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What do you get if you cross a cow with a camel? Lumpy milk shakes.

Having placed two pieces about 11 September and its aftermath in the "public" domain, I've both "stopped living" and found myself lurching on through an over familiar graveyard of baroque clichés. Therefore it is necessary to speak once again about alienation, and simultaneously examine the relationship between commodity fetishism and idealism: subjects still appear to us as objects, and objects seem to have a life of their own. Dualism both services the counterrevolution and brings to mind those cartoon characters who run out over a cliff but don't fall until they look down. Today, our situation is an exact reversal of this scenario, discourse around 9/11 remains effervescent, and since everything that "should" be beneath us has disappeared, having looked down we've discovered that we are condemned to run on through "empty" (cyber)space. Lacking gravity, we can instead appreciate the seriousness of what is not serious. I am undead, I am reanimated through the medium of information, I enter and exit this simulacrum through the trap-door of proletarian post-modernism. History is a river that keeps flowing. The claims of those who believe they can step into and out of this "water" at will are both a tragedy and a farce. We must simultaneously work backwards towards the source of this flow, and forwards towards something else. That said, what created the greatest interest among the 9/11 material I've already made public was an appropriated numerological motif about the number eleven. More than one person has e-mailed me to point out that my "real" name contains eleven letters. Many people also realised I was constructing essays that were self-consciously (anti)-literary in order to demonstrate my conscious grasp of the way all discourse tends towards the fictional.

The emphasis on minutiae and the hidden with regard to coverage of 9/11 may or may not have served to obscure "the big picture". The occult continues to fascinate us in its many and varied forms, with innumerable "non-professional" commentators laying particular stress upon conspiracy theories. The repressed element that unifies this ever proliferating discourse about secrets is a scandalous lack of anything hidden. Just look at the array of books on the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Rather than resolving anything, the exponential growth of published material about 22 November 1963 has served to throw the few things we really did know into doubt. If it hasn't already been asserted in all seriousness that the assassination was staged with a double and JFK is still alive, it can only be a matter of time before some nutter proceeds to do so. Everything has been over-exposed in the raw light of information. A spectre is haunting the world, the spectre of post-modern atavism. There is no escape from modernity, only its return at a lower level. Today nothing is pre-modern, there is only post-modern rhetoric about "savagery" and "traditionalism", which promiscuously replicates in the faulty imaginations of "liberal" and "religious" fundamentalists. These "two" (anti)-camps are unconsciously united in their desire to promote a truly spectacular "clash of civilisations" in a futile attempt to prove they are not monstrous twins. It goes without saying that these failures have been bloody and violent. Those semi-literate liberals who claim that "paranoid Islam" has rejected modernity are both stupid and irresponsible. Muslim and Christian fundamentalists are incapable of rejecting modernity in anything other than a purely rhetorical fashion, since both they and their beliefs emerge from a post-"enlightenment" transvaluation of all values. Pointing this out does far more to undermine fundamentalism than shamelessly buttressing the self-image of those who are all too obviously deluded - including, of course, Rugby and Cambridge educated commentators who vainly imagine their beliefs are universally valid. That said, it is still necessary to take Islamophobia seriously, since the overdeveloped world is inescapably racist. Unfortunately, the chattering classes remain studiously ignorant of the lot of working class Muslims in cities like London. While religion often gives voice to real human aspirations albeit in alienated form, and it also provides one basis on which community self-defence against racism is organised, it is still necessary to denounce God in all her guises - alongside opportunists like Salman Rushdie, Clare Short, Khalid Mahmood and Tony Blair. One can read the warmongering utterances of these creatures in the press, or at least verbiage that they've signed. To take just one example, a document concocted by the Home Office was published by The Observer on 11/11/01 with Mahmood's name attached to it. According to this article, it's a myth there is no evidence that Osama bin Laden was behind the 9/11 attacks because: "His number two, Abu Gaith, advised Muslims to avoid using aeroplanes and tall buildings." Such "proof" wouldn't stand up in a whiskey distillery, let alone an international court of law (and, incidentally, the man who's being reviled in the British press as bin Laden's London lieutenant lived in a Paddington tower block until his recent arrest).

