Showing posts with label stereotypes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label stereotypes. Show all posts

Friday, July 27, 2012

"So Many Africans in Greece" and Other Flattering Images

"with so many Africans in Greece, at least the West Nile mosquitoes will be eating food from their own home" - Translation of the tweet that got Voula Papachristou, Greece’s triple-jump champion, barred by the Hellenic Olympic Committee from competing in the London Olympic Games. But when you consider the tweet against the backdrop of the European financial crisis, a TechCrunch commenter had the perfect rejoinder:

No matter how much Edward Said or Stuart Hall you throw at perceptions of Africa impressed on people by the overrepresentation of the sorriest aspects of the continent, you still have to contend with how the amount of economic power a nation wields determines how its image gets treated. For example, a recent LA Times article about the changing tide in Hollywood's portrayal of China attests to images and representations being reframed in order to flatter China's new found economic wealth - and muscle. In a similar way, will we start seeing subtle changes in the Portuguese when it comes to images and perceptions of Angola and Angolans?  Too soon to tell. Old speculations -- here and here-- on how television and advertising will flatter and glamor up blackness--in turn affecting how we think of it--in selling to an emerging black upper class with plenty of disposable income to burn. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Evolution of Nigerian Characters on U.S. Television

Season 8, Ep. 17 of American Dad, comic Wayne Brady plays Tungee (Tunji?), one of those kids in the pictures sent to you by American NGOs/charities in those late night infomercials, asking you to stick the kid's pic on your fridge and send a few cents to the NGO every month so the kid can eat. Anyway, Tungee is all grown up now, and he flies to the U.S to visit his long time pen pal benefactors, Stan and Francine, who thought the kid died ages ago. The twist is how Stan and Francine now find the grown up Tungee's round-the-clock positivity and healthy attitude to life a big turn off for them.

Yep. I think we are beginning to sense subtle changes in the treatment of Nigerian characters actually depicted on U.S. TV screens. References to online scams, corruption and other things Americans have come to know still come up, but all those things have quit being the focus. American TV writers are more aware and are now, indirectly, creating complexity an American audience can digest in such characters by taking what they think makes these character different-- i.e. that sense or illusion of naivete, innocence and authenticity people from the developed world thoroughly enjoy in less developed places--and making it into a mirror and a foil for critiquing American cultural hangups, arrogance or exceptionalism. No better example than in the 2009 episode of Monk (Season 8, ep 2) titled "Monk and the Foreign Man", starring Nigeria-British actor, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje.

More changes - here. Follow "supervillians of the modern age" series of posts - here.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Africa: DC Comics' Child Soldier, AIDs Orphan and "African Batman"

Above, the final gory page from an other wise well written and scrumptiously drawn first issue of Batwing - the new character, spawned from Bruce Wayne's desire to franchise the Batman name across the globe. Batwing's name is David Zamvimbi from Tinasha in the DRC and he will be wearing the cape for the time being as "Africa's Batman". Batwing Issue #1was part of DC comics' historic relaunch of 52 of its titles last week, resetting those books' clocks back to issue one.

Over at Huff Po, filmmaker Bryan Young interviews Batwing writer Judd Winick, and this time Winick reveals a lot more about how he will be remixing all the available African stereotypes for a Western audience while fleshing out the Batwing character and staying true to Batman's mythos:

Winick on Batwing's origins:
...what could be considered the more political bent is that Batwing is an AIDS orphan. He lost both his parents to AIDS. Which some folks might call that politics. From where we sit, we're just trying to be true to life in Africa right now. In most of the regions, one-fifth of the population is HIV positive or living with AIDS. And there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 16 million AIDS orphans out there. It rang kind of true to us especially in the Bat universe. Batman himself and most of the other members of the Bat family come from tragic beginnings. That's sort of the motif. That's sort of the opera of it all. It's not like Batwing was out there doing pre-law for a while, starting his own practice, and then decided "Hey, I'll put on a costume and

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Africa: Representation on YouTube

