The aesthetics of shock and awe, pt.1

Die Menschheit, die einst bei Homer ein Schauobjekt für die Olympischen Götter war,
ist es nun für sich selbst geworden. Ihre Selbstentfremdung hat jenen Grad erreicht, 
der sie ihre eigene Vernichtung als ästhetischen Genuß ersten Ranges erleben läßt. 
So steht es um die Ästhetisierung der Politik, welche der Faschismus treibt. 
Der Kommunismus antwortet ihm mit der Politisierung der Kunst. 

Walter Benjamin, Nachwort zu Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit.


The US shock and awe strategy - that is to say, spectacle - began daily at 7pm. 
The bombing would last about 30 minutes. 
There would then follow a post-attack press conference,
featuring expert commentary and analysis with the US Secretary of State for Defence, Donald Rumsfeld. 
The viewing captivated me; for the real-time explosions in Baghdad, 
Rumsfeld's quips and for the intellectual pleasure of the thought of the manner of entertainment 
with which I was being presented. 

The ensuing known known decade-long sectarian wars in the Middle East have not been made a spectacle to us. 
I suppose video-footage of ISIS beheadings, for example, lack technological sophistication for our taste,
Both for real-time enjoyment and for intellectual savour; 
but the launching from Mediterranean warships of US cruise missiles into Syria at the dead of night… 

What aesthetic criteria exist for the critique of films concerning technological warfare 
and its promise of annihilation?




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