Clayton Eshleman
Complexities of Witness

In his review of my book Under World Arrest (Small Press, summer, 1995), Michael Duff contests the effectiveness of a poem on the beating of Rodney King (a video that was replayed for weeks, King beaten again and again, in contrast to the almost bodiless Gulf War on TV). He also dislikes some poems he does not name which "excoriate American leaders." I am not particularly bothered by Duff's criticism, since I know that the political poem in America is always in a state of disputed effectiveness. I would like to take his comments as a point of departure to reflect on some of the problems that arise when a poet attempts to, as directly as is possible, address war and violence at large.

Robert Duncan wrote some of the most commanding political poetry of the late 1960s—in particular "Up Rising" (linking Johnson with Hitler and Stalin, as Johnson intensified the American bombing of Vietnam) and his variation on Southwell's "The Burning Babe" (written in 1595), in which

Duncan responded to horrifying photos of napalmed Vietnamese girls, which had been suppressed from Ramparts but published in my magazine, Caterpillar. Yet Duncan's response to a Denise Levertov poem ("Life at War") about the same war was to charge Levertov with projecting a personal and unresolved problem into what many readers felt Was a realistic response to the war. "Delicate man," Levertov wrote,

still turns without surprise, with mere regret to the scheduled breaking open of breasts whose milk runs out over the entrails of still-alive babies, transformation of witnessing eyes to pulp-fragments, implosion of skinned penises into

In a letter to  Levertov (quoted in her essay, "Some Duncan Letters—A Memoir and a Critical Tribute"), Duncan quoted this stanza and commented: "the words in their lines are the clotted mass of some operation ... having what roots in you I wonder? Striving to find place in a story beyond the immediate."

In the same period, Duncan also attacked James Dickey (in Duncan's essay, "Man's Fulfillment in Conflict and Strife," in which he justifies writing "Up Rising" and discusses its background and borrowings). Citing a few lines from Dickey's poem "The Fire-Bombing," Duncan wrote: "'The Fire Bombing' dwells on [Dickey's] own fantasies, fed by his actual missions over Japan in the Second World War ... the poet projects an exultant and fearful inner reality . . . exultant in his hostile cravings for destructive power."—as if Duncan, as the author of "My Mother would be a Falconress," did not have a "fearful inner reality" of his own!

In both criticisms, Duncan proposed that Levertov and Dickey were mainly revealing something ugly about themselves. Levertov was responding to news reports; Dickey was recounting what Michael Palmer would call a witnessing (which involved the fire-bombing, by Dickey and others, of Japanese villages).

It is hard to say who has more subjective room. Levertov has the whole range of news information, and one could argue that such a range of selectivity allows for a greater subjectivity on her part (through which projections can emerge). Yet anyone following the war in those days with a critical eye toward what our government was doing knew that Levertov was not making up sliced breasts, pulped eyes, and skinned penises. Via the network established by some 500 NYC artists involved in "Angry Arts," we knew that stuff was going on over there that was more hideous than we could see on TV or find in any mass circulation magazine. I refer the reader here to Douglas Kahn's essay "Body Lags" (City Lights Review #5), in which, among other shocking revelations, Kahn writes that the true story of what went on in Vietnam is buried in Vietnam vets' attics in shoeboxes: snapshots of   necromutilation.

Let's say Dickey is exulting over enemy destruction—is it fair to generalize, as Duncan appears to have done, that such reveals "hostile cravings for destructive power?" Should Dickey have kept his mouth shut about what turned him on and written poems (as did many American poets involved in WW II) that pretended that no violation of the human had occurred?

Poetry is still regarded by many as a sacred cow domain, or Sunday Museum, in which X may be exposed but only under certain conditions and in certain ways. Is American poetry then still prisoner of a genteel English tradition that Owens and Lawrence, for example, tried to abolish? Or is there something paddling about in the Puritan depths of the American poet that says: hold off in really saying it as you imagine it to be. From such a perspective, Whitman's guarded openness seems heroic. Are we not called upon today to go at least as far from what is conventionally acceptable as Whitman went from Victorian dissimulation?

No one I know or have read has implied that Mark Danner's book-length expose of the El Mozote massacre in Salvador revealed anything ugly about Danner. Is this because, in Danner's case, we credit him with an objectivity that, when psyche comes into play, we refuse?

