Thursday, June 25, 2009

On the effect of patriotic propaganda

A study released recently compared the attitude of people to cultural differences before and after listening to patriotic music and found that:

"(...) preliminary findings showed that the patriotic songs had a negative effect on the participants, as shown through their responses to the survey's questions about other cultures and diversity. The patriotic songs made the participants close-minded and prejudiced.

"Once they were in a patriotic point of view, they were less empathetic," Alvarado said. "They didn't put themselves in other people's perspective."

Interesting analysis of the effects of propaganda, however, I am a bit skeptical that a single song in a controlled environment can do that much.

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Princess Hijab and the complexity of cultural remixes

I think my brain melted a bit trying to understand and react in a coherent way to Princess Hijab.

She is a guerrilla artist/protester/ad buster that 'hijabizes' advertisement. She, a self defined 'insomniac punk' claims not to be a Muslim and do what she does just for the sake of artistic expression. And I am torn here, as I think that the burqa is hideous, demeaning, a symbol of male oppression. But, I can see also how it can be a part of one's identity, a definition of self, an act of provocation, rather than an imposition. I do not approve it, but in no sane society should women dress according to my or any man's thoughts.

The French government wants to forbid the burqa, and even if I would like to see that, I cannot support such measure in good conscience, it should not be state's business to tell people what they cannot wear. Why don't they actually ask to the women that wear burqas why do they do it? Coercion is not the solution here, I am afraid. Which one is it? I am not sure, but if somebody finds happiness inside a burqa, who am I (o Sarkozy or De Gaulle) to oppose to that?

Meanwhile, Princess Hijab is there, mocking us, protesting, calling our attention and making us reflect on our internal contradictions, transgressing the boundaries of cultures, mixing them, defying our preconceptions and clear-cut opinions. I am not sure whether she is beautiful, but what she does is. Go on, beautiful provocateur, épater la bourgeoisie.

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Saturday, June 6, 2009


I just finished a consultancy that paid nicely. And about to finish the Neverending Thesis, I will start paid work in July. Finally I can say I am economically independent. It took a long time and several attempts, but I am glad I did it finally, thanks to my efforts. Things might change, but I can live for a few months without fear.

Thanks, mamá. You have always believed in me, even more than I have. Thanks to all the friends that so many times supported me, bought me lunch and gave me advice. Without them, I would not be here, at the beginning of a new, unknown, but exciting path.

And yes, I am not a patriot, but the song suits my mood right now, my own mind nation of my own. Time to start the foundations of the First Distributed Republic?

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