ajnabieh: Palestinian flag in front of billboard for the movie Prince of Persia.   (prince of persia)
During the 2008 campaign season, I wrote a short piece for Flow, the media studies online magazine, about Tigh/Roslin 2008, the joke campaign that drew from the resemblance between John McCain and Sarah Palin, in the real world, and Saul Tigh and Laura Roslin, from the fictional world of Battlestar Galactica. In, it, I argued that

The Tigh/Roslin campaign is not just of a sign of how pop culture can be used to provide a springboard for political reasoning; it is also a call for consideration of substantive politics, not because other forms of politics lack seriousness, but because there are more serious things to make fun of here than lipstick and beauty pageants


I thought of that when, today, this image got posted on Facebook:



A numbered list of 15 quotes, with the title "Who Said It: Mitt Romney or Mr. Burns?" Cartoon images of both Romney and Burns are on the top.

This image is another joke about a Republican candidate for office, but one with a very different thrust. The Tigh/Roslin campaign was at least partially absurdist--it wasn't a real endorsement of the candidates, or even a real criticism of them. (In most of the contexts in which it was discussed, it was clear that those making the comparison a) liked/had affection for the BSG characters and b) did not like/did not plan on voting for the actual candidates.) But the Romney/Burns comparison is intentionally critical of Romney as a candidate, by portraying him as literally cartoonish in his unawareness of what his wealth means.*

Thinking critically about these, my first reading is that these are different sorts of political gestures. The Tigh/Roslin campaign might have been about taking politics at least as seriously as we take our pop culture, but the Romney/Burns comparison is about using pop culture to make a metaphorical argument about politics. Metaphors and symbols are politically useful because they are dense; they carry a lot of information, and, when they're well-deployed, they make a whole complicated argument in a relatively short amount of time. If the makers (and circulators) of this list are saying that the presumptive Republican nominee (I say on Super Tuesday) is a cartoon plutocrat capable of building a giant disk to block out the sun in order to increase profits, most likely they are encouraging us not to vote for him. (And if Obama is Luke Skywalker, presumably we should stand against the Dark Side.**)


*Interestingly, images of Mr. Burns were used against Angela Merkel in Germany during a recent campaign. There, it wasn't a criticism of wealth, but her public support for nuclear energy. How do I know this random piece of trivia, when I otherwise know nothing about German politics? Because I peer-reviewed an article about it. Coming soon to an issue of TWC near you!

** Wait, where does the "I am your father?" moment fit in that metaphor?
ajnabieh: Happy woman with broom: FIGHT ALL THE OPPRESSIONS; same woman, dejected, "Fight ALL the oppresssions?" (ALL the oppressions?)
Oof, it's been a hard semester so far. Chalk it up to a six-week-long illness (which I'm almost recovered from), accompanied by the momentous task of finishing the first draft of my dissertation. I feel a bit better now, I have to admit.

So I'm going to be posting more now! I hope! I plan!

In any case, I wanted to put this out there. On March 1, I participated in an amazing panel organized by Global Studies at the New School, entitled Coming Out in the Developing World: Insurgent Queer Identities in the Middle East. I'll fully admit, I was a last-minute pinch hitter; queer issues in the Middle East are less of a serious research interest for me, and more like a hobby-slash-political-interest. However, it was a tremendous pleasure to be on the panel.

I know that a recording of the event was made, but I can't seem to find it publicly available. However, I wrote up my talk beforehand, rather than improvising as is my wont, so I do have my text. I don't think I gave it exactly as written (who does?), but the main points are all there. I've tried to link to all of the websites that I used images from for my PowerPoint, but it's possible I missed something, or did it awkwardly; please comment if there's anything that doesn't make sense!

Progressive LGBT Activism in Lebanon: Meem, Helem, and Transnational Queer Politics )

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ajnabieh: The text "My Marxist feminist dialective brings all the boys to the yard."   (Default)
Ajnabieh - The Foreigner

March 2016

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