Thursday, February 5, 2015
haunted by fire (5)
IS seems to be deliberately aiming at a key feature of our global imperial system, the paradoxical mix of buffered distance -- how we can let loose war and mayhem (how many nations' skies are patrolled by drones?) without ruffling society's calm operation -- and voyeuristic obsession with everything excluded from the system's controlled confines -- murder, massacre, rape, destruction. the voyeurism is directly related to the control and distance, i believe, offering the controlled (us) a way to participate in the frightening forces of mayhem and violence without getting our hands dirty or interrupting our daily routine. but what is new about IS is how it tailors media content in a direct way for our media machine. rather than incidental coverage of atrocities being committed for other purposes (a dictator massacring protestors, for example), which doesn't feel so dirty in consuming because we didn't cause it to happen, there is the sickening sense in looking at these images of orange clad victims that their murders are deliberately done for us, our media eye has been hijacked by savvy men who know exactly how it works. our watching eyes, in some sense, were the condition that allowed the murders to be done. we are like suited, middle class men who for years got off on peeping at unsuspecting women through windows, only to find a woman turning directly to where we are hiding outside the window -- knowingly performing, eliminating our pious denials and forcing us to admit that we are somehow implicated in the performance, coercing a response from us. the one controlled has found a way to control, even if this control operates only in one direction: inciting our rage.