Alas, news reports are as unstable in their own way as psyche is in hers. One can argue that when psyche comes into play, a significant additional aspect of the human becomes involved. Secretly, we know that all are monstrous in psyche. Psyche is an inverse panopticon: as she reveals self, there is no place, in Rilke's words, "that does not see you." Also keep in mind that all so-called "objective reports" come via the bodies and minds of human beings. The media filter system (much more complicated than book publishing) is a political mine field of priorities and agendas. How do we know who is telling the truth? Poetry is interesting in this regard, for because of  its excessive subjectivity the truth of a given matter can often be detected.

The last focused period for political poetry in America was the late 1960s. While significant political poetry has been written over the past twenty-five years (Baraka, Rothenberg, Rich, Grahn, Duncan, and Cortez immediately come to mind), it has been an isolated response in contrast to the coalescing of collective conscience in the late 1960s. The 1960s were, politically-speaking in the arts, a burgeoning; the seeds and early growths are in the late 1940s and the otherwise flatfooted 1950s. Does it take a prolonged war (with significant American loss) to give heft to a politically effective art? Aesthetically-speaking, over the past twenty-five years, poetic energy has undergone the division between writing workshop displays of self-sensitivity and an inventive yet non-referential Language poetry that declares itself political but refuses to work with event in the Poem itself.

In a recent interview with Michael Palmer (Exact Change Yearbook 1995), Peter Gizzi mentions that he understands Palmer's "The Circular Gates" (1974) "as a poem constructed out of the Vietnamese War." Palmer agrees, so I went back to the poem. While such phrases as "Some talk of war" and "Sometimes we are at war" occur here and there in this fifteen page poem, Vietnam is not mentioned, nor are there any images or references in the poem that would link it to a concern with the Vietnamese War. Palmer's commentary following Gizzi's description of "The Circular Gates" is interesting and worth our attention:

     It was very much so; I was looking for a means of representation that I could feel honest with. In other words, I think one of the problems of an overtly political poetry now is something that Octavio Paz has brought up, that so much of it has to do with newspaper reports and so little of it has to do with witness. We look at the powerful poems of witness of this century and they are not about newspaper reports, and they're not about proposing one's particular point de repère, point of view, position, so much as facing something that may even overwhelm the poetic sign in its multiplicity of meanings, something often horrible. The American tendency is to read our politics out of these distant events and then to write some almost self-congratulatory oppositional work. And so what I tried to face (speaking of "Seven Poems within a Matrix of War" now) was, what did we experience of that thing-which was the overwhelming flood of images, the controlled imagery that was poured over us, whether that be the exploding suns over Baghdad on the CNN nightly news, or...

It would be interesting to have the full Paz statement, for in Palmer's comments its significance is hard to grasp. Since Paz has become increasingly conservative as he has aged, the chances are that the "something" Palmer is recalling is not in support of abrasive political poetry.

Palmer's distinction between witness and newspaper report (à la Paz) seems unrealistic to me. Significant poems solely based on direct witness, such as Radnoti's or Owens', are more rare than one might think. Vallejo relied mainly on newspaper and radio reports, or word of mouth, even though he was in Spain at the time (1937) and did visit the Madrid front, to write España, aparta de mí este cáliz. Neruda's huge Canto general is a mix of witnessing and historical research. Célan's poetry, the fruit of the death camps, is an utter entanglement of witnessing, memory, hermeticism, literary reference, and attack on the German language. As Jed Rasula has perceptively noted: "With Célan, the German language itself becomes the means of its own disembodiment. In his hands, more and more of the language simply goes up in smoke ... A prick from a rose killed Rilke. Célan writes as if an entire crown of roses were being held in place in his mouth. Beauty is bloody."

I wonder where Palmer would place Duncan's "Up Rising." Since Duncan never visited Vietnam, the poem is not one of direct witnessing. Yet as Duncan has written: "Riding  the wave at once of my own high blood pressure—a physical disorder I was ignorant of at the time but to which the poem refers clearly—and of my outrage in the 'high blood pressure' attack of the American government on Vietnam ... I saw Johnson as the demotic leader, unleashing into action and moved by the secret evil of American karma as Hitler or Stalin had impersonated the evil karma of Germany or Russia." Thus the "Up Rising" of the poem's title is, again in Duncan's words, "multiphasic." It draws on the whole man, and could qualify as one of "the powerful poems of witness of this century."

