Blogging: The Pharmakon: Lebanon

Blogging and Cultural Information on War

This week I read a blog about an article by Lebanon’s The Daily Star entitled There is more to be mourned than Iraq’s ancient treasures” which highlighted the destruction of modern art in Iraq and the loss of cultural identity ensued.

I was reminded of Paul Ricoeur’s treatment of the Pharmakon when I think of internet blogging as cultural production. He argues in “Memory, History, and Forgetting” that the writing of history is at once the cure for, and poison to memory. Yet in many of our in-class texts we have discussed what I feel to be the opposite, a look at the danger of historicizing information through this biased, Westernized media which takes such an Orientalist perspective on reporting, such a biases framing of the war and the people in it.

In terms of The War on Terror, I feel that this is especially appropriate however to try on the opposite view. If we consider all of the media produced about the War on Terror to be, in one sense or another, a type of exteriorized memory: something which has been preserved outside of a testifying body: then one might ask what affect that has on the body which originated the memory in the first place? Will we in time feel a sense of overwhelming guilt at the clear bias of our reporting, and will this force us to change the way we look at the world? Will Americans one day wake up, look around at the Fox.com and the CNN trash that they have been consuming and realize with sickening dread that they have no real idea of where the war is and how much its costing them and what the real psycological price was that was paid by both themselves as the citizens terrorized by our campaigns abroad?

Time will, of course, mar memory but doesn’t the process by which we make media enact a similar process? Doesn’t blogging allow the individual to not only look back on their personal archival of memory, but change, alter it, perform some sort of ritualistic memory cleansing when new information is found and found to be true? And so we come to blogs. Blogs which are the cornucopia of externalized thought, and by their very nature a relief of memory. With all of these war on terror blogs now subsiding in intensity for more current topics (elections, China, etc.) we are left with a discursive ‘blog archive’ which cannot accurately describe the initial testimony which prompted its existence. Ricoeur speaks to this when he says that no truth is born out of documents, but rather the synthesis of document and historical questioning – still, I wonder who now has the right vantage point to judge or are we, as Foucault says ‘too deep in our discourse’.

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~ by 1womanarmy on April 24, 2008.

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