Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Simulacra Dolorosa

The world has fragmented into smithereens, everything having become simulation. If you hit, beat up, shoot one into a bloody mess with pump-action shotgun; hack off body members and the head with samurai sword, it's all only a game on computer display. Critics keep praising the genius of his generation, a film director churning out ballets of gore for the silver screen, manifacturing corpses as if on a conveyor belt, accompanied by spurting spray of blood.

Jesus himself has become a character in the cinema of violence, whose ardous torture to death these so called Christians queue up to see, enjoying the righteous suffering. Suicide bombers wishing to become martyrs blow up themselves and hundreds of bystanders into pieces, thus securing themselves their place in paradise with lovely maidens and flowing honey (at least this is what they are made to believe). The only existing superpower and its military industry keep each other propped up, when cluster bombs grind towns into the ground, and the propaganda machinery of television takes care that people get their daily violence porn, for which the tone is set up political and religious leaven. Killing is a big business.

At the homefront, though, the greatest concern is for how many mobile phones they are able to sell this year, will they keep their market share, or will they have to transfer their factories to the third world countries. If there was another crash, one could spectate again stockbrokers making fancy dives off the skyscraper windows, just as on the 11th of September, when the New York skyline was filled with the sight of burning people.

Life mediated through the computer screen, TV, mobile phone display -- not as lived. It is even easier to retreat into the artificially created virtual worlds, even harder to exit them. The spectacle factory manufactures dreams for the masses. While the "real" reality means endless queues to the supermarket cash register, the grey sky drizzling sleet, a wino vomiting bile, the artificial reality of mass entertainment offers us the life of luxury for millionaires at a French chateau, the butler picking up a bottle of champagne from the frosty silver bucket and popping it open; supermodels with long legs exiting stretch limousines in the crossfire of flashlights. Well, at least this is the dream they want to sell us through TV and gossipy magazines.

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