Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Alice in Wonderland

How ABC’s “Alice in Arabia” Is Racist?

Have you seen a US film that talk nice of “Arabs” or “Moslems”?

Have you seen a US movie or TV program that talk bad of Jews , Zionism or the State of Israel?

Do you think the narratives on Jews or about Jews are done by non Jews or anyone not supporting the State of Israel?

Do you know of a narrative on “Arabs” or Moslems in the US done by an “Arab” or a Moslem?

Do you know that the “Arab World” is constituted of two dozen independent States and this Arab World has at least four major differences, such as the North African countries, the Nile region States, the Arabic peninsula and the Gulf Emirates and the Syrian Nation (Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine?)

The pilot, which riffs on the Alice in Wonderland tale, reinforces old racist tropes:   an American girl (presumably a white girl) is threatened by scary “other” people of color.

American Muslims have lost control of their narratives both online and in the media.

While violent Islamic extremists have grown increasingly adept at using social media to craft their messages – as have anti-Muslim activists – more normative voices from Muslims have been drowned out.

Rabia Chaudry posted this March 19, 2014

The lack of control over self-articulated narratives was exemplified yesterday with the announcement of ABC Family’s new pilot programs, which include a show that got the attention of Arab and Muslim Americans across social media.

One such pilot, “Alice in Arabia” — a title cringe-worthy in itself — has been described as follows:

“Alice in Arabia” is a high-stakes drama series about a rebellious American teenage girl who, after tragedy befalls her parents, is unknowingly kidnapped by her extended family, who are Saudi Arabian.

Alice finds herself a stranger in a new world but is intrigued by its offerings and people, whom she finds surprisingly diverse in their views on the world and her situation.

Now a virtual prisoner in her grandfather’s royal compound, Alice must count on her independent spirit and wit to find a way to return home while surviving life behind the veil.”

(Frequent regurgitated plot: no imagination when applied to the “Arab World” situation)

108224805
Dieter Spears—Getty Images/Vetta

The Twittersphere exploded with the hashtag #AliceinArabia, as people tweeted their offense to ABC Family. The criticisms are plentiful and varied.

1. The show reinforces old racist tropes in which an American girl (presumably a white girl) is threatened by scary “other” people of color.

Considering the sordid history of Americans vilifying Native American men and then black men as dangerous to white women, it is a completely understandable objection.

2. The entire framework of the show is through the kidnap plotline, confirming the kinds of fears about Arabs, Iranians and Muslims that the movie “Not Without My Daughter” established decades ago.

3. The show certainly pits Americans against “Arabs” (tweeters pointed out “Arabia” is not actually a place), and we can assume the “independent spirit and wit” of Alice the American will prevail as triumphant over the lesser evolved Arabians. Thus the plot both bolsters the highly troublesome binary of us vs. them (Muslims being them), a factor linked to the growth of anti-Muslim bigotry and hate crimes in the US since 9/11, and confirms American superiority.

4. Not only will “Alice in Arabia” exacerbate the marginalization of Muslim and Arab men, it perfectly reflects Western attitudes towards Muslim women. Hear that sound?

It’s millions of Muslim women snorting as Alice attempts to survive “life behind the veil.”

The very idea that the veil is something to be survived strips Muslim women of their intellect and agency and makes them the subjects of this practice rather than sentient protagonists 5. of it.

5. The pilot uses the real-life difficulties faced by women in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a platform for ratings, and diminishes the work of activists in and outside the country to effect meaningful reform.

An imported heroine, who is both the victim and the great white hope, not only smacks of Orientalism but frames serious issues through her narrative alone. In doing so, it reaffirms the fact that overwhelmingly the stories in the West of Muslims and Arabs are not actually being told by Muslims and Arabs.

The challenges of Muslims in the West are many, but there is no question that having control over our narratives and the messages about our faith are paramount.

These narratives shape public opinion, impact civil liberties, and even influence our foreign policy.

