Israel: After the War, a Political Earthquake
Israelis take very seriously the admonition that during the life-and-death times of warfare, criticism of the government and the military must wait until the guns have gone quiet. This time, the effort to refrain from second-guessing proved particularly challenging. That’s because the results proved frustrating, painful and frightening in the 34-day war against Hezbollah. The rumbles of a political earthquake are now following the conflict that destroyed Israel’s aura of invincibility. Now that the soldiers are returning home, the shakeup will begin and the careers of respected politicians and military men will be changed forever. This conflict lasted longer than [...]
Iraq: the Reality TV Invasion
Reality TV is managing to do in Iraq what few other Western imports have over the last three and a half years — gain a large and devoted grass-roots following. With more than a dozen home-grown shows already having taken to the Iraqi airwaves, the phenomenon has added another country to its global conquest. “These shows are appealing to anyone, but more so in Iraq because it’s being handed to people starving for a vision of something better,” says Dr. Douglas Gentile, Director of Research at the National Institute on Media and the Family. “We’re talking about a country experiencing [...]
Middle East: Beyond the Bombs, An Exploding Pop Culture
BEIRUT, Lebanon — A few days before the outbreak of violence between Israel and Hezbollah here, I was sipping strong coffee and talking with a highly influential Lebanese man about something totally unrelated to war: The mass media popular culture revolution that has swept the Arab world in recent years. Karim Sarkis, deputy head of broadcast for the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC) — the outfit whose smash hit reality show “Star Academy” rewrote the book on how to make money in the world of Arab satellite television — told me that one of the most significant new trends in the [...]
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