Friday, June 20, 2008

Little Terror

Zizek quoting Maximlien Robespierre on terror,

If the mainspring of popular government in peacetime is virtue, amid revolution it is at the same time virtue and terror: virtue, without which terror is fatal; terror, without which virtue is impotent. Terror is nothing but prompt, severe, inflexible justice; it is therefore an emanation of virtue. It is less a special principle that a consequence of the general principle of democracy applied to our country's most pressing needs.

I will set aside any qualitative judgments on that passage and consider whether the stick-up boy Omar Little from The Wire comes close to functioning in that role. A stick-up boy is someone who robs the drug dealers. Omar repeatedly talks about living by a code and when a drug dealer tries to pin a murder charge on him in revenge Omar has some credibility when he tells the police officers, "Did you ever know me to do a civilian?" More than this Omar operates with prompt, severe and inflexible actions. Another aspect of the revolutionary space that Zizek promotes is its radical egalitarianism. Omar runs with a tight group in which he himself is gay and includes his lover, women, and his blind "mentor" Butch.
I suspect Omar's mettle comes from a mixture of suffering (indicated by the giant scare across his face) as well as having a moral/spiritual framework from youth (in one scene he is attacked brining his mother to church). I have as yet to understand the 'human' role that would allow a revolutionary event that I understand Badiou or Zizek to advocate to be anything less than the terror that has occurred in the past.

No comments: