Thursday, June 05, 2003

Chuck Freund, who charitably contributes to this blog, has just written a fascinating piece for the June 2003 issue of Reason on the "revolutionary implications of Arab music videos." As he has argued here on several occasions, the great value of such videos, which feature singers in a variety of situations ("Arab football players; Arab lovers driving a pickup truck through the American desert; Arab heroes of Gothic vampire melodramas being stalked by beautiful ghouls; veiled Arab women of the Islamic golden age; Arab couples searching for each other in a chromed, retro 1950s universe; Arabs haunted by mysterious desert symbols that hold the key to forgotten identities; medieval Arab countesses in their Spanish castles; and even science fiction Arabs confronted by mustachioed alien children from outer space") is that they have the "power to stretch the boundaries of their viewers’ imagined selves."

Her argues further: "If the audience for these videos uses them to foment a long-term cultural revolution, it would hardly be the first time that 'vulgar' forms were at the center of significant social change. In fact, 'low' culture has almost certainly done more to transform the modern world than has 'high' culture." This theme Chuck developed at greater length in this story from the March 2002 issue of Reason.

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