Lacanian Press Agency
París, Saturday 29 September, 2001

- CORRESPONDENCE FROM NEW YORK,by Maria Cristina Aguirre
- THE WORLD COLUMN, by Eric Laurent
- THE CHRONICLE OF FILMS, by Anne-Sophie Janus
- THE IMAGE OF A CITY, by Gerard Wajcman
Correspondence from New York
New York, September 26th. (ALP) Maria Cristina Aguirre, psychoanalyst in New York, wrote to Jacques-Alain Miller the following letter in French: Thank you very much for your reply, specially at this time when there is so much to do in Paris. You ask me what are the effects of the attack to the Twin Towers: on the New-Yorkers. Well, they are paradoxical. There are mixed feelings. First the stupor, then the shock of the impossible, hope and then hopelessness of finding survivors, anxiety about the future and its consequences. Now, they talk about biological warfare. A profound religious emotion, deep and touching without exterior manifestations. Pictures of the missing persons all over, at the bus stops, hospital walls, the squares with candles. Anger and desire for revenge, for retaliation, and fear of starting a war. The children interviewed on television are very touching and extremely wise, amazing. They describe their anger, but fail to see the sense of a blind revenge against innocent victims and children like themselves. Asking over and over and over: Why? Follow by the lost of innocence: Why do they hate us so?

People are suddenly friendly and kind, they go out of their way to help you finding an address or carry your packages. They don't push as much in the streets and public transportation. They smile and make eye contact. The events brought out the best and the worst in people. There are always those who want to take advantage, with fake I.D. or those who want to sue the city, or others. There are contradictory discourses such as: should there be "psy" everywhere? Or should there be no "psy" at all so not to pacify too soon the anger, but to maintain it? A great nationalism, but also conscience that this affected everybody from every social and economical background, age, gender, religion, nationality. I offered my services as a volunteer; I went this Saturday to the Pier 94, the Assistance Center for the victims and their families. I was at the "Kid's Corner". There were children directly affected by the loss of a member the family; others were there with their parents who were looking for different kind of assistance, jobs, housing, insurance. I will return this week. At the NYFL-Study Group (New York Freud Lacan Study Group) we have opened a space to think about these recent events and to work upon the texts that might help us to elaborate this encounter with the impossible of the real, as we are called to listen to this in our daily practice. We think, as you outlined it, that it is important for the psychoanalysts to occupy a place in the debates of the city.

It is amazing how the press has used signifiers to name day after day the events. It would be interesting to make a review of them. After the bombing of the images and the information, you find other subjects now, but it is still n° 1.

Translated by Maria Cristina Aguirre, New York

Mr. Bricmont Pierces the Mysteries of History
Paris, September 27, 01. (ALP) Eric Laurent, psychoanalyst of rue Saint-Roch in Paris, sent the following comment to the agency: *Four years ago, a bad book attracted the attention of the enlightened Parisian opinion during that season. This book, in the name of Science, exposed the intellectual imposture of human sciences, implicating known essay writers. The two authors of the book, Jean Bricmont, Professor of Physics of the University of Louvain and Alan Sokal, the American Comic, had their Warholian 15 minutes of fame. Many had fun, and a few realised the inept epistemology of the two pals who attacked the philosophers of the Sciences who disturbed their peaceful certainties about the real. In so far as they were understood, the insult made to the evidence of the world had started with W.V.O. Quine.

Jean Bricmont continues his attack in an article published this week entitled: *Some Questions for the Empire and the Others*. This article about the attack on the Twin Towers reaches the same degree of intellectual confusion, of evil and of irresponsibility of his previous book. It intends to apply cold, scientific rigour to geopolitics. This produces phrases such as: "The massacre of innocent civilians is never to be wished for. Nevertheless, I deem it necessary, on occasion of this tragedy to ask some questions.*

However, there are not many questions in this text: there are eight question marks in all, if I counted right. Science oblige: the author provides many answers, there is a plethora. Everything is fundamentally explained by a withered dialectic, based on the Talion. It is clearly revealed to us at the end of the article: *The millions of people of the world defeated, humiliated and crushed by the United States, will be tempted to see in terrorism the only weapon that can really hurt the Empire.* It is without nuances. Our thinker despises the vain distinction between right and left, between people and governments, between peace and war, between tyranny and democracy. To summarise: he simply despises politics. At this cost, the mysteries of history can finally be elucidated. Everything becomes clear; the only cause of Hitlerism was German misery.

