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The integration of the integrated spectacle is a double-edged sword, which, by combining incompatible narratives, creates new contradictions - even as it silences not only all resistance but indeed all rational thought. According to the spectacle, the United States are the good guys. And the good guys must win. The good guys are unconquerable. A defining feature of the spectacle is its happy ending. But at the same time the spectacle must reproduce itself, not only in endless sequels and reboots but also in endless prequels, as tangled as the chronology of the Fast and the Furious franchise. It has always been the happy ending. History was over before it began.

Since we all already lived happily ever after, there can be no more antagonism, and yet there must be more antagonists, or else the story cannot go on. The role of the bad guys in the spectacle must therefore become more and more spectral, virtual in both senses, powerful and powerless, the same and different, being and non-being, living dead, pure becoming, pure actuality, action without presence. For example, according to the spectacle, Putin is behind Donald Trump, but Putin is also behind Jill Stein. Putin is the remnant of hard-line communism, but he is also a dangerous right-wing conservative. Throughout the world, like a poorly fleshed-out Bond villain, he supports both dangerous extremists and their enemies. The incomprehensible meaninglessness of Putin reveals the aggressive absurdity of the entire spectacle. His character simply doesn't make sense. Neither, for that matter, does Trump, another spectral antagonist. But, as in a Michael Bey film, if the plot doesn't make sense, that doesn't really matter. The plot never mattered. What matters is the pure spectacle of the thing - the action, and special effects.

And the same applies, even more so, to this bizarre specter known as "terror," with which we are apparently at war, and which shrinks, grows, and morphs more quickly and dizzyingly than a character in Finnegan's Wake, according to momentary expediency. Raoul Vaneigem's observations are a little too appropriate here. One wants to say - this French philosophy stuff is supposed to be hard. Aren't you all making this just a little too obvious?

The actors in the spectacle, frustrated at the incoherence of their roles, peevishly whine, "What's my motivation?" (As William S. Burroughs put it, "I am an agent, but of which agency?") I am among these actors, as are you. But the script was punched up so many times, by so many different writers and committees and focus groups, that the original intention - if there ever was one - is lost forever. And there is no director.

The result is a situation in which total confusion reigns, everything is completely unpredictable, and yet nothing changes.


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