Sunday, April 21, 2013

Repertory of Ridiculous Images - Nabiha Hashmi

Everything seemed so silly. All these movies, all these stereotypes…how was there so much ignorance. The movies were actually so misinformed; it was hilarious. The camels, the desert odyssey, the mummies and Egyptology, the made up Arab cities, the men on horse with guns, the women in the imaginary of harems – those were the only images shown of Arabia. I saw the images and repeated tropes as ridiculous but I could not put my finger on exactly why. Until I realized these movies were filmed in a Eurocentric perspective. People who are different cannot be explained and must therefore be something either mythicized (as in not real) or degraded as savages which brings into the idea of binary opposites which are continued to be used today. Being western entailed positive and progressive traits and being anything but was conflated into one set of inferior and savage traits. The movies shown to us from The Mummy, The Sheik, and Road to Morocco; I think everyone agreed that the movies did not depict the reality of Arabia in any way. They were fantasies of a mystical land that did not exist.
It was hard to understand how such misconceptions could have even existed at the time. But, I think the reason it was so easy for all of us to agree was based on the fact that it was during another time period where the prejudices and normative ways of thinking were very different from how we think today. We’ve moved past those prejudices and come to understand things in a completely different manner and therefore, it is easy to criticize ways of thinking of past times. This does not make us forward or intelligent; we are part of today’s norm and what would make us progressive is thinking of how current prejudices can be moved past. It will be interesting when we get into current day issues and how we as class will react to different things and whether we’ll find everything an issue as we did with these older movies. 

No comments:

Post a Comment