The band has a deep, sincere relationship with the Caribbean nation. But even so, Reflektor’s marketing campaign has perpetuated stereotypes.
Months before Arcade Fire’s new album came out, I learned of its existence when social media pointed me to a website with some chalked, black and white patterns spelling out “Reflektor.” The designs seemed strange and foreign, and I was intrigued about what the music might sound like—not because I knew what the accompanying imagery meant, but precisely because I didn’t.
This, of course, was the intended effect. It turns out those designs were inspired by Haitian vevegraffiti, used in syncretistic Vodoun practices to summon the Loa (angels or spirits, messengers to the deity). But presented out of context, to the typically unknowing fan like me, they connoted something else: mystery, exoticness, esotericism.
Reflektor itself—now released and at the top of the charts—and the rest of its marketing campaign went all-in on the Haitian tropes. During some promotional concerts the band donned Kanaval masks, coopting a symbol that holds multifaceted, complex meaning for Haitians during Carnival but that was reduced to flat shorthand for “party!” during a raucous SNL appearance. The music evokes similar stereotypes. In the song “Flashbulb Eyes,” glimmering marimbas will, for many listeners, conjure a specific idealization of the Caribbean (where Haiti is located), while singer Win Butler wails about cameras stealing souls. The band’s music used to feel interesting by virtue of its heart-on-sleeve confrontation with mortality; now, it borrows its edginess by leaning on preconceptions about a foreign region.
yup. i dont fuck with arcade fire so i missed the promotional stuff but i’ve heard some interview and i’ve def peeped how they were waving around Haiti like a street cred flag.
(also veves are not graffiti)
Holy fuck. I never really understood how they caught birds before, I assumed they had to sneak up on them.
How was this even caught on camera?
are you kidding me?!?!? ok that’s like 4 or 5 feet in the air and one fLUID motion of jump, catch, put in mouth, and land gracefully ready for the game-winning interview. killin em cat you be killin em.
Essex social services have obtained a court order against a woman that allowed her to be forcibly sedated and for her child to be taken from her womb by caesarean section
From the article:
A pregnant woman has had her baby forcibly removed by caesarean section by social workers.
Essex social services obtained a High Court order against the woman that allowed her to be forcibly sedated and her child to be taken from her womb.
The council said it was acting in the best interests of the woman, an Italian who was in Britain on a work trip, because she had suffered a mental breakdown.
The baby girl, now 15 months old, is still in the care of social services, who are refusing to give her back to the mother, even though she claims to have made a full recovery.
And we thought eugenics were a thing of the past? It hardly ever makes news in Europe but refugee and migrant women are disproportionately affected by similar Social Services involvement regularly. I have spoken with many Women of Color (who will not speak on record for fear of retaliation) who have mentioned similar vigilantism going on in The Netherlands. It usually starts with Dutch neighbors “notifying” Social Services that there is an “unfit” mother (cultural differences can be perceived as signs of “bad motherhood” over here) and it escalates to full blown investigations that go as far as monitoring what children are fed (“ethnic” foods being subjected to special scrutiny under the guise of “nutrition value”). The women I’ve spoken to have mentioned situations like this with family members, friends, acquaintances, etc. It’s one of the reasons communities are kept tight, as usually positive outcomes depend on strong collective reactions to the injustice.
The case involving the Italian woman in the article is extremely unfortunate but I very strongly suspect it’s not as isolated as the news make it appear. The only difference is that when it happens to Women of Color it remains unreported because of victim’s fear and the normalization of violence.(via redlightpolitics)
2003: Prima ballerina Anastasia Volochkova, fired by the Bolshoi for being “too fat.” They claimed she was too heavy for male dancers to lift. Volochkova sued the Bolshoi and was awarded financial compensation by a Moscow court, but was never given another role with the Bolshoi again. Instead she went on to pursue a successful solo career, and became one of the biggest media personalities in Russia. In the wake of the acid attack, she accused the Bolshoi of being a “giant brothel”, claiming ballerinas were expected by the leadership to sleep with wealthy patrons. Bolshoi officials adamantly deny this.
