A photo taken on February 18, 2014 shows a riot policeman whose helmet is burning, shielding himself during clashes with anti-government protesters in central Kiev.
The decontextualized retweets of pictures of revolutions around the world, speak to a disassociated fetishism for the imagery of cultural Ragnarok, and may perhaps speak to a wider subconscious precognition of the times which are fast approaching.
There’s a great line Cameron Diaz delivers to close out the criminally under-appreciated The Counselor:
"I suspect that we are ill-formed for the path we have chosen. Ill-formed and ill-prepared. We would like to draw a veil over all the blood and terror that have brought us to this place. It is our faintness of heart that would close our eyes to all of that, but in so doing it makes of it our destiny… But nothing is crueler than a coward, and the slaughter to come is probably beyond our imagining."
The RTs from the fiery painted battles of Kiev or Venezuela…or wherever—the whereeverness is speaking to this faintness of heart, particularly in America. I wonder what it was like at the end of the British Empire. Is this disassociation just attributed to the aspect of being a citizen in a decaying empire?
I don’t know. It’s certainly beautiful though.
The reduction of violence and conflict to aesthetics, to sensational images that we can be as separate from as a Kanye video, prevents us from having to actually engage with the causes of those conflicts while still allowing us to wrap ourselves in the comfort of living through the apocalypse.
Honestly I don’t think its beautiful, its just sad. Rather than engaging with the complexities of what is going in Ukraine, Bosnia, or Venezuela, people would rather strip them of context and use the images as ornaments for their blogs and their tweets, denying those involved existence even on an intellectual level in order to dress themselves in fire and death.
I think this is a reductive way of looking at it because rather than explore the whys of a phenomena you’re really only dealing with the aspect of the phenomena that you can make a moral judgement on.
Which no matter how bad something makes you feel, it doesn’t change that it exists and is happening. There was a news report on one of the channels this evening, and the reporter was in Ukraine talking about the role the US and Russia can play in stopping the violence—but he couldn’t really elucidate what was being fought over, or what the two different sides actually represented. And then an image came up of this huge cell phone vigil shooting out of the darkness and fires, and the reporter actually had a visceral reaction seeing that footage.
It was interesting to me that even a journalist on the ground, whose job it was to report news, was really in the end only reporting on the aesthetic of the apoclypse. This is the thing which interests us now culturally. Does it say much for us personally? Of course not. But it speaks to a particular psychosis. As that line from The Counselor says “We would like to draw a veil over all the blood and terror that have brought us to this place.”
Beyond the trauma of modernism and the fragmentating dissolution of postmodernism exists the postnormal which our culture is committing a kind of muffled cry from underneath the weight of unbearable inconceivable simultaneous knowledge of the terror all around us. Which even that is a kind of beauty. Horror is and always has been an aspect of Beauty. It is maybe the original aspect of beauty.
I love how you always refuse the cliche way out.