Latest Articles


24.11.2014
Bo Isenberg

Critique and crisis

Reinhart Koselleck's thesis of the genesis of modernity

The modern consciousness as crisis: Reinhart Koselleck's study of the origins of critique in the Enlightenment and its role in the revolutionary developments of the late eighteenth century is a work of historical hermeneutics whose relevance remains undiminished. [Russian version added] [ more ]

21.11.2014
Carl Henrik Fredriksson

Vienna has fallen!

20.11.2014
Franco Berardi

Media activism revisited

19.11.2014
Eurozine Review

Another music! Or no music at all!

New Issues


Eurozine Review


19.11.2014
Eurozine Review

Another music! Or no music at all!

"Dilema veche" says Romania's new president had better lead the country out of the swamp; "Krytyka" invests its hopes for Ukraine in a new generation; in "Vikerkaar", Rein Müllerson says increasing western pressure on Russia is a mistake; "New Eastern Europe" takes stock of the Maidan one year on, and celebrates literary Krakow; "Blätter" publishes Jaron Lanier's 2014 Peace Prize speech; "Polar" considers debt not a curse but a blessing; "Arena" notes how a feminist party has changed Swedish politics; "Dérive" inspects the "safe city"; in "Kulturos barai", Sajay Samuel warns of the perils of checking your smartphone; and "Multitudes" scopes out the anthropo-scene.

29.10.2014
Eurozine Review

A centre receding

15.10.2014
Eurozine Review

This revolutionary moment

17.09.2014
Eurozine Review

Independence in an age of interdependence

03.09.2014
Eurozine Review

Was Crimea a preliminary exercise?



http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2011-05-02-newsitem-en.html
http://mitpress.mit.edu/0262025248
http://www.eurozine.com/about/who-we-are/contact.html
http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2009-12-02-newsitem-en.html

My Eurozine


If you want to be kept up to date, you can subscribe to Eurozine's rss-newsfeed or our Newsletter.

Articles
Share |

Deeper than a tweet

The Boston bombing and why you can't become completely American

George Blecher pinpoints exactly what it is that confuses Americans about the actions of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who, prior to the bombing of the Boston Marathon, may not have been far off from becoming an ideal American. But then becoming completely American always was a fiction.

Most of the police action around the Boston Marathon bombing followed a familiar scenario, including things that a few decades ago would have made us cringe: cameras, both institutional and private, recording our every move; police and other authorities literally shutting down a major city in a matter of minutes; glaring information gaps that never get filled in as new events compete for media space and eliminate the possibilities for nuance and detail: What about that third bomb? What about the younger brother's self-inflicted wound when he was hiding in the boat?



To say that we have become numb or bored with terrorist acts doesn't quite capture the complexity of our feelings. Since the Kennedy assassination and on to 9/11, TV has developed a formula to report national manhunts – talking heads, lightning-quick transitions, interspersed interviews and updates, endless repetition of film footage, etc. The formula is so familiar that by now, watching these events feels addictive and vaguely pornographic. We stay glued to the TV not only because we are interested but because the repetition of the form itself gets us high, gives us an adrenaline rush.

The most interesting aspect of the Boston Marathon bombing was the part that reached past the formula into what Peter Handke once called "a moment of true feeling" – the outpouring of sympathy/empathy for Dzhokhar, the surviving Tsarnaev brother. It was remarkable and unexpected, but in a quiet way. A real breaking of the form.

The first wave of feeling came from Dzhokhar's high school and college buddies, whose fondness for him seemed completely genuine. They described him as a good friend, a sociable person, a participant in all their activities; one friend kept using the word "alleged" to underline the fact that he was innocent until proven guilty. Then the media ran Dzhokhar's tweets, which were slangy, relaxed, and funny, and the public grew even more confused: how could this young man be so American, yet so anti-American? Photos of Dzhokhar followed. He was just a kid! He looked 12, not 19! Everybody knew someone like him – a cute boy with attitude who smoked dope, kidded around, and was charming enough to bring tears to the eyes of both girls and boys.

When the manhunt started in earnest, there was a further round of sympathy. A classic American myth was being acted out right before our eyes – the lone fugitive/cowboy chased down by the Authorities, the noose tightening around his neck with every passing hour. As the story shifted focus to the troubled older brother Tamerlane and the angry mother, Dzhokhar won us over in yet another way; now he was seen by many as the innocent victim of family pressures. Part of us wanted so hard to believe that he didn't really mean it, and that his filial loyalty was even admirable.

As of this writing, there hasn't been much fresh news, and other, more immediate headlines are pushing the Boston Marathon bombing out of our consciousness. But if nothing else, the incident shines a light on a sentimental streak in the American character that to Europeans may seem either naive or touching, depending on how you are feeling that day about the States.

Actions like Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's confuse Americans a lot. He fit in, he became one of us. From his participation in high school sports to his iPhone and tweets, he followed a pattern that was taking him along the way to becoming an ideal American – the Tom Sawyer route, the rebellious kid who eventually becomes a pillar of society. So how could he betray us? How could he be so disloyal?

What we really learned from the Boston Marathon bombing was that more ancient loyalties were churning inside this young man, and that they touched him on a level far deeper than where iPhones and tweets can possibly reach. In a country whose citizens often refuse to see that they are links in a chain reaching back to prehistory, this event showed that Dzhokhar was ineluctably connected to family and clan; and that no matter how much we like to think otherwise, it has always been a fiction to believe that one can become completely American.


