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June 29, 2005


Nur al-Cubicle

Music and Politics.

You know, in the rave scene in the west, Paul VanDyke has a disc called "The Politics of Dance." As I observed these underground dance parties, it seemed to me that this cultural space was chock full of political content (in addition to the hedonism): anti-Big Brother, anti-racism, anti-corporatism, anti-class wars, anti-militarist, anti-paternalist, anti-authoritarian, pro-feminist, pro-community, pro-gay, pro-socialism, pro-science, pro-technology, pro-secular and mocking of the War on Terror. No wonder the fire marshalls and the police were deployed to shut them down.

As to the impact of the Nancies and the Haifas on the Arab world (only lived in it for while), it looks more like Donna Summer vs. Cher (early 80s) to me, promoted by the music industry. It's not completely genuine, but from what I've seen of the videos, they seem to be pro-youth, pro-technology, pro-feminine, anti-patriarchal and shyly libertine--all of which are political issues nibbling away on authoritarianism. What more they do as they percolate through Arab society, well, I'm in the dark. I'll have to wait for the AA book.


What I love about Rotana is the way they stop for prayers - so you have your writhing, eyelid-batting pouty Leb Sluts on one minute, and the next a shot of Makka with the call to prayer intoned in the background.

Did the panelists discuss non-Leb Slut clips on Rotana? What about all those the-path-of-true-love-never-ran-smooth storyline videos, mostly by male singers, where the woman usually ends up crying at some point? And there's one with a self-sacrificing mother storyline, where she weeps for her son in a way that truly supports Arab values :)


When I read this, I was reading it aloud to a friend of mine, and halfway through the second paragraph I said, "Would somebody just send them a copy of Dr. Strangelove already, before they start complaining that their precious bodily fluids are being corrupted..." Little did I know, it was already too late!

And of course, now I'm stuck with the suspicion that I think like an aardvark...

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