On being slimy; a dialogue between the Daily Mail, an OUTLAW, and Jean Paul Sartre.
''We will not solve the economy's problems by hanging bankers at the end of the street" Tony Blair said last night (as reported in yesterday's Daily Mail 24/07/2012). Note his use of "We": how strange that Mr Blair still claims some connection with us, as if he is one of us, and does not consider he might be among those who "WE" might be keen on stringing up on a lamp post: one of us, despite, according to the Daily Mail his annual income being thought to be in the region of £20 million a year, including being an advisor to the investment bank JP Morgan, and also having "a role" with Insurer Zurich.
What about hanging bankers at the end of the street? A la lanterne! The turn of phrase is strangely out of date, more appropriate to the gas-lit arcades of Paris in the 1890's, than the CCTV blanketed pre-olympics London city of today.
Let us have more moral imagination. Let there be a secret court in the land, presided over if you like by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and let the court have the power to appoint an OUTLAW, and have him or her issued with:
xl sniper's rifle with telescopic sites
x2 rounds of high velocity 'exploding' bullets
The instructions given to the outlaw are that he or she may shoot anybody whom or she considers has behaved, as we sometimes still say in south London, 'OUT OF ORDER': a single head shot, comme Voltaire, "pour encourager les autres"(the second round is held in reserve… just in case).
Being OUTLAW ('Homo Sacer':for the
purpose of dealing with the counterfeit, or, so to speak, the slimy – for more read Giorgio Agamben)
Simultaneously, I find out over lunch that an obliging young student of Philosophy, female as I presume, has left a copy of Jean Paul Sarte's Being and Nothingness on the 'free distribution' book shelves of Bostons Café in Exeter, and I thrill to find it, what appears to be an entirely unopened copy – my copy; yes, it is mine now – with minimalist black front cover and grey back cover, 656 pages, the spine uncreased, the contents hitherto entirely unread, only the covers slightly scuffed from having travelled, as I think, from her student study bedroom to bedroom study each year, and a coffee stain at its top where an overfull mug overfull was once placed on a tightly packed row of books, all equally unread, and whose only function was to stand in relationship with each other.
She, who has not read the section III, entitled FREEDOM AND RESPONSIBILITY
…" of interest primarily to the moralist",
nor any other of the 656 pages, will be appointed our first OUTLAW. Having her sniper's rifle she will not shake, she will not flinch, and she will strike with unerring accuracy, her finger squeezing the trigger without the slightest tremor. She who has not read or indeed ever opened Being and Nothingness will bring the cross hairs of her telescopic site over some distinguished head, and deliver a head-shot with a high velocity bullet to the person who most offends her morality and without impunity against her (although her life is forfeit).
"There are no accidents (italics) in life," Sarte writes on Page 574, such as finding the book in the café and opening it again , as I considered it then randomly, or of her having taken up her sniper's position on the ninth floor of a building, and finding myself reading from Page 625 (On Doing and Having) an investigation of the slimy: "A handshake, a smile, a thought, a feeling can be slimy", continuing to the end of the chapter on page 636 – but especially on page 631:
"The being of the slimy is a soft clinging, there is a sly solidarity and complicity of all its leachlike parts, a vague, soft effort made by each to individualise itself, followed by a falling back and flattening out that is emptied of the individual, subdued in on all sides by the individual."
As when Mr Blair is reported talking of" WE". But do not fear Mr Blair, yours is not the head upon which our OUTLAW angel has located the cross-hairs of her telescopic sites… at least not so far as I know. However, the Daily Mail has been informed.