Voyou Désœuvré

The video for Untouchable shows Girls Aloud descending through the atmosphere producing bright contrails reminiscent of white phosphorous. When I thought, while watching the new Girls Aloud video, “I wasn’t expecting that white phosphorous imagery,” I filed it away as the sort of trivial and rather bad taste joke twitter is made for. But the more I thought about it, the more odd it seemed. Is it a kind of return of the repressed, the appearence, out of context, of the images of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars that don’t appear in the media? Except it’s not really true to say that these wars don’t appear in the media; most days there’s something or other about them (the other day on the local news there was some nauseating bullshit about a parade being held for a returning soldier from one of the suburbs round here). Yet every time I hear about these wars, I’m kind of surprised they’re still happening. Somehow (and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this), I can’t keep the idea of war in focus. I suspect this will need to be changed if we’re going to bring these wars to an end, but I’m at a loss as to how. But clearly representation in the news media isn’t enough, it’s somehow too compartmentalized; perhaps the ocassional leakage of war-related imagery where it’s not expected is somehow helpful here.

Watch: Girls Aloud – Untouchable


  1. Spacebarrer, 10:57 am, April 1, 2009

    I share your insulated haze regarding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (and for that matter the economic crisis). Clearly the news’ representations aren’t enough for our peculiar situations. To whom are they?
    in addition to the difference in expected content between the two forms, you seem to imply in calling the news imagery “compartmentalized” that news video is less oneiric than a music video. The news media of course makes a lot of fuss to frame itself as something other than dreams.
    In what ways could the unexpected echoing content of the “Untouchable” video be said to concretize the reality of the war that’s being echoed?

  2. voyou, 10:37 am, April 2, 2009

    Yes, “oneiric” is the right word, I think. It’s not so much that we don’t know enough about the wars, but that our sleep is insufficiently troubled by them.

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