Palmer proposes that when an unwitnessed political event is engaged directly in a poem the result may be "self-congratulatory oppositional work." Here the problem of self-projection raised by Duncan reading Levertov takes on a new twist: the media blizzard that Palmer later in the interview calls "hallucinatory" produces a poem that is deflected from the political into a space possessed by the non-sequitor information storm of truth and lies. It is as if a new purgatory, a postmodernist DMZ, has insinuated itself between the poet and some event out there. This purgatory is multifaceted: while it is packed with cul-de-sacs, it is also permeated with global information on a scale undreamed of before the Vietnamese War. W.H. Auden, in his essay "The Poet and the City" (1962), a bit dated but still sharp and unnerving, discussed the increasing difficulty in poets using public figures as themes for poetry "because the good or evil they do depends less upon their characters and intentions than upon the quantity of impersonal force at their disposal."

In the so-called "Gulf War" (Chomsky referred to it as a "form of international terrorism"), "impersonal force" was presented as a video game, intercut with information-screened press conferences. It was awful, as awful in its own way as the "war," but somehow many of us figured out what was going on, and six months later, via books and magazine articles, I, for one, felt I had enough solid information on which to make a response, goaded by the fact that I was originally, in the months before our invasion, taken in by the media hype of Iraq's awesome military power.

Both Palmer and I look out workroom windows and see healthy trees and hear chirping birds. As white middle-class males, our immediate environment is almost always at odds with much of what pierces it via the information storm. As Americans, especially as white ones, we have permission to say anything in print that we want to say (with the recent qualification that what we say may be ignored because we are white American males). Our lives and the lives of our families will not be imperiled by anything we declare. We are thus permitted to live in a kind of cocoon through which odorless information zips, a significant amount of which implicates, and mortifies us, as citizens. We do not depend on newspaper reports: we "witness" via TV, as witnesses twice-removed. Unlike Aimé Césaire, say, we do not have the opportunity to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves or write. We primarily speak for, and to, ourselves.

At the same time, no one is shooting at us—yet. Like at least some of our admired predecessors, we are able to daily engage the ancient adventure of not only attempting to "know ourselves" but of working on and contesting a self in poetry. These opportunities must not go unacknowledged. In comparison to writers in such diverse places as China, Algeria, and Yugoslavia, we are left alone, financially sufficient, and our books somehow get published. However—and here I must speak solely for myself—I feel an absolute obligation to pull some of the invaded outside I am implicated in through the information purgatory and push it to the fore in my poetry. I really do not care if it offends people even to the extent of leading them to dismiss all that I have done.


Paz's preference for a political poetry of direct witness, taken up by Palmer, is sounded throughout what may be the largest gathering of such poetry ever assembled into a single volume: Carolyn Forché 's Against Forgetting: Twentieth Century Poetry of Witness, an 800 page anthology with 145 poets. Forché believes that for significant political poetry to occur, the poet must have directly experienced one or more of the following conditions: "exile, state censorship, political persecution, house arrest, torture, imprisonment, military occupation, warfare, and assassination." At the same time, she states that political poetry may involve the "personal" (which she inadequately defines as "lyrics of love and emotional loss") and does not have to address the "extreme conditions" she has insisted the political poet must have experienced. She adds that she "was interested in what these poets wrote, regardless of the explicit content."

One implication of these somewhat confusing statements is that poems which would not strike one as political would qualify for inclusion as long as they had been written by someone who had been exiled, say, or had spent time in the army. In contrast, a powerful political poem written by someone who had not met at least one of Forché 's personal experience criteria would not be, in effect, significantly political. I also wonder about "assassination." According to Forché were a poet to be assassinated, his prior poetry would qualify as being political.

At the beginning of each poet's section, Forché offers a brief biographical note that identifies the "experience of extremity" justifying the poet's inclusion. On the basis of these notes I came up with the following figures:

   45 of the poets had a "military occupation," which often involved "warfare" (and, I presume, killing).

   48 of the poets were "imprisoned," or "under house arrest," sometimes "tortured," and in 6 cases "assassinated."

   14 of the poets were either briefly, or for an extended period of time, in "exile." Some of those exited (St. John Perse is a good example) were self-exiled, lived well in exile, and continued to remain in their country of exile after they could have safely returned home.

