All posts tagged: bowling

From the Archive: The United States of AmeriKitsch

* “Kitsch is the inability to admit that shit exists.” – Milan Kundera Kitsch has the potential to unite all people, irrespective of culture, background, or elitist pretensions. Objects we acquire or accumulate have no meaning until we provide it. The uses for kitsch are infinite. Milan Kundera notes that kitsch is not just the “inability to admit that shit exists,” but also it is the natural aesthetic of all politicians. Last fall in a video interview for Fortnight Journal, I suggested that kitsch might just outlive us all – even the politicians. Yet most moments of pure kitsch happen far away from electoral politics, geopolitics, and the global spotlight. Kitsch injects sentimental into the otherwise mundane. Bob Dylan said “even the President of the United States must have to stand naked,” yet how naked can you be when your person has become part of a larger cult of presidential kitsch? Does kitsch protect? As I prepare to leave the USA for a Fulbright grant to Azerbaijan, I thought it was time to look back …

From the Archive: Muslims Wearing Things

Last week, the American media landscape was in an uproar over comments former (and now, recently fired) National Public Radio (NPR) analyst Juan Williams made during an appearance on “The O’Reilly Factor,” the Fox News Channel program of conservative, professional provacateur Bill O’Reilly. In a discussion over whether or not the United States has a “Muslim issue,” Juan Williams stated that he is: …not a bigot. You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous. Williams was subsequently fired from NPR and Fox News announced they were offering him a $2 million contract. The episode and how it was handled touched off a firestorm in the American media. Similarly in French public life, legislation recently banned certain forms of Muslim women’s garb prompting two young female Parisiens …