2005

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Reviews published during 2005.
2005 Natan Sharansky and Palestinian Human Rights
Joe Lockard
There is a certain inconvenience to public memory of incidents that undermine or negate claims that one advocates for freedom. Such neglected histories challenge Sharansky’s entire thesis that splits the world into two manichean categories, free and fear societies.
2005 The New Invisibility and US Desaparicidos
Joe Lockard
IRAQ WAR CULTURE REVIEW. As the Bush administration exercises its inventiveness to create and rationalize new modes of global policing, the politics of invisibility within this menacing Leviathan extend themselves and demand that its practices — not the prisoners — become the object of legal protection. Occasional witness testimonies, photographs, and documents may emerge, but this is an invisibility based on establishing a durable partition between state and public knowledge.
2005 The Last True Story I’ll Ever Tell: An Accidental Soldier’s Account of the War in Iraq
Joe Lockard
IRAQ WAR CULTURE REVIEW. This is not the story of an ‘accidental soldier.’ Crawford, like his fellow soldiers, volunteered for the National Guard and knew the terms of enlistment. The tough-guy ethos of his prose — its ‘I’m fucked, we’re all fucked’ attitude — is avoidance. Crawford never protested, even though he knew the war was wrong. There was no accident here, not even with the third-grader he mowed down.
2005 Translating Iraq: Journalism as Hermeneutic Enterprise
Kyle Conway
IRAQ WAR CULTURE REVIEW. Iraq War journalism has occasioned a debate over how to represent Iraqis as people rather than images of Western manufacture. As Iraq comes to define itself post-Saddam Hussein, it will be on terms of Iraq's own self-understanding rather than those provided by US journalism.
2005 Occupation or Democracy by Force?
Teresa Comacho
IRAQ WAR CULTURE REVIEW. This volume's contributors bring to life the fear and destruction of a war zone. The poverty, disease and crime become very apparent, almost palpable. Any perception that the US military has cleaned up and saved Iraq will need to be re-examined once the general public understands what is happening and that a people are suffering now more than ever.
2005 How America Lost Iraq
Joe Lockard
IRAQ WAR CULTURE REVIEW. Even if the US public is shifting slowly against prolonged occupation, the majority of public opinion has yet to comprehend that America was never engaged in a noble struggle to promote ideals of liberty. There’s good reason it was the United States where P.T. Barnum made a fortune from suckers.
2005 Britney Spears’ Chaotic Attempt at Primetime
Tamara Watkins
Celebrities are larger than life to work-a-day folk, so seeing Britney mugging a pug nose with weird accent is not much fun. Spears might have regaled us with the depths of her persona; instead, she reveals a vapid life. But wasn't she always?
2005 Longfellow: A Rediscovered Life
Joe Lockard
The term ‘rediscovery’ takes on special relevance in relation to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a poet who represented the romantic spirit in American literature as well as any writer. By ignoring Longfellow, or by mystifying or satirizing his poetry when we do not ignore it, we refuse to look nineteenth-century America full in the face. Longfellow’s critical twilight is at root historical avoidance.
2005 The Doctrine of Fear and the New Documentary Aesthetic: Hijacking Catastrophe
Janice Morris
IRAQ WAR CULTURE REVIEW. Hijacking Catastrophe is effective because, by cleverly cherry-picking its various appropriations and adaptations, it renders itself “real” and “authentic” while simultaneously capitalizing on the new multimedia-obsessed human need not only to belong, but also to be “in the know.”
2005 Baghdad Bulletin: Dispatches on the American Occupation
Joe Lockard
IRAQ WAR CULTURE REVIEW. The United States has already lost the Iraq War, but still functions within the delusion that it is winning. A literature of journalistic witness and on-the-ground realism, such as David Enders writes, is crucial to remove the blinders that have enabled the US public to normalize the war.
2005 Race to Incarcerate
Roumen Bezergianov
Marc Mauer argues that the problem with aggressively enforcing ‘quality of life’ crimes and lower-level offenses is that it not only ignores the community as a partner in crime-fighting strategies, but it often heightens police-community tensions.
2005 Who’s a Barbarian? Reading Abu Ghraib Through The Battle of Algiers
Silvia Giagnoni
IRAQ WAR CULTURE REVIEW. The Abu Ghraib tortures, shockingly a non-issue in the last US political campaign, have been captured by cameras in a proud übermenschlich need for visibility that seems to have eradicated any moral principle, even that of decency, from these soldiers’ minds. Did the exhibitionist logic that affects people who participate in reality TV shows permeate these combatants as well?
