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Visualizing AtrocityArendt, Evil, and the Optics of Thoughtlessness$
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Valerie Hartouni

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814738498

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814738498.001.0001

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Thoughtlessness and Evil

Thoughtlessness and Evil

Chapter:
(p.64) 3 Thoughtlessness and Evil
Source:
Visualizing Atrocity
Author(s):

Valerie Hartouni

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814738498.003.0003

This chapter focuses on Arendt's claim that in the figure of Eichmann, she encountered evil in the form of thoughtlessness rather than diabolical monstrosity. She described such thoughtlessness as an inability to think from the standpoint of another; and this inability she regarded as potentially more destructive “than all the evil instincts taken together.” The chapter also considers Eyal Sivan and Rony Brauman's 1999 documentary/drama, The Specialist: Portrait of a Modern Criminal. Using restored and manipulated video footage from the Jerusalem proceedings, The Specialist follows the narrative arc of Arendt's argument to interrogate anew what was both novel and commonplace about the criminal, Eichmann, and his crime.

Keywords:   Adolf Eichmann, thoughtless evil, The Specialist

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