If Mr. Bricmont reads Le Monde, which published his article, he can advantageously refer to the article next to his, written by Susan Sontag. As a Barthesian, she develops finer instruments with which to consider what she calls *the monstrous dose of reality of Tuesday, September 11th.* She elucidates the mythical character of the rhetoric of the Bushian consensus, used to assure *the public that they will not be requested to carry a too heavy burden of the reality*. After reading Susan Sontag, we are calmed, and we can understand Mr. Bricmont when he remembers the ravages of the American Right, brutal and obtuse when in command, or the backlash the CIA suffered for supporting the fundamentalists. Nonetheless, we recoil when faced with the categories he deals with, and we ask ourselves in what strange metaphor he lives. With his pacifism and his hate of the Anglo-Saxon capitalism, doesn't Mr. Bricmont deceive us with illusions of other times, such as the Munich compromise, which did no good in the 40s, and which prevents him now from thinking of our time?

Our expert on the masses is in favor of the shock of civilizations. In the manner of Huntington. He does not back away from any empty categorisation such as *the orthodox and Slavic world* in struggle against NATO, or *the Muslim-Arab world* in conflict with the West. Logically, he is pro-Serbia without reservation and pro-Iraq without thought. This does not prevent him from declaring himself a pacifist. The fate of Iraq, like the walkout from the Durban conference resolutely turns him against Israel. Nothing awakens him to the complexity of the Jewish concerns. With what instrument of Physics does our Professor Nimbus see the earth and its politics?

The Bricmont imaginary reveals all its strength when he attacks the *Western* intellectuals: *We will find many intellectuals who link these attacks to everything they dislike in the world: Saddam Hussein, the Western pacifists, the Palestinian liberation movements, including the antiglobalization movement.* But where does he find these intellectuals that create this amalgam? Only Mr. Berlusconi groups Genes and the attack on New York. In fact, Mr. Bricmont lists the inventory of the coalition he wants to represent. What baggage he brings with him! This is his political masterpiece. The last phrase of the article announces it: *therefore a political war and not a terrorist one ­sigh! - is more necessary now than ever.*

We are also partisans in a struggle that must be fought in order to "bear a higher doses of reality". We simply wish that our passionate idealist would leave to others the care of human matters and sciences, from which he is too removed. If Alan Sokal had signed this article, we could have believed it to be a repetition of an old joke, played on our great evening newspaper. But no, it is Jean Bricmont who persists, alone."

Translated by Maria Cristina Aguirre, New York

The M. Denis Prize goes to Silvio Berlusconi
Paris, 28 Sept (ALP) - The ALP announced today in Paris the creation of the Mister Denis Prize, in homage to Denis Diderot. This prize, which will be granted in each bulletin by the editorial staff of the Agency, is intended to reward persons or institutions active in current events and who distinguish themselves by a spirit entirely opposite to that of Enlightenment: ignorance, intolerance, presumption, conceit, obscurantism, obstinacy, self-satisfaction, creation of situations embarrassing for oneself and for others, bad faith, disavowals that are not, boorishness, miserliness, etc. Denis Diderot was, on the contrary, learned, tolerant, modest, enlightened, flexible, intelligent, informed, always dissatisfied with himself, diplomatic, shrewd, elegant and generous. The first recipient of the Mister Denis Prize is Silvio Berlusconi, distinguished for his comments reported in *La Croix* of September 28th: *One cannot place all civilizations on the same level. We must be conscious of our supremacy, of the superiority of Western civilization. The West will continue to westernize and impose itself on lots of people. This already has succeeded with the communist world and with a part of the Muslim world.* All our compliments to the magnate.

Apes and men
Paris, 28 Sept (ALP) - Anne-Sophie Janus, who is preparing a doctoral thesis on cinema, inaugurates her *Chronicle of Films* for the Lacanian Press Agency by presenting *Human Nature* by Michel Gondry and *Planet of the Apes* by Tim Burton : A couple and a child are walking in a zoo. *One chromosome. One simple chromosome sets you apart*: the father points successively to the young Nathan and the miniature chimpanzee across from him. Pensive, the little boy records this information with care in his notebook. This discovery is considerable: one chromosome aside, he himself could be found behind the bars of this cage. Humanity holds on but by a thread.