It’s amazing that in 1969 we as a society managed to put a man on the moon and yet we still can’t get a wheelchair user from one railway station to another nearly 50 years later. You have to come to the conclusion that it is a lack of will to create a more accessible world, not lack of technology or design skills.
People hold a lot of energy in their bellies. esp women. So it makes sense that it is used against us as a tool to make us feel bad. Always told to make it smaller, flatter, less dynamic, diminish. It also makes sense that sometimes I feel so full-not of food- and I just…
Last week I started a petition requesting that Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert (or anyone, really) stop making transphobic jokes on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. You can read all about it here and here.
Today, with the help of my friends (Thank you for being a friend, Ryan!) and despite my inferior spelling skills (No Thank you for being a fiend, Autocorrect!), we flew past our initial goal of 100 signatures.
Onward and upward. Tomorrow’s goal is the front page of change.org, so I’m thinking 50,000-100,000 signatures would be fine. Seriously though, 100K signatures would be awesome but it will probably take more than a day or two, so let’s say 1000 is next. In the meantime, please continue to share the petition far and wide. I will continue to work on making sure that your voices reach the decision makers. Also, I have no idea what I am doing. If you’ve run a successful petition or similar project and have some protips, I will listen.
Jon, Stephen, Sumner, I know you read my blog so please allow me to share just a few of the many excellent, relevant, perspective-inducing, comments on the petition:
I’m a veteran, a liberal, and a transsexual woman. It bothers me that Mr Stewart and Mr. Colbert are so willing to respect me for my term of military service while simultaneously thoughtless enough to disrespect me and other trans people on a regular basis. I don’t believe they do this out of malice, but I think this kind of humor is beneath them and inconsistent with their politics.
Jokes made at the expense of marginalized and vulnerable people, and which reinforce pernicious myths about them, are cheap, easy jokes. The proper targets of satire–as you should know, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert–are the complacent, comfortable and powerful, not the vulnerable and disenfranchised. Please don’t resort to lazy humour which devalues and endangers the lives of those who are its targets.
Several people I love and hold in greatest esteem have been physically and emotionally assaulted because of their gender orientation. I strongly believe that everyone has the responsibility to end transphobia.
These are such intelligent guys that are doing a whole lot of good- I’m sure they only need to be aware of this to change it for the better. I respect them immensely and doubt they’re being intentionally hateful, but this is important to be aware of.
“Satire” should punch up, not further hurt and marginalized people who are already treated as less-than-human by much of society. Telling transphobic jokes is not progressive, it’s not cool, it’s not funny.
I’m a transwoman. I watch your shows. I like your shows. But these things make me feel bad about being who i am. And i just want you to realize that what you are saying isn’t funny, just hurtful.
I’m a trans woman and frequent Colbert Report and Daily Show viewer. I love the commentary and humor but hate never knowing if I’m going to be dehumanized for a cheap laugh.
I’m a transgender person who regularly views both shows, although I honestly watch Colbert less now because of his frequent use of transphobic humor. I’d like to see more of Stewart’s segments mocking transphobic bigots, rather than more segments where we’re the punchline for a cheap joke. Remember, there’s a lot of scared, closeted trans teenagers watching your shows, and those little jokes can do more damage than someone who hasn’t gone through it can possibly imagine.
Good comedy punches up. Bullies punch down.
Yo guys if you could help spread this around and sign it, it’s kind of a big deal. These guys are sort of held as the epitome of what being a good “progressive” is in this country, and if they can get away with throwing tr*nny out as often as they do, then they’re setting an example that says casual transphobia is not just A-OK, but cute and funny.
haven’t been able to fall asleep until 4 or 5 am for the past few days, i hate this sleepless phase. i get them every once in a while and they suck :(