In failing to self-define ourselves, our culture and our faith we lose authority both to religious extremists and anti-Muslim bigots.

It can only be hoped that ABC Family and other media outlets are paying attention.

The American Muslim community is ripe with talent and voices who can actually tell these stories in relevant, meaningful, and authentic ways.

Portraying Muslims and Arabs as nuanced Americans instead of foreign caricatures would be a good first step for television.

Instead of reaching across the globe for “Alice in Arabia,” perhaps we should start here at home with “Ahmed in Austin”.

How Alice in Wonderland Was Born? And the real Alice…

I didn’t read Lewis Carroll “Alice in Wonderland”

I didn’t see the movie, or any version of it, till now.

I had refused to take advantage of a free entrance to Disney Land in California when I was 26 of age, on the ground that this is for kids.

Until I visited the smaller version of Disney in Orlando 20 years later, and enjoyed it far more than the kids.

I am under the strong impression that I’ll give this book priority, if I stumble on the book.

 posted in Brain pickings “Meet the Real Alice: How the Story of Alice in Wonderland Was Born

What is the use of a book without pictures or conversations!” thought Alice

On July 4, 1862, a young mathematician by the name of Charles Dodgson, better-known as Lewis Carroll, boarded a boat with a small group, setting out from Oxford to the nearby town of Godstow, where the group was to have tea on the river bank.

The party consisted of Carroll, his friend Reverend Robinson Duckworth, and the three little sisters of Carroll’s good friend Harry Liddell — Edith (age 8), Alice (age 10), and Lorina (age 13).

Entrusted with entertaining the young ladies, Dodgson fancied a story about a whimsical world full of fantastical characters, and named his protagonist Alice. So taken was Alice Liddell with the story that she asked Dodgson to write it down for her, which he did when he soon sent her a manuscript under the title of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground.

Alice Liddell, age 7, photographed by Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) in 1860
Alice Liddell (right) with her sisters circa 1859, photographed by Lewis Carroll

Historian Martin Gardner writes in The Annotated Alice (public library), originally published in 1960 and revised in a definite edition in 1999:

A long procession of charming little girls (we know today that they were charming from their photographs) skipped through Carroll’s life, but none ever took the place of his first love, Alice Liddell. ‘I have had some scores of child-friends since your time,’ he wrote to her after her marriage, ‘but they have been quite a different thing.’

Liddell dressed up as a beggar-maid, photographed by Lewis Carroll (1858)

The manuscript made its way to George MacDonald, and idol of Dodgson’s, who had the perfect litmus test for the story’s merit: He read it to his own children, who single-mindedly loved it.

Encouraged, Dodgson revised the story for publication, retitling it to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and adding the now-famous scene of the Mad Hatter’s tea party and the character of the Cheshire Cat for a grand total nearly twice as long as the manuscript he’d originally sent to Alice Liddell.

John Tenniel’s original illustrations of Alice

In 1865, John Tenniel illustrated the story and it was published in its earliest version. Gardner recounts this curious anecdote of the collaboration:

Tenniel’s pictures of Alice are not pictures of Alice Liddell, who had dark hair cut short with straight bangs across her forehead. Carroll sent Tenniel a photograph of Mary Hilton Badcock, another child-friend, recommending that he use her for a model, but whether Tenniel accepted that advice is a matter of dispute. That he did not is strongly suggested by these lines from a letter Carroll wrote sometime after both Alice books had been published…

‘Mr. Tenniel is the only artist, who has drawn for me, who has resolutely refused to use a model, and declared he no more need one than I should need a multiplication table to work a mathematical problem! I venture to think that he was mistaken and that for want of a model, he drew several pictures of ‘Alice’ entirely out of proportion — head decidedly too large and feet decidedly too small.’

For more Alice gold, see:

 


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

October 2020
M T W T F S S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  

Blog Stats

  • 1,427,604 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.adonisbouh@gmail.com

Join 774 other followers

%d bloggers like this: