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Empires of the Senseless: (The Response to) Terror and (the End of) History

Empires of the Senseless: (The Response to) Terror and (the End of) History Page 105 REFLECTIONS AND REPORTS Walter Benn Michaels You make a mistake,” says Adolf Hitler in one of the opening epigraphs to Bret Easton Ellis’s Glamorama (1998), “if you see what we do as merely political.”1 In Glamorama, however, it is hard to see how “what we do” or what anyone does is at all political, much less merely political. Glamorama is about models and terrorists— about models-slash-terrorists. The acts of destruction its model/terrorists perform are unlinked to any particular political program, while the terrorists themselves belong to rival factions whose differences are equally unlinked to politics. In an earlier terrorist novel, Don DeLillo’s Mao II (1991), the terrorists are at least supposed to represent a new communist element, “an assertion that not every weapon in Lebanon has to be marked Muslim, Christian or Zionist.”2 But even Mao II isn’t early enough to make the appeal to communism anything more than a gesture of posthistoricist nostalgia; by the time it was published, there were hardly any communists in Russia, much less in Lebanon. And Glamorama, whose terrorists have allies in Dublin and Virginia as well as Beirut and Baghdad, can’t work up any more interest in their religion http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Radical History Review Duke University Press

Empires of the Senseless: (The Response to) Terror and (the End of) History

Radical History Review , Volume 2003 (85) – Jan 1, 2003

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2003 by MARHO: The Radical Historians' Organization, Inc.
ISSN
0163-6545
eISSN
1534-1453
DOI
10.1215/01636545-2003-85-105
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Page 105 REFLECTIONS AND REPORTS Walter Benn Michaels You make a mistake,” says Adolf Hitler in one of the opening epigraphs to Bret Easton Ellis’s Glamorama (1998), “if you see what we do as merely political.”1 In Glamorama, however, it is hard to see how “what we do” or what anyone does is at all political, much less merely political. Glamorama is about models and terrorists— about models-slash-terrorists. The acts of destruction its model/terrorists perform are unlinked to any particular political program, while the terrorists themselves belong to rival factions whose differences are equally unlinked to politics. In an earlier terrorist novel, Don DeLillo’s Mao II (1991), the terrorists are at least supposed to represent a new communist element, “an assertion that not every weapon in Lebanon has to be marked Muslim, Christian or Zionist.”2 But even Mao II isn’t early enough to make the appeal to communism anything more than a gesture of posthistoricist nostalgia; by the time it was published, there were hardly any communists in Russia, much less in Lebanon. And Glamorama, whose terrorists have allies in Dublin and Virginia as well as Beirut and Baghdad, can’t work up any more interest in their religion

Journal

Radical History ReviewDuke University Press

Published: Jan 1, 2003

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