DATELINE: BELLTOWN. Two dot-com marketing executives were injured in a drive-by Marxist polemic yesterday evening. The gangland-style ad hominem attack, in which an innocent bystander was also lightly wounded, covered a wide range of issues in contemporary literary criticism, semiotics, environmental geopolitics, gender studies, and class consciousness. Police say they have no suspects, although they are interviewing at least one lesbian.
The assault occurred at approximately 9:15pm. According to police, the unidentified victims are both senior vice presidents at Real Networks (Nasdaq: RNWK). The two had just emerged from Avenue One and were walking towards Il Gambero for tartuffo and cigars when a 1983 Yugo swerved from traffic and screeched to a halt on First Avenue, narrowly missing several terrified valet parking attendants outside El Gaucho.
Witnesses report that the Marxists in the vehicle began to verbally harass the recently minted millionaires through their open car windows. The assailants denounced the materialism of the bourgeoisie, taunted their victims about police state firing squads, and battered the surprised executives with an array of statistics on NAFTA and Mexican illiteracy.
“The intellectual violence directed at those people was astounding,” said one still-shaken witness, who observed the incident while on a cigarette break from her job as sommelier at the Flying Fish. “I haven’t seen anything like it since I read Franz Fanon in grad school.”
Seeking to defend himself, one victim, who witnesses say may have been a Republican, responded with a volley of historical and socioeconomic arguments regarding the United States Constitution, and stressed a Hamiltonian—not Jeffersonian—approach to democracy. According to one onlooker, the EMP banners along First Avenue were “stained with the scarlet letter of sexual hypocrisy” during this invective.
Meanwhile, the second victim, who had been emotionally wounded in the initial assault, sought cover behind centuries of white male privilege. The two then began lobbing explosive Ayn Rand and George Gilder quotations at the leftists—who were caught off guard by the irreducible materiality of this fierce rhetorical resistance.
During the neo-con counterattack, the Marxists held their position, and it was then that the works of Herbert Marcuse were cited. Immediately thereafter, one of the group—who police suspect may have been the leader, or at least a member of the revolutionary vanguard—seized upon the contradictions inherent in the global neoliberal vision by quoting Noam Chomsky’s famous quip that “Markets are always a social construction, and in the specific form being crafted by current social policy they . . . serve to restrict functioning democracy.”
HAVING DISABLED their targets with this vicious citation, the attackers brutally pummeled them with some extremely problematic writings by Jacques Derrida. All witnesses later stressed that Derrida himself was not involved, only the texts.
About thirty seconds later, the assault lost a certain je ne sais quois, and the perpetrators fled the scene. They drove away rapidly, all the time firing accusations of economic exploitation, Third World environmental racism, and literary phallocentrism through the vehicle’s shattered rear window.
Towards the end of this final onslaught, a software developer emerging from his luxury loft home at the Pomeroy was knocked unconscious by a stray reference to Jean-Paul Sartre. A caf頤enizen who observed this crossfire from Lux later told police that this existentialist diatribe revealed an incorrect understanding of the relationship between pour-soi and en-soi; this may provide clues to the identity of the attackers.
Police arrived at the scene within minutes and cleared the crowd, which by this time included some low-income people who had wandered over from Third Avenue. The two victims, who had retreated into Axis for safety, were rushed by Infiniti to a nearby Starbucks for emergency frappuccino therapy.
An anxious Mayor Paul Schell quickly issued a short statement assuring concerned citizens that the streets of Seattle were still safe for shopping and e-commerce, and that the instigators were probably from Eugene. “Certainly these people have a right to speak,” he explained, “but not so close to Pacific Place.”
At police headquarters, a source close to the investigation privately doubted the mayor’s “Eugene connection” theory, suggesting instead that “the unreconstructed statist orthodoxy of the perpetrators suggests a reified, centralized view of political economy” not typical of the anarchist Weltanschauung.
Belltown residents, meanwhile, are wary of a more class-conscious Seattle—a development that some link to last year’s anti-WTO protests. “When I moved here four years ago, you could walk from Denny all the way to Pike without hearing one word about Mumia Abu-Jamal, let alone Theodor Adorno,” sniffed one patron at Cyclops.
Anyone with any information about the attack is encouraged to contact the Seattle Police Department or Norman Podhoretz.