. We saw the escalation of the “debt crisis,” and in after the ’00 decade (“aughties”) we are all familiar with the divide between patriotism and liberalism. However, let’s not take recourse to gut-feeling on the one hand or nasal rationality on the other, lets unpack this cultural dichotomy with some reason.

The Zizekized Kierkegaardian point to be made here is about the radical moment of passion that precedes truth. What happened on 9/11, and what America means, is going to be determined not by what happened, but by what you, me and Hegel’s “the we that is an I and that I that is a we,” envision for the future.

It is only by taking a concrete stand that 9/11 has a truth value. Personally, as Obama’s “Change” fades into “common sense steps” and “middle-class family values,” I am leaning toward Badiou’s “Communist Hypothesis.” Communism may have been a failure the first time, but we can adapt, evolve, and make radical change when its time to try again. A communism 2.0 is possible.

But really, lets not be hasty. I fear that the much touted “late capitalism” we are supposedly living in is just another over-hyped illusion. How can we know this is “late capitalism” when capitalism, as a historical unfolding, is not yet over? It is only after we stand up and end Capital that we will be able to reflect and say, from here to here, we were in “late capitalism.” I’m looking at you, lefty bloggers and academics, N+1, that means you too, even if you have a fashionable (read: hipster) print journal.

Now, how does this concrete stand differ from leaping to conclusions and/or keeping the faith? Simply put, a concrete stand has been through the grinder of existentialism’s nihilist moment. This can also be framed as poet Keat’s “negative capability,” the ability to suspend judgement and confront a bare experience.

There is, strictly speaking, no Truth. But, in gazing upon that empty space the moment of freedom is to say, “and here is where I will put the signature of my life.” That is neither a guessing game nor is it a prescription faith-pill. It is the Nietzschean affirmation that “God is dead because we have killed him,” Jesus rose because we have resurrected him, and that science is futile “without dancing.”

Specifics, however, have yet to be articulated. This is the mess we are in, we have no paradigm that can respond to our current failures. All I can say right now is that, in the age of escalating global conflict, it is time for a John Lennonist moment, war is over, if you want.

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