Category Archives: Discourse analyses

‘Second class consumers’ and ‘food apartheid’: A shift from political to commercial subjectivity?

Screenshot_20170915-203430European Commission President, Jean Claude Junckler, said yesterday:

In a Union of equals, there can be no second class consumers.

Junckler was, of course, paraphrasing, modifyinig and neologising the prevalent longstanding idiom ‘second class citizens,’ the rejection of which is a key ethos of political equality in liberal democracy. (I couldn’t find at the moment where ‘second class’ was ‘originally’ borrowed from, but it doesn’t matter for our discussion. ‘Union of equals,’ by the way, is borrowed from Scottish-English union debates). Continue reading

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British tolerance for misogyny: The case of Philip Hammond

Misogyny and sexism are so prevalent in British life today, that they are regularly overlooked. A powerful example is a slip of the British Chancellor, Philip Hammond, who has reportedly joked at the Cabinet meeting, saying ‘even a woman can [drive a train, because it has become so simple]’. He was briefly told off, and the whole thing was forgotten within a day or so.

Now, here’s an exercise: Suppose a politician says something similar about, for example, Jews, instead of about women. Say, that he or she say ‘jokingly’ that ‘even a Jewish person’ or ‘even a black person’ are able to do a certain task/job. Imagine the raw that would follow in the political arena. It would be a very justified outcry, because we must be tolerant to everything but intolerance, and such statements must be met with strongest response possible. I imagine a subsequent demand for the said politician to be sanctioned by his party, and calls to step down, resulting in suspension or in leaving politics altogether. Even vague and debatable criticism of Zionism, which is now being outrageously treated as antisemitism, are met with investigations, suspensions and resignations. Many other racial ‘slips’ are also likely to result in political termination.  Continue reading

Revolution sells

An image from Amazon UK describing the item (my emphases): (23×60 cm) Banksy Vinyl Wall Decal Escapism Stunning Girl with Balloons / Street Graffiti Art Decor Sticker / Home DIY Mural! + Free Random Decal Gift

The ‘Banksy’ marchendise on the right is one of countless products in the Banksy range (hereinafter: ‘Banksies’), which are readily available to purchase ‘everywhere.’ The silhouette image of a girl drawn into the air by balloons, and dozens of other Banksy’s stencils graffiti images are offered for sale online (e.g. Amazon), in gift shops, pound shops and tourist markets. The scope of the range is really astounding. They are not only printed on posters, framed prints, and canvas, but also on mugs, T-shirts, fabric bags, scarves, greeting cards, placements and coasters, pins and badges, card holders, mobile phone cases, wallets, fridge magnets, cigarette lighters, lampshades, bumper stickers, stickers for computers, stickers for switch plugs, other stickers, playing cards, mouse pads (yes, they’re still making those, apparently), cufflinks, ready-made cupcake tops, flesh plugs (body piercing), babygrow bodysuits, pet clothing, military-style aluminium bead ‘dog-tags’ chains, and so on.

Other than noting how street art is being appropriated into profitable commodity, (and even more so, by others), and how clothing your cat and phone, and other (probably-made-in-China) short-living junk consumerist items stand in obvious opposition to the Banksy art — I want to discuss the mutidirectionality of meaning in the purchasing and performative use of radical symbols. Continue reading

Women-trafficking in everyday life: Modern Jewish weddings deconstructed

Many Jewish women fantasise about their wedding day, even though the ceremony is a public celebration of their inferiority. Allegedly, modern Jewish weddings amongst seculars or liberals are characterised by more individualistic and egalitarian traits. We have erroneously come to believe that the oppressive and subordinating nature of the marriage ritual and its accompanying language have been nullified. Yet, despite all the (welcome) changes, the core of weddings remains the same: it symbolises of the purchase of a woman.

Continue reading