A Compendium of the Visual Tropes of War

The music video above is by Serj Tankian (lead singer of System of a Down) and directed by Tony Petrossian. Depending on your taste in music, you may want to watch it with the volume turned down.

The video does an excellent job compiling nearly every imaginable visual trope of the current war. The use of children in the video provides an excellent polysemous context for the war as well. In one sense, the video illustrates the ways imagery becomes incorporated in the play of children as a way to indoctrinate them into a war state. On the other hand, the video makes a compelling critique of the war as directed by immature leadership. The coda of the video refuses to allow the imagery of war to function in isolation as child’s play by bringing the children out into the street before a military funeral. The video might prove an apt resource in the classroom for the above reasons, or any that you might post in addition.

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