This leaves us with 38 poets, some of whom appear to have experienced "state censorship" or "political persecution." The latter category is so broad as to nearly be irrelevant e.g., in America, nearly every minority writer would fall into this category. Thus Ray A. Young Bear is identified as simply having lived in the Mesquakie Tribal Settlement, having taught at several universities, and as being a singer and the co-founder of a dance troupe. In other cases, the "political persecution" does not strike me, on the basis of the information given, as being "extreme." Wislawa Szymborska's first book "was deemed incomprehensible and overly morbid by the Communist government." Nicanor Parra "refused to leave Chile after the coup that brought Pinochet to power." Adonis is included on the basis of work that is "marked by a strongly nontraditional sense of social commitment." No "experience of extremity" is noted in his or several other cases.

While pondering this group of poets—which make up between one quarter and one third of the book—l realized that with very few exceptions every poet I consider to be impressive could have found his or her way into this group. Forché herself acknowledges in her Introduction that "When I began this project, I was hard pressed to find a significant poet who could not be included, who in some important way or another did not bear witness to the ravages of our time." Then, needing to constrict this openness to a focus that would justify those who were included, she writes: "I decided to limit the poets in the anthology to those for whom the social had been irrevocably invaded by the political in ways that were sanctioned neither by law nor by the fiction of the social contract." "the social" is a curious phrase to use here; does she mean ,their lives?" Clearly, such an invasion means one thing for Otto René Castillo, a Guatemalan poet who was incarcerated, tortured, and burned alive—and something else for Young Bear, Adonis, Parra, or for Sipho Sepamla whose biographical note, in its entirety, reads: "Born in Krugersdorf, South Africa, trained as a teacher. A prizewinning writer of fiction as well as poetry, he is director of the Federated Union of Black Arts in Johannesburg."

In other words, Forché seems to make up rules as she goes along, making many of her inclusions seem arbitrary and primarily based on her taste. Even though aspects of the contributor information indicate that a vague kind of political correctness is involved, many omitted poets could have been included on that same arbitrary basis. While reading the anthology (and without doing any research), I came up with a significant list of omissions, some of which are shocking, and some of which could have been included using Forché 's criteria.

Artaud               Duncan               Perleman

Bly                    Enzensberger        Rexroth

Braithwaite        Ginsberg              Reznikoff

Cardinal            Gunn                   Rich

Cendrars           Grahn                   Rothenberg

Césaire              N. Guillen            Sanders

Cortez              Jeffers                    Snyder

Csoori              MacDiarmid         U'Tamsi

Depestre           Mac Low              Waldman

Dickey              Pasolini                 CK Williams

Dorn                Paz

Granted, everyone will have his list of omissions. However, the absence of Artaud, Césaire, Ginsberg, Pasolini, and Reznikoff is serious enough to throw the authenticity of the anthology into question.

Under one guise of restricting her inclusions to poets who directlyexperienced violence, generally in war, Forché has acted as if Conscientious Objection (Rexroth), Ecology (Snyder), Gay Liberation (Gunn, Rich, Grahn) or Womens' Rights (Cortez) are not significant witnessing. Given her emphasis on "extreme conditions" (the word "extreme" is the keyword in her Introduction), how is it that Artaud, aptly defined by Susan Sontag as "one of the great daring mapmakers of consciousness in extremis, "is not included?              

The answer to such a question has several facets. Forché's section divisions, from. The Armenian Genocide to the final Revolutions and the Struggle for Democracy in China, are all based on wars. All of the included poets must fit into one of these war sections. This means that parts of the world not covered in one of the fifteen war sections are not represented at all. There are no Caribbean, Irish, Scandinavian, Australian, Canadian, Scottish, Central African, or Algerian poets.

Thus if an individual's writing does not connect with a war-oriented section, he or she, from the book's viewpoint, is simply not a significant witness and is outside the so-called "experience of extremity." Alienation, addiction, madness, and subsequent incarceration (the Artaud trajectory) have no slot. Artaud's imprisonment (which spanned the Second World War, involved near-starvation and 51 electroshock sessions), unlike Jimmy Santiago Baca's ("arrested for drug possession with intent to sell"), is not valid.