If bin Laden had a sense of humour rather than a death wish, he'd give himself up to the Libyan authorities for trial, where the case against him would unravel. Bin Laden is a gift to crypto-fundamentalists like Tony Blair, who'd relish the opportunity to use an al-Qaida show trial in the United States to boost his own standing as unofficial vice-president of America. The latest wheeze of Britain's New Labour government is to introduce internment without trial. "State of emergency" measures are currently being pushed forward in both the UK and the US, backed by the disingenuous claim that they are necessary for the defence of "democracy". Despite, or perhaps because of this, newspapers are still piling up around me instead of the autumn leaves these publications report are failing to fall this year because global warming has abolished seasonal differences. I've read several reports of impending ecological disaster, but I've accumulated this heap of hackery so that I may refer back to other ongoing stories. I would stress the term story here, since the press runs neither critique nor poetics. I rather like popular story telling, but I feel it works best when combined with a multiplicity of prose forms, hence my cut and paste narratives. That said, I'd still hoped the ridiculous justifications for the post-11 September bombings might collapse like a pack of discarded Tarot cards or the Taliban in northern Afghanistan. Heedless of my wishes, those mobilised behind the pseudo-banners of "theocracy" and "democracy" continue in their attempts to justify the unjustifiable. I thought I'd said everything I needed to say against terrorism in my 1995 "Luther Blissett" essay The Sucking Pit. However, media commentary on the matter remains confused, since many hacks are attempting to define terrorism in ways that will prevent "blow-back" against Bush and Blair. However, it is self-evident to millions of people across the globe that the bombing of Afghanistan is every bit as repulsive as the 9/11 attacks. Likewise, the Northern Alliance is no better than the Taliban, and let's not forget that the US armed both factions so that they could fight the Russians. Nothing is resolved by bombing.

What's brown, has two humps and is found at the south pole? A lost camel.

In the wake of recent cyber storms, my in-box continues to fill with commentary about 9/11 and its aftershocks. Among these e-mails have been several pointing me in the direction of the major arcanum. For example, I received the following from Mike Roth on 26/10/01: "My reaction to the events of Sept.11 are varied and contradictory. The initial broadcasts about these events also seemed to embody this multiplicity (schizophrenia?), as news stations clamored to analyze every bit of significant to ludicrous piece of information and to do it first. The data storm, to use your term, began immediately as cameras that oddly seemed to be in place captured the planes (at least the second plane) ram into the towers. And it still has not ceased, although the form of "data" has changed - it has moved from the detailed deconstruction of Sept.11 to the broad appeal of the televised celebrity fund-raiser. The terrorists attacked symbols of western capital, western political and military power and western occultism. It is a conflict of symbols (esoteric and exoteric), the human has receded from the discussion. Those who died are heroes, the terrorists are fanatical sociopaths, etc. The permutations continue to be played out. Each newscast further removes us from the original events - to paraphrase Baudrillard - copies without the original endlessly reproducing. What interested me was the almost apocalyptic analysis in the first few days - talk of Nostrodamus, the apparition of Satan's face in the smoke above the Twin Towers, etc. Even with all this "new age" examination, I never once heard anyone in the media comment on the esoteric symbolism of the Tower and the Pentagon. Just look at the Tower card in any Tarot deck (Thoth deck preferred). I would have loved to see Dan Rather stare straight into the camera and proclaim that two of the most powerful magickal temples in the West had been attacked and that the head magus has just proclaimed a magickal war. We have all been inundated with information from the media and from friends and associates. So Data Storm is a very apt concept. It's funny, the term brings Desert Storm to mind… One common thread from people's initial reaction to the incidents was the phrase 'It was like a movie.' These people were forced to recognize that simulated reality and reality (?) have merged. There is no distinction in everyday life. And in fact they may have been reliving an episode of Lone Gunman (a short-lived X-files spin off) where due to certain remote computer control experiments a plane with its load of passengers finds it's headed straight for the Twin Towers, before they are saved by our resourceful protagonists..."

