Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Anti-Americanism and the Subversion of American Icons.

Expression of anti-Americanism can be found anywhere and take all sorts of forms. The most effective form is probably the subversion of American icons, and here follows a good illustration.

This one (here below) is a stencil and I find it somewhat fascinating. Because it combines two strong visual symbols (McDonald’s Golden Arches and the Twin Towers, i.e. The World Trade Center) which both represent American economic dominance, it is extremely powerful.
Of course, it is also extremely offensive (which is precisely the point, we can all guess) while
it is clever and well-done at the same time. The planes seem to be the offshoots of the arches, as if the attack was somewhat the inevitable result of global economic success.
It is probably not thought through, but the very fact, it is a black stencil adds to the gruesomeness of the whole thing.

In my opinion, however, the most aggressive part is actually the words: EAT THIS! It is much worse than the F-word, or any “US Go Home” slogan. It plays with a primal idea of stuffing something down, or forced feeding, which akins to a rape of some kind. Of course it says a lot about the rejection of American culture, lifestyle and products in some parts of the world (as if it read, "you want us to eat your food, now you eat something") but it also hints at the idea that 9/11 is also well deserved.
That’s what is most offensive and thus effective here, I believe.

By the way, this post does not mean to offend anybody or condone anything. No matter how sick one may find this, it is a compelling illustration and that’s the point of a political slogan isn’t it?

By the way, I know very well the primary source of this picture, but it was not taken in France, nor was it taken in Iraq. Can you guess where? The question is a hard one, I'll admit. After all, anti-American feelings are rampant throughout the world these days. The answer might surprise you a little.

[ANSWER: here's the country and the city where it was taken.]

NOTE: Here's another "subversion" of the Golden Arches, which is undeniably a lot more fun:


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