Orientalism

I Made My Debut on Rising Up With Sonali! listen in and watch! #thejunglebook #ruwithsonali

 

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I’ve made my debut as the Film Critic and Pop Culture Correspondent on Rising Up with Sonali! We discussed the colonial and racist past — and present — of The Jungle Book. You can see the video here. If you’re in the LA area, the radio interview will be aired on KPFK 90.7 FM on Monday 4/18 at 8:20 AM, and online at kpfk.org

New Essay: THE ORIENTALIST NARRATIVE AND ERASURE IN “WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT”

Fey WTF

Check out my review published today by the feminist pop culture magazine Bitch. Also in its entirety below:

In 2011, The New York Times described reporter Kim Barker’s war memoirThe Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as “hilarious and harrowing, witty and illuminating” and wrote that Barker “depicts herself as sort of a Tina Fey character.” Within weeks, Fey bought the book’s film rights. Fey wanted to play a strong character who excelled in a male-dominated field, to show that women can back each other in the workplace, and dedicate the work to her father, a veteran and journalist, who passed away last year. The result is Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

The film’s trailers present the movie as a comedy a la Sisters, and although it has been dubbed a “feminist comedy,” it’s more of a dramedy with a little rom-com thrown in. While the film accomplishes Fey’s aforementioned goals, in doing so it champions a white, middle-class American feminism that sees Western women as free and other women, in this case Afghan women, as oppressed. This Orientalist storyline is not only problematic and unoriginal, it’s also dangerous as it continues to be used to justify U.S.-led wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and other places throughout South, Central and West Asia. (more…)

My Review of the New Film Mustang Published by Bitch

To read the article on Bitch, click here.

NEW FILM “MUSTANG” EXPLORES YOUNG WOMEN’S VITALITY—AND PATRIARCHY’S BRUTALITY
by Stephanie AbrahamNews_en-Mustang-1

The beautiful and challenging new film Mustang looks at the lengths that people will go to crush female independence and sexuality, and the varied responses young women can have in the face of strangling sexism and male domination. It’s notable that the film, which takes place in Turkey with a Turkish cast, is France’s official entry to the Academy Awards—the director, Deniz Gamze Ergüven, is Turkish and French.

Mustang’s story is told through the eyes of Lale (Günes Sensoy), the youngest of five orphaned sisters who are being raised by their grandmother in a small Turkish town. Lale is only nine years old, but is wise enough to see injustice and sassy enough to renounce it. The film opens with her as narrator saying, “It’s like everything changed in the blink of an eye. One moment we were fine, then everything turned to shit.” (more…)

My Q&A with Homeland Hacker Heba Amin Published by Al Jazeera!

Heba Amin Photo

Heba Amin, an Egyptian visual artist, Karam, an Egyptian-German artist, and Don painted Arabic graffiti on the set of Showtime’s series Homeland [Al Jazeera]

To read the article on Al Jazeera’s site, click here.

Homeland hacker challenges media portrayals of Muslims

Visual artist Heba Amin discusses the thin line between news and entertainment and making a point through humour.

When the German publisher Don Karl approached Heba Amin, an Egyptian visual artist and researcher, to paint Arabic graffiti on the set of Showtime’s series Homeland, her initial impulse was to decline, as others had before her.

She rejected what she viewed as the programme’s orientalism and its framing of diverse peoples from South and West Asia as monolithic evildoers.

But then she reconsidered. What if she could use the moment to spark a dialogue?

So, in collaboration with her colleagues, Karam, an Egyptian-German artist, and Don, she did just that.

(more…)

My Radio Interview on Uprising: Anti-Arab Racism & Orientalism in Homeland & Quantico

Uprising

Uprising host Sonali Kolhatkar interviewed me about my article on the Orientalism in Quantico and the subversive Arabic graffiti art on Homeland. Listen to the interview here.