Hey, Mom, I'm blowing up the World Trade Center. I'll be home by Thanksgiving. Unbelievable. (Another tidbit: Osama bin Laden was adopted.)
I should have linked to this commentary from Slavoj Zizek a long time ago. Even though the events of 9-11 already seem like ages ago, this essay from a couple days after the attack still has resonance. I'm having difficultly finding incisive thought from the Left about these events (that Chomsky essay in circulation sounds shrill to me), but Zizek expectedly comes through. (For those who don't know Zizek, I recommend Looking Awry.)
A couple provactive passages:
Not only were the media bombarding us all the time with the talk about the terrorist threat; this threat was also obviously libidinally invested -- just recall the series of movies from Escape From New York to Independence Day. The unthinkable which happened was thus the object of fantasy: in a way, America got what it fantasized about, and this was the greatest surprise.
There is a partial truth in the notion of the "clash of civilizations" attested here -- witness the surprise of the average American: "How is it possible that these people have such a disregard for their own lives?" Is not the obverse of this surprise the rather sad fact that we, in the First World countries, find it more and more difficult even to imagine a public or universal Cause for which one would be ready to sacrifice one's life?