In a 2007-2008 content analysis of YouTube videos featuring the countries Ghana and Kenya, California State University - Northridge Melissa Wall's argues in Africa on YouTube: Musicians, Tourists, Missionaries and Aid Workers (International Communication Gazzette, 2009, 71) that though YouTube is allowing everyday Africans to construct their own representations, a bulk of the videos are more likely to come from westerners. Although these African countries are not represented as chaotic and violent as has often been the case in the past, they continue to be stereotyped. Excerpt from her conclusion:
More broadly, the findings here suggest that YouTube enables the average westerner in particular to become a chronicler of other peoples in faraway lands just as travelers and missionaries ‘discovered’ Africa in previous centuries. Most of these westerners, although not the official voices of the past, do not offer a remedy to the Othering of Africa. Indeed, many of their contributions to YouTube reinforce and naturalize stereotypes. Those videos that feature Africans as the primary actors are almost all generally entertainment oriented often to the exclusion of seemingly more serious content. Why Africans who post videos stick mainly with entertainment content is an important area for future study because entertainment, which tends to be favored by YouTube visitors in general, may well serve as the primary source of information about other countries for many people. Therefore, Africans creating music videos have much more at stake than promoting their careers. Much of the world’s (particularly young people) very vision of their countries may well be in their hands. In conclusion, this examination of a small slice of the world’s largest and bestknown video social networking site does not suggest that a new day has dawned for Africa in terms of the structure and how of global information. What is revealed here is that the age-old inequities still exist and still allow westerners to dominate; although, there is perhaps a broader group of them doing so. That said, YouTub and other such uses of the Internet are providing a small opening for Africans to  create and present their own stories to the world – or at least to the richer corners of it. of it. Whether that opportunity is pursued to provide a more complicated view of the continent’s political, social and economic issues, or whether Africans will see public spaces such as YouTube just as most westerners do – as another form of entertainment – remains to be seen.
YouTubing Africa: Old Patterns and New Possibilities by Melissa Wall (California State University - Northri...

In the Rhodes Journalism Review 28, 2008, Wall adds that in the event of a media covered tumult --i.e. Kenya's 2007 post-election violence--that causes a surge in information about the country on YouTube, older stereotypical videos still get more views:
The volume of additional content combined with the high interest level from visitors to YouTube may well have changed the nation’s image on YouTube – at least for now – from amateur tourist and missionary content along with entertainment videos to news and information. It should be noted, however, if the search is based on number of views, then tourists’ animal videos and music return to the top. Compared to Ghana, which remained fairly static in terms of types of content producers and images over the same time period, this suggests that a crisis may shift the sorts of videos being posted onto YouTube about a particular country or region.
Another unpublished paper does a content analysis of YouTube videos for Community of Portuguese‐speaking African Countries (PALOP)– Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea‐Bissau, Mozambique, and São Tomé and Príncipe.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Africa: Fighting Movie Stereotypes - A Rebranding Lesson

Over at Americas Quarterly, Lina Salazar writes about the Sony Pictures revenge flick, Colombiana, starring Zoe Saldana, and how the perpetuating of a stereotype about a place as a failed state has real costs for people living there. Excerpt:
Colombiana’s title is a brazen attempt by Hollywood producers to capitalize on the decades-old reputation of a country that has made tremendous progress in recent years. It is a purely commercial strategy grounded in fantasy, not reality. And what producers don’t realize is that perpetuating the myth that Colombia is a violence-ridden failed state can have real costs for people living there, and that negative perceptions can have serious negative real world consequences, such as an impact on tourism.
This is good reason to support organizations such as Por Colombia—a group of volunteer students and friends of Colombia in the U.S. and Canada—and initiatives like Colombia, the Other Side of the Coin—a pacifist campaign lead by Carlos Plaza, a Colombian community leader in New York. The latter is leading efforts to distribute materials on premiere night in theaters throughout New York City that shed a more positive (and realistic) light on Colombia.
When they first saw the trailer early this summer, Por Colombia launched #ColombiaisBeautiful—a grassroots social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter designed to counteract overly negative depictions of Colombia in pop culture. The campaign’s banner is a digitally altered poster of the movie: instead of a gun, the “Colombiana” on the film’s poster holds a bunch of flowers, and the tagline "Vengeance is Beautiful" is replaced by "Colombia is Beautiful." This simple campaign has attracted thousands of followers and received coverage from national and international media outlets, including Univision and Huffington Post.
Bogotá-born Carlos Macías, the president of Por Colombia, argues that Sony Pictures is making a profit at Colombia’s expense. Colombians are not against talking about the conflict, says Macías. “If you’re going to talk about the Colombian armed conflict, go ahead, we’re the first to start the conversation," he points out. We don’t deny that violence remains a problem, but we demand balance. We want to provide people with actual facts, while at the same time remembering to include the country’s positive side—which is all too often left out.
Rebranding lesson: piggy back a counter campaign on Hollywood's dime;  re-purposing the same material aimed to make a profit at your expense.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Africa: Black Comic book Superhero Narratives

Trailer for Jinna Mutune's "Leo" , a film about a Kenyan boy dreaming of becoming a comic book superhero (May 2011). Though the boy ends up realizing he is a different kind hero, the film's premise still touches on the problem of reconciling blackness with comic book narratives about superheroes heroes and villains.