The nightmare glimpsed by Nathan, the mad scientist of *Human Nature*, takes shape in *Planet of the Apes*: Men, reduced to slavery by dominant apes, are there upon the point of forever losing their humanity. The films of Gondry and Burton have in common the placing of apes and men in a precarious equilibrium upon the swing of evolution, language being the pivot in this device.

*Planet* situates itself at the junction of two symmetrical and inverse evolutions: humans, about to lose the use of speech, regress towards animality; apes, masters of language and writing, accede to civilization. To this simplistic dichotomy replies the filmic tangle of Gondry, where mastery of language is relegated to the middle distance in order to make way for the usage that is made of it.

In *Human Nature*, words are fatally equivocal, ceaselessly diverted from or stripped of their meaning. Nathan, preoccupied by humanity taking after its own kind, cultivates an ambition: to super-civilize Man by inculcating him with good manners and *beautiful speaking*. Freezing language in this way in the glaze of politesse, he allows it to waste away. His companion Lila mistrusts words, perceives their harmful power. In search of a lost understanding, she renounces speech to live in harmony with her true nature. Finally, discourse serves the duplicity of Gabrielle, mistress of Nathan, who feigns being Parisian, punctuating her sentences with French phrases pronounced with a ridiculous accent. Against all expectation, Puff, the man who takes himself for an ape, is the most human of them all: after having been civilized by force by Nathan then re-animalized by Lila, after having explored language in all its facets, he is the only one to make good use of it.

American cinema thus seems to be the scene of a double reciprocal evolution. Burton, hollywood genius, takes a step back: his film is unilateral, his discourse Manichean. Gondry, video clip director, moves forward: he happily brings together under one roof both Walt Disney and Text Avery, computer-generated images and real images, apelike humans and humanlike apes.

Translated by Suzanne Yang - New York

Ornicar? New Series
Paris, 28 September (LPA). The reappearance of Ornicar has been announced in Paris. It will be a semester publication of about 300 pages, which will be printed by Seuil. Ornicar?, the journal of the Freudian Field will now be open to all its capacities, national and international in Psychoanalysis. The first manuscript has been sent to Darantiere Press for a quotation The publication is scheduled by the first quarter of 2002. The LPA will publish the contents in the next issues.

The image of a city
Paris 28 September (ALP) Gerard Wajcman, writer and psychoanalyst at Poliveau Street in Paris, has sent us the text of his article, which was read last Wednesday in Daniel Arasse's monthly broadcast in France Culture: This first broadcast, devoted to the thought of visual arts , is taking place at a moment in which (we feel it), the XXI century has just emerged from the ashes of the two New York skyscrapers. I do not know if there are reasons to believe that history always gives birth to another century with pain, but it happens that the two centuries that we know were born into destruction; the XXth century had come out of the trenches of the 14, and on the last 11 September the XX century has just died. The new one has shown its face.

I would like to refer to something which I think is at the heart of this event and which has to do with what we are concerned here, today, because what took place in New York is directly connected to the image and undoubtedly there will be consequences in the world of art. I am not referring , of course, to the fact that artists are subjects and like all the other subjects are affected as the rest of the world. Neither I am saying that the emergence of this event will prevail as a theme in the coming expressions art always has always had the function of the memory of horror. I only want to point out this: there are events which not only change the history of the world but, the way in which we see the world and ourselves. The images change. I think that New York attack is one of them.

In general, when referring to a change in images, we reflect in the terms of the history of the arts. But the thought itself of a history of the arts stands on the idea that art generates art, and what changes art can only come from art itself.

However, sometimes I believe that there are effractions in the world of art, there are events which intimately affect it. This is not valid for every great event, wars can feed images but do not necessarily change them. I am speaking of facts in which even if we are not aware immediately of how, with the course of events, these facts change the image of things. The fact is that they change, and we are aware of this later, by the images themselves, in the instant in which we understand that they have changed.

This is what has oriented me regarding the gas chambers. This crime shook the XX century, and the images changed- and it is the film Shoah which has shown this. But what changed the images, was the appearance,at the heart of a century of the image, of an absolute crime with no image. The absence of image swooped over the images, it was a real with which each image had to count on from then on. That is why I think, that since the gas chambers, no image could appear without carrying with it, even without wanting, invisibly, the mark of the lack of image. From then on, the absence of images formed part of the history of representation.

