Troy Jollimore | Zyzzyva| Winter 2017 | 30 minutes (8,142 words)

More than a decade ago, in the aftermath of the release of the Abu Ghraib photographs, the playwright and actor Wallace Shawn wrote:

A few months ago, the American public, who in political theory and to some extent even in reality are “sovereign” in the United States, were given a group of pictures showing American soldiers tormenting desperate, naked, extremely thin people in chains — degrading them, mocking them, and physically torturing them. And so the question arose, How would the American public react to that? And the answer was that in their capacity as individuals, certain people definitely suffered or were shocked when they saw those pictures. But in their capacity as the sovereign public, they did not react. A cry of lamentation and outrage did not rise up across the land. The president and his highest…

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