I've been able to point those who've e-mailed me information about the major arcanum to my 1997 novel Come Before Christ & Murder Love (page 198): "In the tarot there is a card that bears the picture of a tower with its battlements struck by lightening. Two men, one crowned, the other uncrowned, are falling with fragments of masonry. The attitude of the former imitates the shape of the letter Ayin. This card contains the first allusion to material building in the pack. It signifies the invisible or spiritual whorl. The sixteenth card represents the fall of Adam. He will become increasingly corporeal until the eighteenth arcanum, in which he attains the maximum materialisation." Likewise, when Roth highlights the mantra about 9/11 being 'like a movie' he hits the spot again. Freud needs to be radically revised; film is our unconscious. Our minds, our very ways of thinking, are saturated with movie images. Thus the new wave film-maker Alain Resnais stated in a 1967 interview with L'Arc: "The unconscious is also Spectacle, perhaps the primal Spectacle." Similarly, 9/11 only makes sense when seen in the context of ongoing seventies revivalism within the mediascape. Patty Hearst (the granddaughter of Citizen Kane) is back in the news because of the capture of an alleged SLA terrorist involved in her kidnap. The announcement that jailed seventies "super-terrorist" Carlos The Jackal plans to marry his defence lawyer is also creating headlines. Even more poignant than these stories is the reissue in new formats of seventies disaster movies. One of the biggest box office hits of 1974 The Towering Inferno - an all star vehicle for Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire and O. J. Simpson - is now out on DVD (issued by Warner Home Video UK in 2000). Director Irwin Allen had transformed the disaster movie into an all star genre in 1972 with The Poseidon Adventure. For viewers from the overdeveloped world approaching middle-age, watching the Twin Towers being destroyed on live TV took them back to their school days when cinema visits to see catastrophe epics like Towering Inferno and Earthquake were de rigeur. Disaster movies set on aeroplanes were a staple of seventies cinema, beginning with the silver screen adaptation of Arthur Hailey's novel Airport in 1970. Then there were the sequels: Airport 75, Airport 77 and The Concorde: Airport 79. The success of this series and other movies inspired by them culminated in the spoof flicks Airplane (1980) and Airplane 2: The Sequel (1982).

Anyone who knows anything about the occult cannot have failed to notice that the disaster films I've just mentioned deal with the four elements of earth, air, fire and water. Alongside the occult, terrorism is also well established as a popular Hollywood theme and it is sometimes combined with the air disaster genre, see for example Passenger 57 (1992) starring Wesley Snipes and the repulsive Liz Hurley (if only they'd hired Divine Brown instead). In Turbulence (1997), Ray Liotta plays a crazed criminal who takes over a plane in mid-flight, although his on-screen threat to crash it into the control tower of LAX airport is ultimately thwarted. Just as the Patty Hearst kidnapping echoed a plot that had already been laid out in a pulp novel, the attacks on the Twin Towers and The Pentagon resonated in the popular imagination precisely because they were collaged together from Hollywood scripts. The 9/11 hijackers were caught up in the same Disneyland imaginary as those who consumed these acts of mass murder as a media spectacle. The choice of target reveals the hijackers to have been celluloid junkies. Hollywood is Rome, Bethlehem and Mecca rolled into one; New York a modern Babylon. If God made the world in seven days, then he gave Roger Corman a run for his money in terms of fast turnaround.

