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STAGING AN EMERGENCY I. In a 2001 interview in New York City, Jacques Derrida was asked to reflect on the status of 9/11 as a ‘major event’. In his response, Derrida spoke at length of the non-representational quality of such an event. A major event, Derrida proposed, is a disruptive force. Major events exceed, dislocate, and problematize the systems of meaning through which we order everyday life. It defies understanding. It doesn’t make sense. So it is only natural that, in the aftermath of such an event, we are compelled to try and re-appropriate it back into these systems. The trauma induced by the irruption of a ‘major event’ compels us to find a meaning. To make it make sense. This demand has found new urgency in a media ecosystem comprised of 24-hour news channels, live blogs and instant twitter updates. Recent events such as the Boston Marathon bombing and the Woolwich stabbings amply demonstrate the considerable influence of major media outlets in shaping these processes. WOOLWICH EYEWITNESS DESCRIBES ATTACK BBC NEWS “SUSPECT WANTED TO GET CAUGHT” BBC NEWS 1 Derrida, J. (2003). Autoimmunity: Real and Symbolic Suicides. In G. Borradori (Ed.), Philosophy in a Time of Terror: Dialogues with Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida (pp. 85–136). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 20