Category Archives: Curating the Internet

Web Curation: An Exchange on Iron Man & Assumptions

One of the many, many wonderful things about Badass Digest is how the site demonstrates how, if properly curated, a comments section can make for as good a read as the article itself.

Case in point: this brilliant exchange between commenters ‘rubi-kun’ & ‘fursa_saida’, on how the Iron Man series expresses a general lack of thought about the portrayal of its Middle Eastern/Central Asian subject matter (EDIT: Afghanistan is not in the Middle East and indeed, the problem here is that those two very different regions have been conflated), and in doing so, reinforces a false (and to certain extent, damaging) Western view of an area of the world long-misunderstood.

Here’s the list of comments

Just goes to show – ignorance perpetuates itself, if not corrected.

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Curated – ‘Empire and the Liberation of Veiled Women: Lutz & Collins’ by Maximillian Forte

Sometimes I feel like a more general version of Fallout 3’s narrator, endlessly drawling “Stuff. Stuff never changes.”

Case in point: this article, which addresses what seems to be a fundamental aspect of Western foreign interference – the justification of meddling in foreign countries by the touted aim of protecting women and raising them from subjugation. With direct efficiency it reveals how this rhetoric has been in use since there was a need to justify European imperialism abroad, and the value of the emotive appeal appears to be such that it is still being used to justify our modern Afghan adventuring. What’s thoroughly depressing about all this is that, even though 2 centuries have gone by, that rhetoric remains as completely hypocritical as ever.

Still, it would be wrong to succumb to a vision of a present dominated by the past. Things do change – not much and not quickly, but they do. Established norms may be so deeply entrenched in the way we think that today’s counterinsurgents deploy strategies invented over a century ago by French imperialists, but that does not make them incontestable. 600 years ago usury was a sin, only practised in London by a foreign minority (Lombard Street was named for these Italian pioneer-bankers). Now it’s the basis of the city’s (and by proxy, Britain’s) whole economy. It takes a lot to break mankind’s train of thought, but it’s possible, and given the type of norms we’re currently saddled with, worth any effort to do.

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Curated – ‘Baghdad, Utopia’ by Mend Mariwany

‘Onlookers might see the exile as exotic, as if displacement were a charming aesthetic effect. As if all the exile wants is for memory to be satisfied by its physical object, home. But in exile you never just remember Baghdad, you think with Baghdad. Your multiple lives, here and there, negotiate with and challenge one another. It isn’t the geographic “here” that determines your life, but neither is it the “there” of memory. Exile reveals the map to be the real fantasy. The multiple and concurrent places you’re in — the here, the liminal in-between, the feeling of “elsewhere” — all battle for supremacy. You’re a mirage, or a horizon.’

The great unsolved problem of the volume of content on the Internet is that beauty is often a trait of fragments, and these are too easily lost within the mass of online words. Well, in this small net-corner I’m going to try to preserve some bits and pieces, starting with the above paragraph. I’m currently thinking a lot about diaspora and identity, thanks to writing projects conducted within university and without, and these words from Mend Mariwany perfectly articulate the experience of diaspora that I intend to build characters on. You can read the full article by following the link below:


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