2005 Michigan Peaceworks
Mike Mosher
IRAQ WAR CULTURE REVIEW. Michigan Peaceworks provide a good model of a group developing a peace movement, inventing it as they go along. On one hand its activists keep in mind how the Internet puts progressive organizations in touch with supporters locally and further; on the other hand they take to the streets over misguided militarism and to celebrate solidarity.
2005 The Dean Campaign, the Internet, and the Overthrow of Nothing
Joe Lockard
This is classic political pitch-man territory; the message is “give us the money, we’ll give you change.” The Internet and political contribution sites are just a bigger and better means of passing around the collection hat.
2005 John the Painter: Terrorist of the American Revolution
Joe Lockard
How do accounts of radical anti-state violence provided by their triumphant antagonists distort the actions and purposes of their now-imprisoned and condemned actors? How do we read these repressive accounts counter-purpose in order to illuminate the inner lives of those subjects they oppress and kill?
2005 The Face of Fear: A Snapshot of American Journalism
Adam Tavel
IRAQ WAR CULTURE REVIEW. US nationalism maintains a stranglehold on public opinion by instilling fear through the media, and thus achieves its ideological goals with little concern for the democratic process.
2005 On Sanitizing War Images
David Peppas
IRAQ WAR CULTURE REVIEW. Over the past two years a barrage of images — including the gruesome public spectacle of the mutilation of US security guards in Fallujah, the disturbing photographs of Americans humiliating and torturing Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison, and the videotaped beheading of Nicholas Berg — have raised questions about the war of images.
2005 The (Underground) Railroad in African American Literature
Joe Lockard
The Underground Railroad has achieved an historic high in its popularity as a site of American history. Its attractiveness lies in a combination of adventure romance, the theme of freedom, and its adaptability to local history. Darcy Zabel’s new book raises questions about railroads, modernism, and stereotypes.
2005 Hypermasculine Warfare: From 9/11 to the War on Iraq
Francis Shor
IRAQ WAR CULTURE REVIEW. Hypermasculinity has been deeply embedded in the military interventions and war-making encouraged by US imperial policies, especially since the Cold War. As a consequence of the US defeat in the Vietnam War, political and cultural forces aligned with hypermasculinity have undertaken military campaigns intended to demonstrate punitive prowess throughout the world.
2005 Metaphor and Madness: Stacking the Deck on Iraq
Joyce Goggin
IRAQ WAR CULTURE REVIEW. Playing cards have been circulating for a very long time as an effective pedagogical tool and mnemonic device. The Iraqi Most Wanted deck employs game metaphors as a strategic means of describing attacks conducted on Iraq. Politicized use of ‘fun’ game metaphors communicates positive, can-do thinking and masks the real casualties of war.
2005 In the Zone: Margaret Cho Stands Up
Dana Heller
IRAQ WAR CULTURE REVIEW. Margaret Cho is a self-identified “heterophobe” who graciously admits that everything she knows about being a woman she learned from African-American drag queens. Her stand-up comedy is one of many emerging cultural sites where left critique and queer-feminist readings converge in the (re)imagining of post-9/11 American patriotism that defies any reductive, nationalist definition.
2005 American History for Ideologues
Joe Lockard
It's incompetent history. The real question is about the popularity of a book like The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History. Why is a book whose historical narrative is so poor, so inaccurate, and so antagonistic towards racial minorities, also so popular?
2005 Feminist Revolt: Censorship of Women’s Art in Poland
Pawel Leszkowicz
Female artists who critically explore sex and sexuality have been hard hit by censorship in today’s Poland. One of them, Dorota Nieznalska, has been physically assaulted by far-right militia, persecuted, and prosecuted.
2005 Intellectual Freedom and Pat Tillman
John Leanos
IRAQ WAR CULTURE REVIEW. All of the branding, profiting and pro-war usage of Pat Tillman’s image and name are okay as long as they fit into a certain ideological framework that portrays Tillman as a perfect, fixed and untouchable hero. But, as soon as someone comes out and says, “Wait a second. He was killed by ‘friendly fire.’ His death is tragic and revealing of a misguided war on terror”. If this happens, then all hell breaks out.
2005 Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
The movie provided an opportunity to solicit responses on science fiction from my gang of male associates. It was striking how gendered those responses were, yet perhaps in ways specific to 2005.
2005 Walter Benjamin: the Story of a Friendship
The friendship and arguments of two twentieth century European intellectuals are remembered by the one who survived into old age.
 

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