In July 2016, Diamond Reynolds broadcast the murder of her boyfriend, Philando Castile, by Minnesota police using Facebook Live, a new video-streaming service. Facebook had begun offering live video streaming in order to increase its market share and profits, but Reynolds's video radicalized the platform while also exposing several myths undergirding viewers’ investment in live media, notably the fantasy of shared experience across distance. Reynolds's FB feed is but one of a great many recent videos of black men and women suffering and dying from police violence, yet its platform invests it with a unique feeling of immediacy. This pain and shock might best be described as horror, were it not for the ongoing commercial misuse of that term. This article investigates horror as an affect in order to understand the profound impact that Reynolds's video has had upon U.S. media and politics.
Learning from Horror
Caetlin Benson-Allott is Associate Professor of English and Film and Media Studies at Georgetown University. She is the author of Remote Control (Bloomsbury, 2015) and Killer Tapes and Shattered Screens: Video Spectatorship from VHS to File Sharing (University of California Press, 2013).
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Caetlin Benson-Allott; Learning from Horror. Film Quarterly 1 December 2016; 70 (2): 58–62. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2016.70.2.58
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