Saturday, February 28, 2009

The stylish kufiya in "Iron Man"

I finally got around to watching this thoroughly enjoyable film last night, and even though its liberal political turns are somewhat hokey and predictable, I appreciated (a) Tony Stark's "moral" decision to turn away from war profiteering and (b) that the film represented the Afghani "bad guys" as being in cahoots with US weapons producers. I suppose the latter represents a kind of backhanded acknowledgment of the CIA's role in helping create and strengthen those "bad guys" during the struggle of the Afghani mujahideen against the Soviet occupation.

But here's one thing I didn't like, seriously. The real "bad guy" of the film, Raza (played by Faran Tahir), who leads the terrorist group, wears a kufiya around his neck. And not only does he wear it in the manner of the Western hipster--more typically in Afghanistan it would be worn it as a turban--but the colors are straight out of...Urban Outfitters. It's tan. But it should (if verismilitude is the aim) be black-and-white, or maybe red-and-white.

So, Iron Man manages not only to associate just kufiyas with terrorists, but hipster kufiyas as well.

The semiotic war continues....

1 comment:

Jessamy said...

On the other hand, I noticed a friend of mine (from Afghanistan) wearing a purple-ish patterned scarf that looked like a keffiya to me (am a middle eastern studies major, spent two semesters in egypt, and saw lots of trendy/awkward tourists wearing all sorts of keffiyas, in many different colors...actually in siwa, siwi men often wear very colorful keffiyas in gold, lavendar, you name it, on their heads). I complimented her & asked where she got it...she said she'd brought it from home. I'm not saying that this actor didn't get his particular neckwear from UO, but I wonder how much you have researched the presence of multi-colored keffiyahs in Afghanistan?

Just wondering... I just discovered your blog, by the way, and am very excited to have found it! I'm really interested in (slightly different angle, maybe) pop culture in the Arab world, but also all the intersections *between* pop cultures, and people like Ruba Saqr and Aziz Maraqah who are actually trying to topple, or at least put a damper on the death grip of the Lebanese pop industry. So, thanks for doing this! It's great.

{This is sincere, but if it seems a random addendum: I just wanted to add that bit so you didn't think I only showed up here to 'critique' (if my question can be called that) old posts on your site.}