Came across a theory that suggests present comic book narratives are too limited. Some say to move past this, the narratological architecture must start from the premise that "black bodies are already supernatural." In this '06 research paper, Anna Beatrice Scott writes:
Black bodies are already stories, mythological beasts with epic powers and tragic presaged endings in the faulty perspectivalism of the white supremacist world. In the garish cartoonish world that is supposedly the everyday, black people’s feats of heroism, while thriving on the margins, completely obliterate current narrative practices for generating the superpowered and mutated.
And apparently the issue of black under-representation is even worse when it comes to "black comic book supervillians". In this 2011 research paper, Phillip Lamarr Cunningham wrote:
...Flash forward some 20-plus years and mainstream comics still remain without many
black supervillains. While black superheroes have managed some progress (perhaps
punctuated by the brief yet impacting run of DC Comics black imprint Milestone during the early- to mid-1990s), black supervillains have yet to experience such a boon. Thus, this essay aims to discern the reasons for such a long, pronounced absence of black supervillains in mainstream comics. As I shall postulate here, this absence largely emerges from a host of narratological constraints that have influenced other genres of popular media, particularly film. I shall conclude by considering the problematic nature of racialized villains while also championing a call for the inclusion for more.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Guinea: Origins of a Chambermaid, Cont'd

Recent video reports from VOA and Al Jazeera about the maid from Guinea and abused maids in general  + more reports from the  NY Times and the Telegraph.

Over at Jezebel, Anna North sees a flawed media narrative or pattern of reporting coalescing around the maid from Guinea - that of an African bumpkin with zero agency:
Before her alleged assault by the then-chief of the IMF, the accuser was a mom, a maid, and a person. Now she's being portrayed as a type — as a wide-eyed bumpkin in the big city, as a dutiful working-class woman, as an untutored immigrant from a mud hut. Some of these portrayals reveal enduring prejudices about Africa; there's more than a little of the noble savage in the "village girl" portrait the Times and Reuters paint. There's also a tendency to set her up as a "perfect" rape victim: innocent, guileless, silent, incapable of "asking for it" because she barely even has her own identity with which to ask. In a disturbing trade-off, the accuser appears to become more sympathetic even as she's erased as a human being.... Absent real information, all the press have are stereotypes about hardworking immigrant women and about people from darkest Africa. This could end up being good for the accuser's case — the more prosecutors can portray her as without any agency, the more trouble the defense will have supporting its argument that DSK had consensual sex with her. But it's sad that being stripped of personhood makes someone a more sympathetic rape victim, as though anything that makes her actually human also makes her at fault. And it's sad that once she enters the public eye, a woman can so easily become a canvas for preconceived notions. (more)
Oh, the many stereotypical tales we can tell you about the complicated maid from the village arriving in the big city. Take it away Hunta:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Africa: Fashion's Black Model

19 year old UK model Leomie Anderson's open letter about race and the fashion industry appeared in Sunday Times Style Magazine's 'Inner Style' section/ blogged here. Excerpt:
In any time of rapid social change, people stick to what they know, and in fashion that’s the white girl. “Shadeism” definitely exists: there are different attitudes to different shades of black. Lighter-skinned models are used more than darker-skinned ones, and if darker models are used, it tends to be for a traditional African look. When designers create an African or tribal print, they’ll get a black girl to model it. I’d say I was in the middle of the spectrum — I’m dark-skinned, but I don’t have traditional African features, so I tend not to be stereotyped. There can also be problems with hair and make-up. Hair stylists never pack black hair products, because they don’t expect to see black girls. They can be scared to work with our hair. I wouldn’t call it racism; it’s just that finding real black hair is rare. Make-up is improving — girls such as Jourdan Dunn and Ajak doing well has helped — but sometimes, when my make-up is finished, it doesn’t look as nice as it does on white skin. They don’t know how to adjust to our skin tone.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

DRC: Writer Judd Winick on the "African Batman"


In September, DC Comics introduces David Zamvimbi as Batwing, the first black man to be Batman as part of DC Comics mind boggling relaunch of 52 of its titles, re-starting all of them at issue #1.