James Fenton, an Englishman who worked as a reporter in Vietnam and Cambodia, is included. He fits into the War in Korea and Vietnam section. Ed Dom, who wrote a long reportage on the Shoshonean Indians, is not included. Had Dom been conscripted into the US Army (or following the Santiago Baca example, had he been arrested for drug dealing), he would, according to the book's peculiar logic, have qualified. However, he also might not have: Santiago Baca was not only arrested on drug charges but he is an Indian. Arrest coupled with ethnicity gave him entree.

Forché has included a number of quite significant poets that few of us would dispute. Some of these poets, however, are very curiously represented. A few examples:

Vallejo's two and a half pages consist of two poems from his first book (1918), written a decade before he developed a political consciousness in his writing, and one minor piece from his years in Europe. Given what Vallejo could have been represented by—most obviously, his Spanish Civil War poems—the Vallejo section is dumbfoundingly weak.

Parra is presented as anthology-valid because he refused to leave Chile after the coup that brought Pinochet to power (1974). Yet all the included Parra poems were written before 1972, or before, in the book's terms, he had made a significant political commitment.

In Lorca's case, the "assassination" oddity I mentioned earlier comes up. He is mainly represented by poems he wrote in New York City in the late 1920s. Does his political execution make these poems political? Well, they are-but not because he was executed. Allen Ginsberg's poems on New York City are not included, in spite of the fact that How I was banned, that he was thrown out of Cuba and Czechoslovakia for political reasons, and currently his poetry cannot be broadcast in this country between 6 AM and 8 PM. I'd call these matters "State Persecution."

The fact that Galway Kinnell "actively protested the war in Vietnam" (as did several hundred other poets) is used to explain the inclusion of his poem "Vapor Trail Reflected in the Frog Pond" in which there are several references to "Asia." However, Duncan, Sanders, Bly, Mac Low, and Rothenberg, who also actively protested our invasion of Vietnam, are not included.

One might also inquire why none of Denise Levertov's poems on the Vietnamese War (in particular, "Life at War") were included. They are Much more powerful than the pieces she wrote during her 1972 visit to Vietnam (three of which are).

Amiri Baraka's entire section consists of poems he wrote before 1965 when he was Leroi Jones and, relative to the past three decades, politically inactive.

Quasimodo is permitted to write about Auschwitz, which he never directly experienced, while Reznikoffs Holocaust, one of the few major American responses to the Holocaust in poetry, and one which consists entirely of testimony from the Nuremberg trials, goes unrepresented (as does Rothenberg's "Khurbn," a long poem based on the poet's visit to the remains of the death camps in the 1980s).

I mentioned earlier that Vallejo received two and a half pages in the anthology. Célan and Radnoti, the most commented-on poets in the Introduction, receive three and four and a half pages respectively. Yet a versified "war" short story by Louis Simpson is offered twenty-six pages. Given the dense complexity of virtually all of Célan's poetry from the late I 50s on (all of which is, on one level, saturated with the Holocaust), I began to notice the extent to which Forché's own rather conventional writing played a role in her selections. With the exception of Oppen, Levertov, and Leroi Jones, there are no American poets in the anthology associated with the various experimental fronts over the past fifty years. However, poets who would have been or were quite at home in the old New Poets of England and America anthology abound: Kunitz, Hugo, Simpson, Nemerov, Hecht, Dugan, Kinnell, Lowell, with Auden, Spender, and MacNiece a bit before them, and Fenton and Balaban a bit after.

Of course Forché is entitled to represent her view of significant poetry in any anthology she edits. But since this is not a general anthology but one in which there is a requirement for a careful assessment of what constitutes the most memorable poetry of witness in conditions of extremity, I believe that one's own poetics, taste, and companions in poetry must be made to yield to the project's obligations, to the field it proposes to engage. Say Forché simply does not care for Thom Gunn's poetry and would not include him in her version of a generalist 20th century anthology. That is fair enough. But: is it possible in the 1990s to edit an anthology of political witnessing and not include anything on AIDS? Or for that matter, on the humiliating political conditions gay men and women have experienced, everywhere, throughout the 20th century? And if it were simply a matter of page count, then, for example, I would feel obligated to leave Gertrude Stein out and put Gunn in. Stein is a major figure in many respects, but the fact that she lived in the occupied French countryside during the Second World War would not justify including poems by her that have little to do with witnessing in any trenchant sense. I would also have left out passage from Perse's poem, Exile, since it could have been written in the 19th century.