The God of modernity is not the God of the Old Testament. There is no God but God, and in the twentieth-century he was sent to the back of a dole queue, that is until "Islamoprotestant" neo-traditionalists reinvented him as a movie director. The 9/11 hijack script followed the cultural logic of slasher movies, where the invisibility of the killer is used to overcome the non-representability of evil. If all sides in the post-9/11 "conflict" feel or felt able to invoke God as justification for their actions, then they must necessarily configure each other as emissaries of Satan. It doesn't matter whether or not they've seen The Exorcist and The Omen, they've absorbed the scripts by osmosis. Religion has been Hollywoodised. A lust for dramatic crises has been mixed with a conservative desire for crisis management, that assimilates and defuses the threat of free and spontaneous human activity. Once upon a time the "great" monotheistic religions were iconoclastic, but since their transformation by modernity, adherents to these creeds are more than capable of claiming a place in The Spectacle. If the mind has long been associated with God - Hegel's system which culminates in absolute mind and God provides just one example of this - then for many monotheists the body is Satan's palace. The 9/11 hijackers with their applied science backgrounds and bizarre monotheistic beliefs were unwitting victims of modernist mind/body dualism which finds its "classic" formulation in Descartes' Cogito. In the diatribes of fundamentalists, modernity is subject to a Frankenstein effect, fearing the body these mystics conjure up a reanimated version of the very thing they denounce. Reductive rationalism is seen as a short cut to an unrealisable end. In New York bodies were vaporised, while the high tech bombing of Afghanistan is intended to demonstrate the absolute superiority of US forces. The means sometimes differ but the ends are the same. The victims of such violence are mere abstract matter to those responsible for their slaughter. The body, however, will not be banished. Both terror and love emerge from the body, since mind IS matter. Every time someone has an orgasm it is simultaneously a triumph of the imagination. Fear also brings forth laughter, and only a minority of the jokes about 9/11 are based on infinitely interchangeable ethnicities, where the word American will be transmogrified into the term Martian by someone with an irrational hatred of spacemen. Have you heard about the new executive travel service that has started up in the US? They fly you right into the office. Did you know Mohammed Atta was an expert chef? His speciality was Big Apple crumble. What were the last words of the Manhattan hot dog seller? Who ordered the two jumbos?

What's brown, has three humps and is found in the desert? A camel with a rucksack.

On 24/10/01 Steve Beard e-mailed me the following: "I thought your Baudrillardian take on the bombing of the World Trade Centre considered as a media event was an interesting spin. It reminded me of what Arthur & Marilouise Kroker said: 'Breaking the rules of publicity culture, it [i.e. the terrorism of the new age of viral power] claims no responsibility and thus speaks clearly to the cultural imagination of the suppressed and powerless everywhere.' I reckon this is a thought worth expanding on. I'm not sure what the bombing of the World Trade Centre is apart from a crime against humanity. But let's construct a hypothesis and consider it as the 9/11 media event. OK. The media spectacle of the bombing was the strategic communication objective of the terrorists who sponsored it. Were the terrorists making a statement? No. There has been no message attached to the spectacle. No familiar demands for the release of political prisoners or the withdrawal of troops. No movement towards the negotiating table. Osama bin Laden in that sense looks more and more like a voluntary scapegoat. 9/11 is an awareness campaign without a political message. Who was the audience for the campaign? Anyone willing to watch the spectacle of the bombing on TV. What were the audience made aware of? The way that the World Trade Centre resonates within their own cultural imagination. The Twin Towers are a symbol of oppressive power for many people who are not Western liberals.... 9/11 side-steps the old terrorist alibi of unmasking the violence of the state in order to adopt the hyperreal tactic of inducing the dissent of society... It seems that with 9/11 society may well have passed through the looking-glass to join us on the other side of its own disappearance. What strange new alliances may now begin to be forged? It remains my hope that the long-term consequence of 9/11 will be the creation of a radically humanistic global welfare state..."

On receiving this message, I immediately sent Beard the following: "I'd been looking at Baudrillard again (obviously In The Shadow Of Silent Majorities has reflections on terrorism)... I should look at the Krokers too. Good tip. I was thinking of going more into the viral issues because The Guardian carried a correction a couple of days ago, saying it was wrong when it called anthrax a virus, it is actually a bacteria. But for most of us these post-9/11 anthrax attacks are a media event, so The Guardian actually got it right the first time and the correction is wrong. Now you're pushing me even further in that direction, which I see as a good thing. I wanted to look at how the media delivers shocks without actually breaking anything open, there is no truth to reveal etc., and all the media can do is leave us shaken but not stirred, that is its function. The disproportions in the ways mass destruction is being delivered (certainly in terms of cost, the effects are the same) brings The Gift to my mind. But maybe you're right to hope for something much more human to come out of all this inhumanity. Another curious thing is that the Taliban have abolished television in Afghanistan, so perhaps this explains why they were attacked, it was the one place in the world where 9/11 wasn't a media event..."