For those who don't keep up with race and the funny books, DC's PR dept has had some fires to put out lately. Back in May, DC released a map for its Flashpoint mini series. The map labels the African continent as "Ape Controlled." Even before the map came out, 4th Letter blog warned about the whole gorilla Grodd thing:
Seriously DC Comics: get a black friend. Male or female, it doesn’t matter, just get one. We’re easy to find. Get one and then ask him if it’s cool to have Africa ruled by a monkey. Just run it by them, real casual-like. “Hey man, what do you think about this?” If they give you the gasface or their eyebrows narrow… change your plans. How come Africa is always the one continent that someone gets to rule ALL of? No one rules an entire continent in the real world, and Africa has dozens, if not hundreds, of distinct peoples and cultures. I get that treating it as something other than a homogeneous Dark Continent would require, I dunno, opening Wikipedia or something, and that it’s just easier to make up a country with an African sounding name.
Anyway, DC comics now puts the first black man in the cape and cowl, and over at Newsarama, Vaneta Rogers interviews the "Batwing" writer and DC editor, Judd Winick, who sheds more light on where in homogeneous Africa this is taking place. Excerpt:
Nrama: You mentioned a city. Does Batwing have a base of operations? 
Winick: Yes, he's based in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and his city is called Tinasha, which is a fictional city based on a real city in the country. Africa is a continent, so in comparison, think about Batman in relation to North America, and how often you see Batman in Canada or Mexico. Not often. So in that sense, Batwing will actually be localized to one city and one country in Africa, with some zipping around here and there. 
Nrama: Have you been to the Congo? 
Winick: No, but I'm thinking DC should send me there to check it all out. I think I'd need a month or so to really soak it up.

... and on the approach:
Winick: Yeah. I think the more it was thought about, it makes a bit of a statement. It's the first time that a black man has been Batman. It was a bit of a "eureka" moment, to realize we could actually do Batwing and have him be in Africa. Not bring him to America or something, which we never really considered it. He's an African living in Africa, fighting the fight for his country. It's a truly international book. It shouldn't feel like a book that could just happen in America. I'm hoping this feels like a book that can't happen anywhere but Africa. This is truly an African story. 
Nrama: It totally removes it from that Western view of the world. 
Winick: Yeah, and the volatile nature of this country lends itself really easily to the big superhero stories. Big battles are still being waged there. On this continent you have dictators and warlords and entire armies populated by children. Entire kingdoms being overthrown. These are crazy, insane ideas that are actually happening day-in and day-out, and that's non-fiction. We don't have that here in America. In our superhero stories, we have to create fabrications of criminal organizations and gangsters and battles and wars. But that's part of the fabric of Africa. So for this title, we're going to tap into that in a superheroic way. It's also the cradle of civilization, still fertile and rich and really, in some places, untouched by humanity. So we're hoping to tap into that too.
You get the feeling Batwing is going to be a little of everything you might have wished for and everything you're going to hate. If nothing else, hopefully it keeps that "eureka" light bulb on, passing along to other writers the same realization that every African country has all it takes to support a rich comic narrative and superhero universe.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Africa: Ways of Seeing

Read Institute of Commonwealth Studies senior fellow Susan Williams' "Ways of Seeing Africa"  ...

.... an intro to the Journal of the International African Institute's annual African Bibliography 2010 published by Cambridge University Press. Excerpt: 
Who would dare make generalizations about Asia based on Bangladesh? Or about Europe based on Greece?’ The late Polish journalist and writer Ryszard Kapuscinski, who first went to Africa in 1957 and then returned again and again over the next forty years, makes a similar point. ‘Africa is too large to describe’, he observes in his preface to The Shadow of the Sun. ‘It is a veritable ocean, a separate planet, a varied, immensely rich cosmos. Only with the greatest simplification, for the sake of convenience, can we say “Africa”. In reality, except as a geographical appellation, Africa does not exist.’ Samson Kambalu, a Malawian author and artist,

Friday, May 6, 2011

Nigeria: Supervillains of the Modern Age, Cont'd

Some dudes with awful accents playing trigger happy Nigerians who kidnap a drug lord's son in a March 21 episode of Chicago Code. Niger Delta representin'. Our archives of Nigerians as super-villians in the media - here.

