Rudrum, David (2010) The Time of Tragedy: Thinking the Contemporary with Cavell and Agamben. In: The Time of Tragedy: Thinking the Contemporary with Cavell and Agamben, 22nd October 2010, University of California, Irvine. (Unpublished)

Allow me to begin this article by asking the reader to visualize a brief yet disturbing scene. Assuming that you are sitting down whilst reading this, I ask you to imagine, if you will, that about a dozen paces from your seat, you see a young couple – an attractive young woman and a well-built young man. They appear to be in love, they are tender enough with one another, and are engaged in light conversation. Then, all of a sudden – and it is very sudden – the man pins the woman down on the bed and starts throttling her. She struggles. She writhes. She tries to scream. They are only a dozen paces from where you are sitting, and you – do nothing. You do not rush to help her, though you could do so in a matter of seconds. You do not call out for help, nor do you look round to see if there are others who could assist, nor do you take and your phone and call the police. She gasps in vain for one last breath, and as the life drains out of her body, you have one final chance to get up and save her. A moment later, the young woman lies lifeless, and you have not even stirred in your seat.

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