With the attack on New York we find another thing. It is not a lacking image, on the contrary, it is an image in addition, an image in excess. At this point this crime is different from the gas chambers. Here, nothing was hidden or irrepresentable: we have seen everything: history live. Evidently, when we think of the incredible crumbling of the towers, we also have to face their absence; these two towers are not in their place today. For this reason they have become more real than they have ever been, even more than when they formed part of the skyline of New York: it is hard to look away from the hole where they once soared.. We cannot fail to acknowledge that there was, with this outrageous attack upon a city, an attack against the city, against the image of the city, against its beauty, against a universal image, loved universally. It is not any part of New York which was reached, and beyond any symbol of the towers linked to their function or their name, there is no need for an analyst to infer that here there is a desire for castration, considering them under the phallic view which Celine had of New York, with a hatred intent on wounding the pride of a city and punishing it: planes are sent as a punishment which comes from above to beat the blasphemous towers which aspire to scratch the sky.

Over six thousand people and a piece of the city erased from the map. But it is not that which is new. What is new is that we have seen the whole crime, because there was a will to show all. It is at the foundation of this crime to make everything visible, to make it a show. Things have been said about the astounding similarity to hollywood films. But this is more than closeness, because what defines the extent of the event is not, as has been said, that reality exceeded fiction, but rather that the crime project was to reduce reality to a fiction: to reduce the real to an image. There was a will to transform people, a city, an entire country, into a catastrophe movie. They came to say: «You are nothing but fictions and we are going to show you that by reducing you to the condition of TV images ». Everything was done here with the image. Much is said about knives and airliners, but TV was an essential instrument of the killers. I am not talking bout an hyper-media nature of crime, but of its deeply visual nature. I contend that its atrocious originality lies in its aim to really transform people, skyscrapers, an entire city, into simple images you can cut with a knife. There was a will to show America and the world who were the true Masters of Images. In that I find meaning to the fact that Commander Massoud was killed by the explosion of a boobytrapped camera.

With New York it is no longer a matter of war aiming at destroying its enemies; it is no longer a matter of slaughtering your neighbor ; it is no longer butchering, gassing or burning bodies in order to erase an entire category. Men here were not reduced to the condition of animals, numbers, or soap: they were reduced to the state of commas, those black commas in the word of a witness who was having coffee at his Manhattan terrace : « All I can say to you, he told a Le Monde journalist, is that I will never be able to close my eyes without seeing the Commas falling from the sky, those curved bodies, like black commas, jumping by the dozen from the windows in front of my loft. These "black commas" are an indelible image. They are the truth of the crime. In order to perpetrate it, it was required that men see men as little images, as commas squiggling against the background of the skyscraper. They conceived of this crime while looking at the world through the eye of a camera or of I don't know who, seizing from afar, or from the height, small, insignificant human commas.

Horror lies in discovering that there are today among us men who consider men as little shadows on screens, pieces of film that can be cut, or virtual beings that can be zapped. A crime of the time of movies and TV, it uses the means of the time against the time. Horror lies in that the crime against man is referred to a crime against the image. The attack on the World Trade Towers is an attack against the human image. It is the first great iconoclastic crime. It could only be the deed of fanatic iconoclasts, the same who bury women under a veil, the same who destroy giant Buddhas with machine guns. It was believed that a brute zealot prompted religious people to manifest that hate for images by performing a massacre on works of art; it was believed that their heinous rage was targeted on stones, on carved images high as towers: it is now evident that that was the first act of a war aiming at the infinite being of human subjects.

There are images that can change images. I believe that from now on they will be inhabited by the black commas.

Translated by Liliana Mauas-Singer (Israel)

Interview with JAM: the spring of psychoanalysis
Paris, Sept. 29 (LPA) * Now that you have renounced to the press Messrs Denis and Diatkine for your right to reply, are you going to pursue the writing of your Letters to enlightened opinion?*

-Yes. My two letters aroused an echo way beyond the menial event which forced me to write them, and well beyond the psychoanalytic milieu. I receive messages of encouragement which go straight to my heart, I am stimulated to pursue, I caused a sensitive string to vibrate: that of revolt against gagging. I had the surprise of my life: I am considered a writer, my letters are called my Provinciales. I have always written like that when I don't pay much attention, I had never paid any attention to it. It is the purloined letter, I almost purloined it from myself.