Beard replied on 27/10/01 with the following: "I'm glad you found my last e-mail helpful. The Krokers quote was from their essay on 9/11 'Terrorism in the Age of Viral Power'... Most of my information on recent events is coming from the Nettime mailing list, where Ivo Skoric is running a good Media Watch column. I think that 9/11 considered as a media virus is a good place to start theorising. The sponsors of 9/11 appear to understand that the event is equivalent only to a punctual moment of viral infection; the real damage occurs later in real time as the media networks continue to transmit the virus of terror, business confidence falters, and network society itself begins to weaken. The sponsors of 9/11 seem astute enough to know which media spectacles will trigger these viral panics. They also appear to understand how to directly target the media vectors on which network society depends - long-haul airline carriers, and now postal communication channels in the wake of the recent anthrax scare (although this may be more akin to an opportunistic infection). I think it's interesting how you've picked up on the fact that the Taliban have banned TV in Afghanistan. It's as if they have protected themselves from the effects of 9/11 in advance of its release into the media simulacrum. Maybe Afghanistan as a result is the one place in the world apart from New York City where the reality of the bombing of the World Trade Centre can be humanly imagined. Perhaps there is the basis for a kind of solidarity here between the peoples of Kabul and New York. (Especially given that, as you point out, Protestantism and Islamicism are actually not so very far away from each other.)"

Now a novelist, in a former incarnation as a critic, Beard was the only person who reviewed my novel Come Before Christ & Murder Love to point out that among other things it satirised Rene Girard's notion of the scapegoat. Here Girard returns in Steve's e-comment about bin Laden, and if one takes this theorist seriously and accepts that the enemy scapegoated as the source of violence is found within society itself, then this is yet more evidence that rather than being "a clash of civilisations" current events are part of a globally integrated Spectacle (the "global village" simulacrum is imploding yet again, but that is no reason to give up the social). On a BBC radio broadcast about the fall of Mazar-e-Sharif, the fact that the Northern Alliance was reopening both cinemas and a TV station was very heavily flagged. After Kabul fell, much emphasis was placed on music being played by Afghan radio once again. Famine is of less significance than infinite self-referentiality, particularly to the "culturally aware" "quality" media. This is, of course, something in which I am also implicated. Since I am able to access the news as it happens, the historicity of the present is always impinging on and over determining my response to it. "I've stopped living" because the present has become historical for me. Simultaneously, with the endless repetition of 9/11 images in the media, the present has also become monstrous and ahistorical - and not simply for me. Just as the 9/11 hijackers replaced representation with an iconoclastic presentation, reality TV as the penultimate simulation, the impact of cyberspace on the overdeveloped world manifests itself within this essay in precisely the same way.

There is no need to explain anything because cause and effect have collapsed into each other. Polarities are reversed, and this is prime time. All I need to do is paste in an e-mail I received from Peter Mannheim on 20/10/01: "Some of my friends really do watch too much TV..... Afghan "transmission times" indeed... Taliban TV's new Fall schedule.. 6.00 G-Had TV. Morning prayers. 8.30 Talitubbies. Talitubbies say "Ah-ah". Dipsy and Tinky-Winky repair a Stinger missile launcher. 9.00 Shouts of Praise. More prayers. 11.00 Jihad's Army. The Kandahar-on-Sea battalion repulse another attack by evil, imperialistic, Zionist backed rebels. 12.00 Ready, Steady, Jihad! Celebrities make lethal devices out of everyday objects. 12.30 Panoramadan. The programme reports on America's attempts to take over the world. 13.30 'Xena: Modestly dressed Housewife'. Xena stays at home and does some cooking. 14.00 Only Fools and Camels. Dhal-Boy offloads surplus Chinese rocket launchers to The Hamas. 14.30 Green Peter. The total of Kalashnikovs bought by the milk bottle top appeal is revealed. < don't flag now > 15.00 Madrasah Challenge. Two more Islamic colleges meet. Bambah Kaskhain asks the questions. 'Starter for ten, no praying.' 15.30 I Love 629. A look back at the events of the year, including the Prophet's entry into Mecca & the destruction of pagan idols. 16.00 Question Time. Members of the public face questions from political and religious leaders. < Interesting. Seems impractical but has actually been done to death - before TV, of course > 17.00 Koranation Street. Deidre faces execution by stoning for adultery. 17.30 Middle-East Enders. The entire cast is jailed for un-Islamic behaviour. 18.00 Holiday. The team go on pilgrimage to Mecca - again ! 18.30 Top of the Prophets. Will the Koran be No. 1 for the 63,728th week running? <.....showing the inventors of algebra that we understand arithmetic....> 19.00 Who wants to be a Mujahadin ? Mahmoud Tarran asks the questions. Will contestants phone a mullah, go "inshallah" or ask the Islamic Council? 20.00 FILM: Sharia's Angels. Three burkha-clad sleuths go undercover to expose an evil scheme to educate women. 21.30 Big Brother. Who will be taken out of the house and executed this week? 22.30 Shahs in their Eyes. More hopefuls imitate famous destroyers of the infidel. < Be sure of your Shahs before playing this one. Indoor sport only.> 23.30 They think it's Allah over. Quiz culminating in the 'don't feel the Mullah'round. < a likely story > 00.00 When Imams attack. Amusing footage shot secretly in mosques. The filmers were also secretly shot. 12.30 a.m. The West Bank Show. Arts programme looking at anti-Israel graffiti art in the occupied territories. 1.30 Bhuffi the Infidel Slayer. 2.00 A book at bedtime. The Koran. Again."

