Representation

Film Review & Interview by Yours Truly

Rola

Arab American Romantic Comedy “Detroit Unleaded” Will Make You Shout “Hell, Yeah!”

As an Arab American with a background in media criticism, I often feel like a broken record, calling out the endless stereotypes of Arabs in U.S. popular culture. I long for transgressive representations, those that break the mold and offer audiences thought-provoking stories about humanity. When I find them, I exclaim, “Alhamdulillah!”—an Arabic expression that literally means, “Praise be to God,” but culturally translates as: “Hell, yeah!” The independent film Detroit Unleaded deserves such a shout-out.

(more…)

Dutch Sociology Magazine Eutopia Publishes My Critique

Chocomel

How Is This Dutch Company Using a Harem to Sell Chocolate Milk?

The Dutch chocolate-milk manufacturer Chocomel has produced a new commercial that has gotten nearly 800k views on YouTube in the three weeks since it was posted. How has a commercial for a sweet dairy drink drawn that kind of attention? By employing old Orientalist and racist tactics, and Arab face. You know the kind: sleazy Arab sheikh tries to get what he wants by luring an innocent white man into his “palace,” where eager, exotic women line the walls.

Although, I must admit they’ve put some fresh spins on an old move. Here’s how:

(more…)

New Essay about (Mis)Representation

Alice

Disney’s Missteps on “Alice in Arabia” Show the Need for Complex Muslim Characters on TV

You may have heard of the classic story Alice in Wonderland. In the 1951 Disney film version of the Lewis Caroll tale, Alice finds herself in a newfound world, where she meets a cast of rude characters with outlandish customs, including a hookah-smoking caterpillar. Now what if instead of falling into Wonderland, Alice were kidnapped and taken to Arabia?

(more…)