* Let us talk about the effect on the analytic milieu *

-Except for Jean Allouch, the rest is silence. Public silence, because behind the scene everybody is speaking to everybody else. It's the thawing. A moving moment. A dangerous one too: parts of the ice mass will stray before they eventually thaw. That is the sense of the Denis incident, this is evident retrospectively (après-coup).

* You are talking with images. Could you be more concrete?*

-The mountains were quarreling, now they are growing more pacified. Backs were turned, now it is embraces. A time of the spirit ends its ageing. The serpent of wisdom is relinquishing its old skin. The white bear walks away hand in hand with the whale. The umbrella is tickling the sewing machine on the dissection table.

* More symbols ! *

-A fact. After the « Lettre claire comme le jour », Jean Laplanche had a box of Pommard 1988 sent to rue d'Assas.

* No ! *

- Well, yes. Wednesday morning. The bottles are superb.

* Have you drunk it ? *

-Not yet. I'll drink it this evening with the nine Italian colleagues who are coming to Paris for a last chance meeting with the Delagate General of the WAP. It is our last chance to get going an Italian School of the Freudian Field before I step down from the President of the WAP next July. The 1988 Pommard will certainly be of help.

-* Did you thank Laplanche ? *

I wrote to him that he was acquitted regarding Lacan, and that I was forgiving his sins. As you see, I am not only the son of Montecristo, but sometimes also the Redeemer. I must have blown a fuse, as someone said, but in that case, Jean Laplanche blew them together with me. It is rather the yoke we lived in that has blown a fuse, and the past is being inactivated swiftly.

*One swallow does not make a summer!*

-First of all, that makes two, including Jean Allouch. And I know of other swallows, who are still a bit cold and are only waiting to soar. Time has come:"Ding, Dang, Dong!" The Spring of Psychoanalysis arrives. "Ornicar?" new series will publish its first issue, and we shall celebrate the event by organising in March or April 2002 a Colloquium to which we will invite the « capacities » of psychoanalysis, as the Orleanist said, whether they belong in the Freudian Field, non-Freudian Field, even anti-Freudian Field. Of course not everyone will come, but it will more than suffice to elicit the argentinization of French psychoanalysis. The French associations belonging to the IPA, i.e., the SPP and the AFP, suffered from acute supremacy, from effrontery.

The recent evidence of the franco-argentine analytic conviviality, of which they have been widely absent so far, will inevitable force them to join in the game, and already forces them to be more considerate towards their latin-american colleagues, from whom they have much to learn, as we ourselves have learned. Please check the new website of the SPP. It amply compliments Marcio Giovanetti. Do you know who Marcio is ? You don't ? Well, I will tell you next time. Marcio, anyhow, is very happy, so is Jorge Forbes, and myself too.

Lacanisation progresses at the same time as argentinization. The EOL journal El Caldero will soon publish an interview of its director, Silvia Baudini, with the President of ApdeBA, Asbed Aryan. The latter delicately blames me for having stated - in an interview soon to be published at the "Lettre Mensuelle" and which I sent to him ahead of time- that there were no lacanians in his association, as compared to the APA. He contends that things are not so and JAM is wrong and misinformed, we also have our lacanians, we teach Lacan, etc. I wish to present my excuses for having expressed myself wrongly : I know and respect the lacanians at ApdeBA, I only wanted to e mphasize that, since it is not organized in currents as the APA, ApdeBA has no recognized lacanian current. This being said, I do not forget that the predecessor of Asbed in the Presidency of ApdeBA, who is a poet, upon welcoming me at the magnificent five-story building that his association built, introduced me to 500 persons (a 300-seat amphitheatre, plus a 200-seat TV room) in these terms: "JAM must know that he is at home here". Even considering the angle of poetry and Argentinian courtesy towards the French, which is far-reaching, it was a great moment for me, having once been the « Zulu » of psychoanalysis. I still keep the poster announcing the event.

Laplanche, Chateau Pommard, route D'Autun, 21630 Pommard
The only wine in the world grown and bottled by an old disciple of Lacan's.

Translated by Liliana Mauas-Singer (Israel)

Edited by: Susana Tillet (Melbourne)

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