You know I love me some cultural studies wonkery. And yet sometimes it goes a bit off the rails! The incredibly esteemed Joseph Massad, of Columbia, may maintain a tricky position against the creation of “the homosexual” as a class in the “Arab world” (quite complicated backstory here, but, for a less nuanced take, “gayness as identity is Western and therefore colonialist, so we shouldn’t support people there who choose to identify as gay even when they are, you know, getting murdered by state actors”), but his work overall is brilliant.
But also he is now revealed as the least fun TV critic OF ALL TIME, as he has now taken on “Homeland.” He’s… likely right in general? (Though that he always refers to the Jewish CIA agent as “the Jewish Berenson” is, uh….) So, how unfun is it? Well there’s this: “The second season opens with Goebbels-like propaganda.” Hee! And: “The racialist structure of the show is reflective of American and Israeli fantasies of anti-Muslim American multiculturalism.” (I mean, TRUE.) He makes fun of WHITE TERRORIST Brody’s accent in Arabic, comparing it to Benjamin Netanyahu’s. And then….
At some point during his capture, the Al-Qaida leader, a man named Abu Nazir (sometimes pronounced by different characters as Abu Nasir though it is most likely Abu Nadhir), puts him in charge of educating his 10 year-old son who is strangely named “Aisa,” which is not an Arabic name at all and is most likely an Israeli corruption of the common Arabic name ‘Isa, meaning “Jesus”! Indeed, as Abu Nazir is the major Bin Ladenesque villain on the show, the producers should have spent an extra $100 to have an Arab consultant tell them that the name of “Abu Nazir” itself means “father of Nazir,” Nazir being his eldest son, so that they would refrain from making the elementary and laughable mistake of referring to “Abu” as his first name and “Nazir” as his last name! Lest you think Israeli anti-Palestinianism is absent from the show, the second season’s first episode reveals to us that Abu Nazir is indeed Palestinian!
Ha, well, yeah.
BUT in a bizarre twist, he ends on this:
Since autobiography is what informs Obama’s taste in television shows, as a half-black president who always reminded the (white) public that he was raised by his white mother and her family, one can safely bet that his favorite television shows growing up must have been “Different Strokes” [SIC] and “Webster.”
Man. Talk about trashing your whole case on the way out. Given that Obama started college in 1979, and “Diff’rent Strokes” only started airing in 1978, while “Webster” didn’t even begin airing until 1983—the year Obama graduated Columbia!—I can safely rebut that.