By William V. Spanos
Connects the yankee exceptionalist ethos to the violence in Vietnam and the center East.
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Additional resources for American Exceptionalism in the Age of Globalization: The Specter of Vietnam
It is also the symptomatic testimony of certain politically exiled and/or “postcolonial” thinkers, who have been interpreted, sometimes rightly so, as antitheorists in some degree or other (Frantz Fanon, C. L. R. James, Paul Gilroy, Theodor Adorno, Michel Foucault, Antonio Negri, and, especially, Edward Said). Confronted by the impotence of emancipatory thought in the “postcolonial” interregnum, Said, for example, adapts Adorno’s and Deleuze and Guattari’s theoretical version of the Abgeschiedene—the migrant and the “nomad,” respectively—to the global demographics of dislocation (diaspora) that constitutes the terrible legacy of the fulfillment of the Western imperial project proper.
The past life of emigrés is, as we know, annulled, says Adorno in Minima Moralia. . Why? ” Although the disabling aspects of this fate are manifest, its virtues or possibilities are worth exploring. . 31 26 American Exceptionalism in the Age of Globalization VII I will return later in this book to Said’s provocative retrieval of empire’s spectral Others—his bringing of this marginalized figure out of the shadows of imperialism’s periphery to center stage, as it were. ” But, as I have suggested, it remains inadequate to this most difficult of tasks, not impossible.
Even before the demise of French control in Indochina with the fall of Dien Bien Phu (May 7, 1954), America—the presidency, the Congress, the Pentagon, the culture industry—predictably justified its intervention by insistently distinguishing its motives as radically different from those informing the decadent colonialism of Old World France. As I will show as length in chapter 3, the fraudulence of this benign American exceptionalist justification was proleptically exposed—if not acknowledged by the American public—long ago by Graham Greene’s portrayal of the young, idealist American Alden Pyle in his History and Its Specter 19 novel The Quiet American (1955).