quinta-feira, 14 de outubro de 2010

Israelisms - The Situation

Today, the fundamental level of constitutive ideology assumes the guise of its very opposite: non-ideology.

David Grossman stands for the Jewish attitude at its purest, as rendered in a nice personal anedocte: when, just prior to the 1967 Israeli-Arab war, he heard on the radio about the Arab threats to throw the jews into the sea, his reaction was to take swimming lessons – a paradigmatic jewish reaction if there ever was one. 

Grossman’s work is marked by a strange line of separation. His non-fiction texts deal almost exclusively with what the Israelis refer to as hamatzav, “The Situation”, a neutral-sounding word that encompasses everything from the Intifada to the security fence and the withdrawal from Gaza. “The Situation” is not a specific event but rather every event; it bleeds into every part of life. In stark contrast, his fiction withdraws into the claustrophobic space of private passions and obsessions. However, even when he writes of marriage and desire, jealousy and motherhood, loyalty and betrayal, he is mapping an entire country’s anxieties and longings. Rather than explicitly reporting the facts of the ground, Grossman constructs his own alternate reality that evokes “The Situation” as their absent Real-Cause.

(...) such retreats into intimate reality take place against the background of hamatzav, “The Situation”. No wonder that, in recent years, this same desire for an alternate reality has become part of Israel’s national psyche: dealing with “The Situation” generates an atmosphere of anxiety, a deep sense of claustrophobia, a retreat into the relative safety of the indoors. Though an Israeli writer doesn’t directly need to address the political situation that surrounds him, these concerns seep in, quietly and evocatively. The properly ideological function of this retreat is thus clear – its underlying message is: “we are just ordinary people who want only peace and normal life.” 

in Living in the end of times, Slavoj Žižek