The Joker wants to disclose the truth beneath the mask, convinced that this will destroy the social order. What shall we call him? A terrorist? The Dark Knight is effectively a new version of those classic westerns Fort Apache and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, which show that, in order to civilise the Wild West, the lie has to be elevated into truth: civilisation, in other words, must be grounded on a lie. The film has been extraordinarily popular. The question is why, at this precise moment, is there this renewed need for a lie to maintain the social system?
So far, the WikiLeaks story has been represented as a struggle between WikiLeaks and the US empire: is the publishing of confidential US state documents an act in support of the freedom of information, of the people’s right to know, or is it a terrorist act that poses a threat to stable international relations? But what if this isn’t the real issue? What if the crucial ideological and political battle is going on within WikiLeaks itself: between the radical act of publishing secret state documents and the way this act has been reinscribed into the hegemonic ideologico-political field by, among others, WikiLeaks itself?
This reinscription does not primarily concern ‘corporate collusion’, i.e. the deal WikiLeaks made with five big newspapers, giving them the exclusive right selectively to publish the documents. Much more important is the conspiratorial mode of WikiLeaks: a ‘good’ secret group attacking a ‘bad’ one in the form of the US State Department. According to this way of seeing things, the enemy is those US diplomats who conceal the truth, manipulate the public and humiliate their allies in the ruthless pursuit of their own interests. ‘Power’ is held by the bad guys at the top, and is not conceived as something that permeates the entire social body, determining how we work, think and consume. WikiLeaks itself got the taste of this dispersion of power when Mastercard, Visa, PayPal and Bank of America joined forces with the state to sabotage it. The price one pays for engaging in the conspiratorial mode is to be treated according to its logic. (No wonder theories abound about who is ‘really’ behind WikiLeaks – the CIA?)