We long ago left the modernist age of television behind us to become the undead dreamers of the post-modern absolute. That said, I'm not even sure whether the "jokes" forwarded to me by Peter Mannheim are comprehensible to those who are fortunate enough to lack access to British terrestrial channels. Likewise, I wasn't surprised when having looked up Arthur and Marilouise Kroker's Terrorism Of Viral Power essay, I was more impressed by Beard's reading of it than the work itself. I could remain unhappily zombiefied without access to Baudrillardian slogans slung together by those who are blissfully unaware of the impact of the ultra-left on the material they're busily appropriating (viz, the Kroker's talk about "the suppressed and powerless", even Foucault understood that power always flows in at least two directions). Back then to bacteria, on 22/10/01 Margarita Gluzberg sent me the following: "My mother was speaking on the phone yesterday to a close friend in Moscow, who was saying: 'You are all completely mad out there with this anthrax scare lunacy - we've always had anthrax here anyway, what's the problem?!' "

Why did the camel cross the road? Because it wanted to get to the other side.

11 September means many things to many people, for Scots nationalists it is the anniversary of the Battle of Stirling Bridge, the day in 1297 when William Wallace defeated the English troops of Edward I. Ten years and one month later, the power of The Knights Templar was smashed in mainland Europe. The Templars were accused of worshipping the devil in the form of Baphomet, which may or may not have been a corruption of Mohammed. From this bald fact, some commentators have concluded that The Templars were suppressed for secretly converting to Islam during the course of their crusade in "The Holy Lands". The suppression of The Templars took place later and less thoroughly in the British Isles than on mainland Europe. According to legend, many members of this monastic military order escaped to Scotland where they reinvented themselves as Freemasons. This may or may not be true, but if Freemasonry did first emerge in Scotland from the rump of a crusader organisation that had converted to Islam, it explains a great deal of the ongoing wild talk about Hiram Abiff and masonry's Egyptian origins. Regardless of whether such popular tales have any historical veracity, on a purely poetic level they illustrate well enough the enormous contribution Islam made to modernity.

One of the positive things about the monotheistic religions is the enormous contribution they've made to our secular world, since they created the conditions for their own disappearance. 9/11 and what followed also emerged from, and will disappear back into, the ongoing transformation of this mythology. One of the more obviously reanimated post-9/11 stories concerned an American woman who'd allegedly started a fire while microwaving her mail, which she feared had been contaminated with anthrax. I read it in The Guardian on 25/10/01. Likewise, the following was run in the Upgrade e-magazine of 6/11/01: "wOrZgUd urgent virus warning NOT, repeat NOT a hoax. On September 11 a virtually unstoppable super-virus was released into the world and is making its way around the planet at a very great speed. Known as wOrZgUd it has already wreaked untold damage, and has the potential to permanently affect the warranty on planet Earth. You must act quickly! REPORTED INFECTION EXAMPLES: Believing there is 'evidence sufficient to bring about a prosecution'. Being unaware of the links between the CIA, Taliban & Osama Bin Laden. Not knowing about the proposed oil pipeline route through Afghanistan and its alternative through the Balkans. Not being aware that 'collateral damage' means innocent men, women & children. Not linking 'cheap goods' with extreme exploitation. Thinking that two wrongs can make a right. Not being aware that this all happens with our implicit consent." The 6/11/01 issue of Upgrade is also littered with "po-mo" camel jokes, so I've revived some more "traditional" ones to punctuate this essay. The last upsurge in camel jokes I remember was during the "Gulf War". This time, opposition to the bombing in the overdeveloped world is more vocal and so the jokes suffer less from displacement. For example, what has four legs, two humps and flies? A camel that's been hit by a million dollar "smart" bomb. It isn't clever, it isn't funny and it has to stop.