 



Published 2013-05-27


Original in English
First published in Berliner Gazette, 21 May 2013 (German version); Eurozine (English version)

© George Blecher
© Eurozine
 

Focal points     click for more

Beyond Fortress Europe

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/focalpoints/lawborder.html
The fate of migrants and refugees attempting to enter Fortress Europe has triggered a new European debate on laws, borders and human rights. A debate riddled with the complex, often epic, narratives that underlie immediate crisis situations. [more]

Russia in global dialogue

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/focalpoints/eurocrisis.html
In the two decades after the end of the Cold War, intellectual interaction between Russia and Europe has intensified. It has not, however, prompted a common conversation. The focal point "Russia in global dialogue" seeks to fuel debate on democracy, society and the legacy of empire. [more]

Ukraine in focus

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/focalpoints/publicsphere.html
Ten years after the Orange Revolution, Ukraine is in the throes of yet another major struggle. Eurozine provides commentary on events as they unfold and further articles from the archive providing background to the situation in today's Ukraine. [more]

The ends of democracy

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/focalpoints/democracy.html
At a time when the global pull of democracy has never been stronger, the crisis of democracy has become acute. Eurozine has collected articles that make the problems of democracy so tangible that one starts to wonder if it has a future at all, as well as those that return to the very basis of the principle of democracy. [more]

The EU: Broken or just broke?

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/focalpoints/eurocrisis.html
Brought on by the global economic recession, the eurocrisis has been exacerbated by serious faults built into the monetary union. Contributors discuss whether the EU is not only broke, but also broken -- and if so, whether Europe's leaders are up to the task of fixing it. [more]

Support Eurozine     click for more

If you appreciate Eurozine's work and would like to support our contribution to the establishment of a European public sphere, see information about making a donation.

Time to Talk     click for more

Time to Talk, a network of European Houses of Debate, has partnered up with Eurozine to launch an online platform. Here you can watch video highlights from all TTT events, anytime, anywhere.
Dessislava Gavrilova, Jo Glanville et al.
The role of literature houses in protecting the space for free expression

http://www.eurozine.com/timetotalk/european-literature-houses-meeting-2014/
This summer, Time to Talk partner Free Word, London hosted a debate on the role that literature houses play in preserving freedom of expression both in Europe and globally. Should everyone get a place on the podium? Also those representing the political extremes? [more]

Eurozine BLOG

On the Eurozine BLOG, editors and Eurozine contributors comment on current affairs and events. What's behind the headlines in the world of European intellectual journals?
Ben Tendler
Law and Border - House Search in Fortress Europe: Further resources

http://www.eurozine.com/blog/
In addition to the Official conference report on The 26th European Meeting of Cultural Journals and all the articles in the focal point Beyond Fortress Europe, we've begun to collect resources mentioned during discussions in and around the sessions in Conversano, Italy. [more]

Vacancies at Eurozine     click for more

There are currently no positions available.

Editor's choice     click for more

Felix Stalder
Digital solidarity

http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2014-02-26-stalder-en.html
As the culture and institutions of the Gutenberg Galaxy wane, Felix Stalder looks to commons, assemblies, swarms and weak networks as a basis for remaking society in a more inclusive and diverse way. The aim being to expand autonomy and solidarity at the same time. [more]

Literature     click for more

Olga Tokarczuk
A finger pointing at the moon

http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2014-01-16-tokarczuk-en.html
Our language is our literary destiny, writes Olga Tokarczuk. And "minority" languages provide a special kind of sanctuary too, inaccessible to the rest of the world. But, there again, language is at its most powerful when it reaches beyond itself and starts to create an alternative world. [more]

Piotr Kiezun, Jaroslaw Kuisz
Literary perspectives special: Witold Gombrowicz

http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2013-08-16-kuisz-en.html
The recent publication of the private diary of Witold Gombrowicz provides unparalleled insight into the life of one of Poland's great twentieth-century novelists and dramatists. But this is not literature. Instead: here he is, completely naked. [more]

Literary perspectives
The re-transnationalization of literary criticism

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/literaryperspectives.html
Eurozine's series of essays aims to provide an overview of diverse literary landscapes in Europe. Covered so far: Croatia, Sweden, Austria, Estonia, Ukraine, Northern Ireland, Slovenia, the Netherlands and Hungary. [more]

Debate series     click for more

Europe talks to Europe

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/europetalkstoeurope.html
Nationalism in Belgium might be different from nationalism in Ukraine, but if we want to understand the current European crisis and how to overcome it we need to take both into account. The debate series "Europe talks to Europe" is an attempt to turn European intellectual debate into a two-way street. [more]

Conferences     click for more

Eurozine emerged from an informal network dating back to 1983. Since then, European cultural magazines have met annually in European cities to exchange ideas and experiences. Around 100 journals from almost every European country are now regularly involved in these meetings.
Law and Border. House Search in Fortress Europe
The 26th European Meeting of Cultural Journals
Conversano, 3-6 October 2014

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/conversano2014.html
Eurozine's 2014 conference in southern Italy, not far from Lampedusa, addressed both EU refugee and immigration policies and intellectual partnerships across the Mediterranean. Speakers included Italian investigative journalist Fabrizio Gatti and Moroccan feminist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Rita El Khayat. [more]

Multimedia     click for more

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/multimedia.html
Multimedia section including videos of past Eurozine conferences in Vilnius (2009) and Sibiu (2007). [more]


powered by publick.net