Brian Massumi is Professor of Communication at the University of Montreal. He is the author of
The Power to Affect
This chapter moves to the “home front” of the “war on terror.” It discusses the terror color-alert system set in place by the Bush administration as an exercise in media-based priming of the population for asymmetric war across the full spectrum of preemptive power. The color-alert system made the not-yet of threat present in the form of fear. The thesis can be summed up as: threat is the prospect of fear; fear is the project of threat. In other words, operating in an all-encompassing threat environment does not mean reducing insecurity. That is as impossible as filling the lack of information. It means producing it. The production of insecurity registers in fear. The production of fear is a prime opportunity to modulate the unfolding of events through affective priming. The result is an “affective attunement” triggering a “collective individuation” (Simondon). The means by which preemption becomes self-causing are affective.