Nigel Ayers forwarded me the following, which may or may not be a hoax: "Sent: Thursday, October 25, 2001 4:16 PM Subject: IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO FRIENDS OF THE SERIAL CALLER. About 10 days ago a very good Pakistani friend of mine whose family are diplomats, told me that he could get me the telephone number to the room where American Sec. of State Colin Powell would be meeting with various top ranking Pakistani officials whilst on his recent visit to Pakistan, amazingly enough after maybe 20 seconds Secretary Powell came on the line. The next 4.57 minutes were quite incredible!!!... I told Mr. Powell that I was Jesus and was back for the 2nd coming. He told me it "Was about time too Sir." I found Mr. Powell to be an absolute gentleman, with a great sense humor. At one point he even asked me if I could "Pop over and perform a miracle on 1 of his old cars that he has a passion for mending... Yesterday morning it ( the prank call ) was put onto the site and ready to go. I sent out the ' ... NEW MP3 TODAY ... World Exclusive ... PeAcE' e-mail to all on my OFFICIAL SERIAL CALLER E-MAIL LIST, which comprises of all of you. About half an hour after having sent out the e-mail, I was smoking a cigarette and drinking a coffee when suddenly I looked up from my PC to find 2 men standing in front of me. I have no idea how they entered my apartment... These men (both wearing sunglasses like from some bad movie) explained to me that my Prank Call was a threat to vital national interests and demanded the tape. Left with no alternative I turned the tape over and they HELPED me to erase all copies of it from my computer. I advised my web master to erase it from his computer too. My advise was not needed as he received a visit in NY from 2 other gentlemen who HELPED him erase it... I went to check www.TheSerialCaller.com only to find that my web site has been closed down by order of the N.S.A and even my serial caller e-mail has been hijacked... I am not the enemy, I'm just trying to do my bit to keep spirits up during this difficult time... The Serial Caller."

There's no beginning, there's no end, the "urban myths" go on forever - and some of them may even be "true". Isn't it about time we all did something to supplement this radical uncertainty with human community? Is this a state of emergency? Will I feel compelled to supplement the three pieces I've now written about 9/11 and its aftermath with yet more commentary? The world will not change until our perceptions of it have been transformed, right now too many people in the overdeveloped parts of this planet are still caught up in apocalyptic nostalgia. The theocratic Northern Alliance reinstalling itself in Kabul under the cover of US air power is not quite the same thing as a boot stamping on a human face forever. However, already there are reports of massacres. Nothing has changed and everything has changed, the world is regularly changing "forever". Do we need to re-examine our need for narrative and our simultaneous desire to subvert it?. The best post-9/11 writing will necessarily avoid being merely "about" these events. It will concern itself with forms of expression. Yesterday Lynne Tillman e-mailed me a short piece she's just written entitled Come & Go, a contemporary New York story that contains no explicit references to 9/11. The last three sentences read as follows: "Out of nothing comes language and out of language comes nothing and everything. I know there will be stories. Certainly, there will always be stories." This is easily the best thing I've read written in the aftermath of recent events.

Jacques de Molay, 14 November 2001

More on 9/11: Twin Towers (first in series of 3 of which this page is last)

More on 9/11: Data Panics (previous piece)

Fiction attributed to Osama bin Laden

No War But The Class War!

Canary Wharf Tower in east London

Canary Wharf Tower on the Isle of Dogs in east London, still standing despite a 1990s bomb plot against it.