Rather than protest Nigerian villainy adapted to meet the needs of American TV writing, we'd rather protest  that American TV writers should do their homework and read, for example, Misha Glenny's book, McMafia: Crime Without Frontiers to learn how Nigerian international crime syndicates actually roll:
Yet despite a reputation for ruthlessness, the Nigerians in South Africa (or more accurately the Igbo, who make up between 80 and 90 percent of them) run their criminal gangs, as we've seen, on principles of nonviolence. Into Hillbrow and other parts of South Africa, they have imported an egalitarian system of tribal councils stipulating that territories should not be fought over but agreed upon and discussed. "Arbitration, Not Aggravation" could be their slogan (pg. 185).
We've trashed out some of these points before in an old post on Nigerian super-villainy here. Anyway, awful accents aren't the worst thing that can happen when Nigerians are being depicted--or Nigerians are doing the depicting of other generic Africans--in Hollywood. Recall British-Nigerian actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje playing the African tyrant, Wombosi, in 2002 Bourne Identity? Remember the morgue scene, where on seeing the body switched for Cain's he told his aide in Yoruba, "see, didn't I tell you?"... "you're an idiot". Nollywood's dread awful subtitle writers can smile at that clip because Hollywood really screwed the pooch on the translation as well.

We've always thought that was way worse than awful accents.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Ethiopia: "A Bullfrog Vacation Spot"

1987 Time Cover

The 1984-85 famine in Ethiopia became such an international TV event in the 80s, that 25 years after the fact, the mention of Ethiopia, especially for older audiences, still rings enough of a pop culture and stereotype bell to set up the "bullfrogs on vacation" joke below from a Season 6 episode of the wickedly funny, irreverent animated show, Family Guy (original air date: Oct 2007):

Even though the frogs are vacationing in Ethiopia, the writers throw in Madonna's Malawi adoptions as well, because after all, Africa is a country. And those willing to go as far back as 1997, then there's also Southpark's "Starvin Marvin - the Ethernopian":

Related examples here and here.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Africa: How Does the Continent Fare in Video Game Villiany?

According to Complex's infographic, when it comes to picking African states to feature as villains in war video games, it looks like the video game writers stick to FP's failed state index:

The folks over at GOOD magazine explain:
It's an interesting mix: two of Bush's "axis of evil" nations (only Iran is missing); countries with a history of Islamic terrorism (Indonesia and Afghanistan) or drug cartels (Mexico and Colombia); failed states (Somalia and Chad); and the BRIC economies—Brazil, Russia, India, and China—whose growing influence in world trade is obviously a threat to U.S. and European dominance. (more)
Check out real footage from a Dutch marine's helmet camera as he takes down some Somali pirates - the whole thing already plays out like a first person shooter. If you add zombie villains to the mix, then South Africa also makes the cut. 

South Africa/ Nigeria: Rosie the Plumber and Mechanic

Two CNN recent looks at African women taking on jobs usually associate with men.

And for those who have always associated the American woman riveter during World War 2 to the woman in the "We Can do It" poster of Rosie the Riveter or the woman in the Norman Rockwell cover, look again. Among the only color photographs in the Library of Congress archives taken of the effects of the Depression on America’s rural and small town populations is the picture below:

Scroll to picture 66 for the caption.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Africa: "Black Panther, I Am Your Father" - Lion Man

Black Panther writer, former BET president Reginald Hudlin, explains to Michel Martin, host of NPR's Tell Me More, why the Black Panther animated series never aired in the U.S and how the recently released DVD is now Marvel's fastest selling animation DVD. A great feat, considering the character doesn't have the name recognition bestowed by a big Hollywood movie.

