Monday, August 20, 2007

Violence as Spectacle

One of the most discussed topics in the Russian blogosphere last week was a graphic video of what appeared to be the execution of two ethnically non-Russian men by masked figures claiming to be members of a Russian neo-Nazi group.

A detailed description of the video can be found in this New York Times’ piece by C. J. Chivers.

Sean Guillory of Sean’s Russia Blog posted an overview of the media and bloggers’ reactions and, among other things, wrote this:

[…] Granted, I have not watched it, nor do I intend to. But to me this video’s political resonance says something more about spectacle of violence that inhabits our modern lives rather than anything specific about nationalism or fascism in Russia. As far as I’m concerned the members of “National Socialism/White Power” are merely reproducing what has already become a staple in our media diet. From the “real” videos of Chechens beheading Russian soldiers, Beslan, Daniel Pearl, Abu Ghraib, suicide bombings, and school and workplace shootings (and the media’s obsession over them) to the “fake” torture scenes of shows like 24 and other films, hasn’t the gap between the real and the fake long collapsed, making their distinction merely academic. What is important is the connection between politics and extreme violence, or really the use of extreme violence as political spectacle. […]