Abstract

This essay reads the works of war journalists Michael Herr and Joe Sacco alongside Emmanuel Levinas's concepts of substitution, responsibility, and the "hatefulness" of the self in order to draw out the political possibilities of Levinas's thought.  Where Herr and Sacco posit responsibility and hatefulness as pre-existing, they grapple with the political practice of substitution. Most importantly, their writings draw out the limit case of the practice of substitution. The marking of their inevitable failure to substitute, however, poses a necessary critique of political, economic, and social structures that privilege some lives over others.

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