Drone Penalty


As will be argued in what follows, the central question of the death penalty is the question of time. That question begins, in the present case, with the time of a writing that attempts to address what we call current events, particularly an academic writing—as distinct, for example, from journalistic writing—whose rhythms of composition and publication obey particular protocols and render problematic the specifics of what we call political intervention, the relevance or efficacy of which is normally determined by a certain “punctuality.” Hence Zola’s “J’accuse,” a paradigm within the genre of public intellectual intervention, published in L’Aurore on 13 January 1898. I do not know how to resolve the tension between the exigencies of a given political instant and the extended time of academic reflection—particularly vis-à-vis contemporary forms of mediatic instantaneity—but I am struck by the uncanny resemblance between that form of urgency versus duration, supposed to determine political relevance, and the temporal framework of the death penalty, where another type of insistence on instantaneous efficacy meets resistance in the requirements of due process and the desire for the extension of human life.

Read Article On Muse