Friday, June 27, 2008

"Whaddup Terrorist?"

Check out this BBC news item (courtesy Abbas) of a Beruiti shop's attempt to reclaim some of the icons and language used in the War on Terror. Some of the items on the menu include:

The 'Rocket-propelled grenade' (chicken on a skewer)
'Terrorist bread'

May I also suggest the following items:

'The Molotov Cocktail' (Rooh Afzah, Sprite and a shot of Orange Juice)
'Infidel Shashlik' (Skewers of white chicken meat, Awww-yeah, triple entendre!)
'Crescents' (Croissants)
'Camel Jockey Burger' (It might be a little gross, but its worth having on the menu for the heck of it)

As far as reclaiming the word 'terrorist' in particular, I doubt it will work. The reason the civil rights movement was able to reclaim the word 'black', but not 'Nigger' is because they managed to completely change how African Americans thought about the former. If the subject or target audience cannot redefine how they feel about their own use of the word, then it will at best continue to have two meanings (hence the N-word). The chances of redefining Muslim perceptions of the word 'terrorist' are pretty much nil, given the literal meaning of the word and the fact that it is completely at odds with the tenet that 'Islam' stands for 'peace'. Still, if the word 'terrorist' can be diluted and its sting removed to some extent through humour, I'm all for that.

Conversely, words like 'Jihadi' and 'Militant' are not inherently negative, and are likely to remain quasi-positive. There is also an excellent attempt to reclaim the word 'radical', which everyone should check out (courtesy Ali). Also, click here for an interesting article setting out the lexicon of the War on Terror.

Another example of a successful reclamation would be the word 'queer', whereas an unsuccessful or only partially successful example would be 'fag' or 'faggot'. Additionally, Meredith Brooks' attempt to reclaim the word 'bitch' have also met with failure.

Since I enjoy using clips from comedians to underscore my points and end my posts, here is another classic from Dave Chappelle.


Ahsan said...

That was brilliant. (The clip, not the post...although I suppose the post was ok too).

Fatima said...

haha i loved this!
now i am craving some infidel shashlik!

NB said...

Haina (barbera cartoons)! I dont know why, but the jihadi food sounds appetizing.