Friday, April 02, 2010

Pop Jihad 

This morning I find myself utterly stunned by this image of Dzhennet "Abdullayeva" Abdurakhmanov with her assassinated husband Umalat Magomedov. According to state-sponsored-- which should already give us pause-- Russian newspaper Kommersant the widow was one of the Moscow suicide bombers.

For me this is a new image: "Jihadists"/"extremists"/"terrorists"/etc. wholly sutured to the pop-cultural image bank of Bonnie and Clyde couples-on-the-run. The first thought in my mind was: this has to be a joke. These MUST be actors. Putin has concocted this she-badguy to put a face on his latest state of exception.

But then it occurred to me that this is the only logical conclusion of a media cycle that began with 9/11 and Osama bin Laden. This internet-era phase of Jihad has from the start been about invisible netizens forcibly inserting themselves into the streams of popular culture at the moment that all distinctions between media content are falling away. The doomed teen romance, one part Godard, one part Jay-Z's "'03 Bonnie and Clyde," merely takes us full circle.


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