Thursday, 12 November 2009

The Good Soldier

Re-writing Mahmoud's PhD has kept me away from blogging, and now I'm beginning to suffer withdrawal symptoms as a result. So much incredible material to talk about, so little time. Be this as it may- from what I've seen- advance notices for the PBS documentary The Good Soldier have been very good (with Howard Zinn, for example, singing its praises). At the same time, I've heard about, but haven't yet read, Kari's work on soldiers' representations of what she calls "body horror" (in the latest issue of Media, Culture & Society). I think she will probably refer back to her analysis of, which was a controversial site soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan could use to upload pictures of their naked girlfriends, along with the bloody carnage censored from the mainstream media. That site was eventually closed down, so please think carefully before choosing to type "" into a Google Images search, as you will come across some of the imagery, now hosted on other sites. I'm not adding any of that here as I think The Good Soldier offers eloquent enough testimony in its own right. One to file alongside Joanna Burke's Intimate History of Killing.

Unfortunately, I can't find any footage of Kari talking about "body horror", but the following clip is still quite interesting, as she talks more generally about the kind of media environment that phenomena is symptomatic of. I also found the clip refreshing as it gave me a chance to look at an academic's bookshelves, with Kari's appearing more varied and interesting than the more postmodern and poststructuralist variety of media theory that dominates the blogosphere and some versions of cultural studies (read: the "Ballardian" brigade, Baudrillard, McLuhan, Kittler et al). Indeed, she makes a veiled critical reference to such works by mentioning how historical examples can still help qualify the excesses of utopian and dystopian thinking alike (not uncommon, for example, in exaggerated misreadings of Ballard- as I've argued previously in response to Seltzer's use of "the atrocity exhibition" in relation to "the pathological public sphere").

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