New Criticals

The criminal walks this thin line, this razor sharp wire that seemingly separates worlds. The criminal exists at both focus and fringe, outside the gates of the polis proper, but somehow touching its very center at the same time. The criminal points precisely to the tensions, contradictions, and paradoxes that are at the heart of a society.  The criminal is not the "dark Other," but a shining mirror that most clearly illumines the "truth" of our shared world. Though we warehouse criminals in prisons, forget them in the shadows of the ghetto, or allow them to be killed by urban violence or the state, we do so because the criminal most directly exposes all of those things about our society that we do not like to see. The threat of the criminal is not our own annihilation, but our own revelation: the criminal uncovers who we are—he is the irruption of all that society's super ego tries to repress.