i present this ‘document’ for inspection. appearances to the contrary, this document is not a photograph, it is not even photographic. what may be detected here is the structure of spectacular integration. the multi-dimensional, monstrous handshake between Bush and Schwarzenegger is that between neoliberalism and neoconservatism, and symbolizes the sealing of a contract integrating and initiating a new member into the spectra of its identities.
i’ve supplemented these announcements of the spectacle’s integration with two other integral forms that occur in the caesuras between the spectacle’s filmic unfolding. “Neo” of neoliberalism and neoconservatism, is in fact figured by the “Neo” of the Matrix, where he takes the form of a syncretic spiritualism that negates every trace of resistance to the spectacle it manifestly critiques. for what happens at the end of the trilogy but simple a return to the same old cycle of events – Neo is the sixth avatar of himself to fought the same battle, only to be temporarily defeated so that he can be reincarnated in the future to begin the vicious pattern all over gain. and this same pattern is described in another form by Niobe, in the language of new spiritualism, the denouement of the film with the words: ‘Two ships in two directions: sounds like a prophecy doesn’t it Morpheus?’ One ship, the Logos (reason) – carrying the integrated human-code One (Neo), the integrated love-forms (eros, philia, agape – desire, friendship, compassion) of Trinity, and the fallen code-Devil (Bain-Smith) – travels to the Machine City to be sacrificed in inevitable transcendence of the final integration – the Neo-Smith-Machine worlds collapsing into each other.
representing the current US theocratic nationalism, this configuration accomplishes the conversion of secular reason and knowledge (logos), of knowing, into theological faith. knowledge of the future is precluded, as only faith in miracles is now possible. the second ship, the Hammer – carrying the anti-Bain-Smith, pro-council captains in another impossible (miracle) feat of piloting to rescue Zion – represents the current israeli, zionist theocratic nationalism set on annihilating the palestinians. Bain-Smith is the suicidal secular/islamist (he committed a terrorist act in destroying Zion’s fleet of ships by setting off their main weapon against the machines, the electromagnetic pulse) whose aim is to defeat secular government by theocratic proliferation of jihadic armies of programmed sameness (limitless Smiths). In annihilating palestine, Bain is also annihilated. in order for the One (totalitarianism) to triumph, he must first make a pact (hindu in the from the daughter-code, Sati) with the devil in order to continue the trading between the oracle and the architect’s all-but-perfect (divine) systems of control, between the law of scientific determinancy, and the law of theocracy, integrated in order to produce the totalitarian, spectacular state, in which individualism and freedom are precluded.
taken together, these two feats demonstrate Neo’s superiority over totalitarianism and pluralism that is the pure inscription of his own integration into and identity with the networks of digital power. defeating Smith is impossible because once a program always a program; even “choice paths” have always already been pre-programmed; the only ‘act’ (i do, therefore i am)possible is programmed iteration and re-iteration through synthesis, or integration, a perpetual cycling between the scientific and theocratic legalities of predetermined binaries. there is no escape from right wing religious fanaticism in any of its guises – Christian, Judaic, Islamist; architect, oracle, human – you must take your orders and revel in the false sensuality of spectacular materialism. like the chinese finger puzzle, the more you struggle the more you defeat yourself. the only other ‘choice’ is to become what you fight, thereby reinforcing the integration. this is the moral lesson of (our) Epoch, whom jealousy drives to betrayal, only himself to be denied his recall to the hedonistic illusions of the matrix, killed without reward (recalled as a famous actor), and caught in the logic of ‘no escape’ from capital’s endless cycles of crises.
only the ‘one’ is qualified for the ascension into the spectacular corporate heaven since he has integrated all the mechanisms of the spectacle, its agency, its subversion, and the oracular rendering of its future possibilities. the inscription of Neo is incomplete, however, without linking him to his “green,” Zapatista, militarized other, Hulk (science run sweetly, innocently and violently amok), whose oedipal transformation is complete only when recognizing that his mother is mother nature figured by his ‘greening’ effect on the world – just as Neo achieved apotheosis through his final integration to maintain the zero sum game between binaristicly structured divinities, so Hulk’s defeat of his mad (physically unstable) militaristic, scientistic, electrodynamic but impotent father leads to his own apotheosis through diffusion and integration as organic, environmental, vegetal force in the greening of the desert. just as the nextel ad recalls the handshake ad, so the Hulk recalls Neo.
the last form of integration needs no comment. there is no doubt that the flag and the media are equivalent forms of propaganda for reinforcing each other, which is to reinforce the diffusion and concentration of american imperialism. this makes the flag, corporate media, and the Nextel ad identical to the spectacular film. thus this analysis of spectacle inscription required the writing together of photojournalism, advertising and two only apparently unrelated spectacle films. it is through their differences that they achieve the unity of the integrated spectacle.
Bush, in his 2004 acceptance speech made two comments that underscore this analysis. first he said: ‘There is an old saying: pray not for tasks equal to your powers, but pray for power equal to the task.’ he fails, not surprisingly, to cite his source, in order not to compromise with identity the obvious truth of this ancient adage, which so clearly integrates religion with state power. he then followed up a few moments later by a second imperial dictum; “There is no limit to the greatness of America.”
this non-image is an example of a complex extra-linguistic sign, the function of which is to articulate relations that spectacle ironically works to make invisible. the image-assemblage is a non-image because what it depicts cannot be presented to perception. it materially inscribes the invisible. and for similar reasons, it cannot be identified as a form of language because it does not signify, through the same double-articulation that semiosis requires. what it ‘presents’ are the operations that the spectacle performs in order to achieve integration. these operations consist of an array of reciprocal negations that permeate the entire spectrum of power. forms of cultural analysis that fail to expose these operations as arrays of negations fail to expose its forms of political oppression.