A(u) Pair - A(u) Princess

Screaming down the French (super) highway at 150 km/h, she smiles (drunk?) at the drunk-driving chauffeur, and then leans over to kiss the multi-million dollar man. Bam-Bam (this was no cartoon), the wheels spin, shiver, wobble, screech, as a five-ton tumble-weed Mercedes limo does a Spinal Tap dance down the womb-like tunnel of (dead) love, isn't Paris romantic? A picture's worth a thousand car-crashes, and they flash, flash, flash the pooling bloody upside-down non-integrated cyborg. Airwaves blare the dizziness of euphoric mourning, remembrance of her head banging, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, her head banging, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, his head banging, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth...

LONDON - The British press, principally the tabloids, has latched onto the murder case against Louise Woodward, the British au pair charged with killing an 8-month-old baby in her care, with an intensity unlike anything since the coverage of the aftermath of Princess Diana's death.1

This is the a(u)parent hyper-nostalgia of a Princess reconstructed into the televisual body of a 19 year-old killer. She shook more heads than little Matthew Eappen's. The micro(il)logical insignificance of this story aside, Louise Woodward iconographically reinscribes the (virtual) global community with a simulated return to that retro-time when Diana owned our media(ted) hearts with the innocent charm of simplicity. How could Princess Di possibly have killed a baby? OJ was no princess, and he got off; watchers cringe as our icon of a land-mineless world is found guilty of murder 2. Princess Louise said she loved Matthew and never would have hurt him (except maybe to shut him up), and WHAM the world is on the scene screaming for justice, for the Princess's freedom (I doubt she wanted to stop their screams).

Kill Fry Die - Necromancer (Massachusetts Votes on Death Penalty)

Now's the time for cybernetic image technology...

The skillful proponents for killing criminals schedule a vote some three weeks after two heinous murders, and it looks like they will win. Some complain, some protest, some argue, but enough want to kill. Dead bodies please these onlookers, especially dead women. Mother T's dead body lay fittingly in the missionary position, like a clothed stripper before a long night's work; the necrophiliacs thronged to watch her strip from the inside out. Her decomposing body surrounded by 10 million (people) dollars worth of flowered funeral accumulation. Let's not forget our princess; attendance at the long Di(ing) funeral parade topped her perfect marriage.

Reincarnated into Louise's virtually imprisoned body, Di watches, with British disapproval, as the "[Massachusetts] Legislature, by an 81 to 79 vote, revived the death penalty that had been put to rest in 1984 by a state Supreme Judicial Court ruling that it was unconstitutional."2 Reviving a dead issue situates itself at the heart of this transubstantiating scene.

While the reborn princess sits through a trial by jury, the jury is out on the death penalty in Mass. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate vote for sterile injection revenge murders, but they vote on different bills; (re)voting will be required. Princess smiles her famous smile, leaking tears of regret onto the pages of Cosmopolitan, and winks at the camera man. Her secret fluxes through satellite transmissions, blinding viewers with its appearance, hypnotizing them with its intensity. Without knowing exactly why, they begin to create web sites for justice (Louise Woodward Justice), they organize, they protest, they just might win without a vote... Boom-Boom (this was no shoot out)! Murder 2, the world Wales at the horror-the horror (this was no(t) novel). With the blue flicker of the screened memory, John P. Slattery finds himself post(psycho)analytically transfer(enc)ed over the imprisonment of Princess Di to the redefining space of savior. He Votes No Go On Death Penalty. "AU PAIR CASE WEIGHED HEAVILY IN OUTCOME."3

In a stunning reversal, the Massachusetts House last night refused, on a tie vote, to reinstate the death penalty, bucking the wave of support for the resumption of state executions that followed a string of heinous murders in the region.4

Slam Blam Pop

(Counter Cultural)-(Fatal) Forgetting (Fatal) Strategies

Leveled by the slow accelerating temporal dimensions in the sur-hyper-real historical psychosis of the year 199(?), the social (dis)ordering leaks (blood?) at the subtle cracks in a virtual wall of exclusion, or it projects images of freedom and justice (for all) on that wall, but not everyone watches this simulated freedom...

For decades, some of the most eloquent opposition to capital punishment has come from the black clergy, reflecting the anxieties of a community that has long believed the ultimate penalty is unevenly enforced. But in the death penalty debate that has engrossed Beacon Hill, those voices have been almost silent, observers say.5

Even though communed around the TV screen like all of our First World, the African-American population does not see what their others see. After all, Princess Di was just another white bitch who died in a Mercedes. No need to Necromance her imaginal flesh through this nineteen year old cherub faced a(u) pair. While the Promise Keepers systematically White Out memories of the Million (Wo)man March and cybernetically find and replace "a(u) princess" with "a(u) pair," the African-American community, lead by the clergy, employs a new strategic overlay to (re)write on this dried Liquid Paper. This is a (Fatal) Forgetting (Fatal) Strategy. Counter-culturally forgetting the princess injects the next phase in Blacking On the American constitution of oppression. It's not that the black clergy stopped caring about the death penalty, but they refused to revive the image of the broken bodied British white martyr so recently in the grave. A new strategy of underparticipating in the simulacra in order to achieve political ends, indifference par excellence. Counter (cultural) Forgetting has been born and it signals the potential (total) control of the marginalized (silent minorities) over the political sphere.

Black Power can now be read as Black Resistance to the simulated icons of world emotional attachment. This refusal undercuts the mysterious white desire to overcome temporal materiality through virtual practicality by internally closing off affective attachment to the image. From now on the structural imperative of the African-American community will be one of constructing (black) communal iconographics, while simultaneously Counter (culturally) Forgetting the delusional pre-inscriptions digitally remastered in white (noise) studios. Through the rubric of indifference, this tactical reversal in the African-American world materially dismantles the continual reproduction of hegemonic individualized icons. And as a subaltern effect of this strategy, the political arena begins to make transference-identification decisions as an attempt to reincorporate people of color into the system of domination. Black indifferance to both the a(u) pair and the death penalty twisted the legislative scales, and the "Death Penalty Never Happened."

Who said fatal strategies can't work?


1. Hernandez, Peggy. "London Press Trumpets Cause," Boston Globe (WWW archives). 5 November, 1997.

2. Jordan, Robert A. "Death Penalty Opponents Vow to Overturn Last Weeks Vote," Boston Globe (WWW archives). 2 November, 1997.

3. Lehigh, Scott. "Au Pair Case Weighed Heavily in Outcome," Boston Globe (WWW archives). 7 November 1997.

4. Walker, Adrian & Wong, Doris Sue. "Momentum For A State Law Is Halted As House Member Changes His Mind," Boston Globe (WWW archives)). 7 November, 1997.

5. Walker, Adrian. "Black Clergy Are Largely Silent On The Issue, Observers Say," Boston Globe (WWW archives)). 6 November 97.

Ross Glover is a graduate student in Sociology at Boston College.