Uncomfortable with what she takes to be a gap between the persona and the political, Forché attempts to bridge the two terms by suggesting that the space between them can be described as "the social," and that it is if "this social space" that we should situate poetry. An alternative to setting up a duality to be bridged is to see the personal and the political not as separate categories but as aspects of a singular, composite force that makes up poetic identity. Any poetic utterance is personal/political. When one thinks one is being apolitical, the chances are one is in agreement with the way things are, which is also a political stance. Any political poem is helplessly infused with one's own personality, one's language, one's feeling for oneself in a context that involves others.

Forché 's editorial policy is less involved with bridging the personal and the political than with assuming that the personal must be directly invaded by the political for any significant witnessing to take place. How much terror must I experience to justify my speaking for someone who is in agony or who has died from torture?

The exile, in this respect, may be in less of a position to bear significant witness than someone who lived next door to a "disappeared," watched the person be stuffed into a car trunk, and who daily spoke to the "disappeared's" despairing wife or husband. In "Vocabulary," Ariel Dorfman writes: "But how can I tell their story/if I was not there?" He concludes: "Let them speak for themselves." Forché quotes these lines and understands them to mean that "the story belongs to those who have undergone the extremity."

Dorfman's last line evokes the paradox that while I can only speak for myself, I must also speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. Thus Aimé Césaire's monumental Notebook of a Return to the Native Land, in which he speaks for himself, as a black Martinican exorcising his colonial poisoning, and for his fellow Martinicans, some of whom are dead and some of whom, being illiterate and uninformed, do not know how to speak for themselves. The amount of direct experience needed for imagined witnessing varies for every individual. It is a mistake to prioritize experience over imagination.


What I referred to as the new purgatory, or postmodernist DMZ, makes witnessing more and more complicated, at least when measured by the old standard of being there versus hearing about it. This DMZ is not simply neutralizing zone between person and event but the technological spectacle that surrounds us and intersects human relationships. Once upon a time, a spectacle was a public execution, or a sideshow, something one went to, and returned from, back into one's private sphere. The spectacle has now not only invaded the private sphere, but conquers it on a daily and nightly basis.

What we see through media is the world as spectacle run by a kind of Image Exchange, as if modeled upon the Stock Exchange, in which information is so intertwined with commodities that they are often indistinguishable. In myth, images were specific; they were not separated from what they revealed. In technology, commercial considerations have turned images into refugees; they can be relocated whenever and wherever it is convenient.

The challenge facing imagination today, at least in America and much of Western Europe, is that all things have come into their caricatures. Such requires the act of witnessing to come to terms with the fact that it too is part of the spectacle. In June, 1994, millions of Americans stared for hours at the image of a white bronco pursued by a flotilla of police cars. The formation's steadiness—no careening chases, no pile-ups—made the cars appear static and the wide freeway, as in a reverie, moving. The spectacle reminded one of a packed football stadium during pre-game ceremonies:

the police cars moved as a rectangular-shaped marching band. The bronco played the role of the drum major, the head of the band. In this case, of course, the bronco leading the show contained, we are told, a man with a gun to his temple and his mother on the phone. Alongside the freeway and the center divider, hysterical cheerleaders, fans raised OJ signs up and down.

For the past six months, millions, now following the game itself, have witnessed witnesses testifying for or against a celebrity which the camera angle generally presents as a bust. The trial is a caricature of a trial, a larger than life football opera, a thing we can and cannot grasp. What are we witnessing? A trial? A travesty of justice? The greatest show on earth? A long and boring proof of what we already know, that we can never know the absolute truth? That we are all seeing something slightly different and may have a closer view than someone who is actually there, sitting at the back of the courtroom? That we see more of what is going on than-is it possible—Simpson himself? What he mainly sees are twelve people-or are they disciples? jurors become witnesses, not of the crime but of the spectacle of the trial, trying to assemble the pieces. Like us, they will only truly be witnesses of the puzzle of their own presence.

We know that every culture develops "distancing devices" to hide the facts about its bloody past. Now with digitally-altered videos, one can totally change history. One can even show Germans smiling and making breakfast for the inmates of Auschwitz. Digital alteration takes the spectacle into a new and absolute dimension. Paradoxically, it might also release us from the spectacle as it will not only make indirect witnessing impossible but demonstrate the ability of lies to go undetected.