But just as interesting, KB, over at the fabulous Out of this World, notes T'Challa/Black Panther draws a strong parallel with Lion Man and Bubba (below), a strip set in Africa and featured in the first issue of All-Negro Comics, a segregated comic book published in 1947:
Besides All-Negro Comics 1, there are three issues of Fawcett's Negro Romance in 1950, then a single issue of Charlton's Negro Romances 4 (1955), which I believe reprints the second Fawcett issue. These are all segregated comics, however. It isn't until war comics of the early 1950s and then early 1960s that actual integration begins. Finally I'm adding three pages of the Lion Man story to the post to augment Aaron's feature on the history of black superheroes over on his blog Silver Age Gold. Note the idea of Lion Man being a scientist, the treasures of his people's mountain, and the white guy coming to steal it. Besides being an obvious reference to European imperialism, there's a strong parallel with Lee/Kirby's T'Challa (Black Panther), his land Wakanda, and the valuable mineral Vibranium that the explorer Ulysses Klaw comes in search of (he becomes the villain Klaw), as told in the pages of the now legendary Fantastic Four 52-53 and 56. I haven't read the Black Panther predecessor, Waku, Prince of the Jungle, in Atlas's Jungle Tales of the 1950s, so I don't know if there's a parallel there also.

KB's blog uses comic books to look back at recent history and as a window into the social contexts and attitudes prevailing in America when the books where published. He has been posting, all through Black History month, appearances of many African American characters first in comics from the 60s and 70s.

Africa/Thailand: Ad Love

Just saw this. KMBA featured this beautiful, weird, ham-handed yet sensitive Thai ad in '09 and liked it:
I like it! I sometimes feel this way. As a black man working in advertising and all. Climbing seemingly insurmountable shafts, just to achieve meaningless objectives. Then to have the little joy there may be in it snatched away and then made to feel like sh*t for even trying. Then, oh boy, then at the end of the day I feel all mushy and slightly abrasive. Perfect for whisking away the plaquey mush. I find this commercial very insightful. Black herbal toothpaste gets me. Or have I grown rant weary? No fret, the web is loaded with angry black keyboardist. It's like a modern day Black bullpen out there. Sic'em guys!!! More
We thought the many rescued balloons still floating above his bed also gets at the idea of hope.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Kenya/ India: Refusing the "Single History"

This poem/ slam about "refusing the single history" or "single nationality" from Sheniz Janmohamed gets better every time we hear it.

Add it to "the refusal of the single story."

Ethiopia: Photographing Individuals or Faces for NGOs

In Steven Crandell's write up on photographer Tyler Stablefield's lecture at the Annenberg Space for Photography, Los Angeles, he includes the clip below of Stablefield explaining that what media, not just photography, does is reduce reality, "but in that reduction is power..."

... and here you can find the part of the lecture on photographing for non-profits plus the difference in donor response when reality is reduced to an individual's face. And we've already talked before about why the emphasis needs to be on the "individuality"as much as the face.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Africa/France: The Neo Blundering "Colonial"

Skim thru digibidi preview pages from Nicolas Dumontheuil's '09 graphic novels, Le Landais volant, volumes 1 and 2 (colors by Isabelle Merlet/ Futurepolis). They feature French Baron Jean-Dextre Pandarus Cadillac and his pseudo-colonial, travelogue-esque forays into modern African life in Ghana, Benin, Mali  and Burkina Faso...

...Endowed with great coping skills inherited from his illustrious ancestors and an open mind taught by his father, who imperially suggested that he run the wide world, Jean-Dextre, full of goodwill, although bit naive, goes to Africa carrying the guilt of the history between Africa and Europe, fears of not yet being free of his prejudices, and, of course, blundering and falling over each well-intentioned step he takes. Goog Trans BDGest reviews for Vol 1 - here & Vol 2 - here.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Libya: Gaddafi, Qaddafi, Khaddafi... - Smell the Jasmine, Cont'd

At last, above we finally have all the various ways to spell the man's name. Yesterday though Clinton Yates' over at Wa Po's Lunchline email newsletter got a reader who is an Arabic scholar to explain why there are so many variations for Ga, Qaddafi's the man's name. Apparently...
[His name] in Arabic uses a letter with a sound that has no direct translation or pronunciation in English. The third letter from the right in القذافي has a guttural sound made from the throat. It is impossible to pronounce by a native English speaker. As a result, it ends up getting pronounced as a K or Q or Qa or most regularly a G — "Guh" type sound." 
And has pulled clips of Gaddafi and Libyan references from the pop culture archives, starting way back from Naked Gun and Back to the Future to episodes of The Simpsons, Family Guy and SNL's parody of Gaddafi's UN speech. If you asked us, that speech doubled as its own parody.

H/T: Daily Beast


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