JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory, Volume 24, Number 2, 2004 Page: 338
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ongoing respect and identification with the liberal virtues ofa commu-
nicative and argumentative consensual process. As Nino notes, "Even
when pardons are issued at the end of a trial [as was the case in
Argentina], they do not counteract the initial effect of such emphatic
public disclosure. This disclosure of the truth through the trials feeds
public discussion and generates a collective consciousness and pro-
cess of self-examination" (146-47).
According to this formulation, the purpose of such a trial is not so
much to respond to the wrongs of the past as to provide a showcase for the
law's hermeneutical competence in establishing "discursive solidarity."
The defensibility of these "show trials," even when their verdict is
overturned through a state sanctioned pardon, depends on the defensibil-
ity of the lessons being taught-that is, on the "liberal nature" of the
narrative and shared understanding generated by the trial. As long as the
trial stages the opportunity to reconcile and edify the social through the
conversational competence inherent in the "liberal tradition," we should-
according to Osiel-endorse this means of representing the past (Mass
65). But such claims that suture a "collective consciousness" always turns
out to be based on a denial-a denial of the mangled tissue that holds and
marks the boundaries of our shared understanding. The assumption that
the legal procedure establishes a communicative protocol for producing
an "edifying narrative" that we can come to identify with necessarily
avoids asking who is excluded and what interests are served by the
circulation ofthis normative narrative. By turning the violent past mainly
into a technical showcase/lesson for how to adjudicate/apply the implicit
conversational norms in a legal case, this process of disclosure not only
obscures the political particularity of liberal representation, but insulates
public discussion from the divisive memories and messy questions that a
traumatic past evokes.
Acknowledging that such a "collective deliberation process" is
constructed through exclusions provides a self-critical moment for taking
care of the remains. Hence, my turn now to the discussion of the limits of
the trial of the military in Argentina does not gesture toward rectifying the
"truth" through mending the law's capacity for distribution or retribution;
rather, my thoughts are with the remains that remain other to the law's
representation and adjudication. Drawing on the implications ofDerrida's
ethical critique of the annotator who follows the law of hermeneutics,
toward the Law of law that gestures the annotator (interpreter) to attempt
to allow the other to (somehow) weigh in as both a point of exteriority (as
the beyond/possible to every present/totality) and as the excluded other,
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Association of Teachers of Advanced Composition (U.S.). JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory, Volume 24, Number 2, 2004, periodical, 2004; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc28644/m1/84/: accessed February 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .