Saturday, 28 February 2015

Arts Graduates Get It Wrong Again...

As most people are aware, an organisation that has been called ISIS, ISIL and The Islamic State is running a muck in the middle east. This organisation, probably using weaponry that can be traced back to western governments, is using propaganda and extreme violence to establish itself as a legitimate nation based on (what I would call) a corrupted and perverse interpreation of Islamic doctrine.
ISIL's original look was rejected  as retro

Until recently, my little social media bubble has rarely been troubled by ISIL's antics (I prefer not to call them a 'state' or ISIS, because one adds strength to their claims, the other is better related to an Egyptian goddess. Besides, ISIL sounds like a brand of washing powder). A few people complained when they threw people off a building (punishment for their sexuality), but the wider activities of ISIL have remained in the newspapers and have not clogged up my Facebook feed.

Until yesterday, when that video of ISIL smashing up ancient art caused howls of outrage. ISIL are now scum, and someone even said that 'art is my religion', suggesting that here was an action that was blasphemous.

Luckily, that magic dress turned up, and the feed calmed down to its usual apolitical meanderings.

To be clear, I am an idiot. I don't pay attention to the violence in the middle east because it is too complicated, with moral responsibility being difficult to identify: is this the result of Bush and Blair destabilising the region? Is it an inevitable expression of Islamicist philosophy? Where did all those guns come from?

To be even more clear, getting outraged by the smashing of statues, having not given a shit about the human cost of ISIL's adventures, having remained quiet at the radicalisation of young people by a vicious and immoderate politicised religion, having ignored the genocide of the Yazidis, reveals a moronic and immoral attitude towards human values. 

I like a bit of art, and I can see that the whole ISIL is a massive conceptual piece. It's gone a bit far, but the illusion of their power is maintained by sensitive use of social media. The releases of them chucking gay men off buildings, beheading hostages, taking Derrida's injunction to deconstruct art a bit too literally: these are more effective than shooting people in establishing ISIL as the big bad of the twenty-first century. 

For a group who get accused of being medieval, their marketing department puts Nike to shame. 

Returning to the point, I am getting angry about people getting angry on social media. Anyone ever read Baudrillard on the simulacra?

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