Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Bride of Frankenstein Goes to Cairo: A Final Note on the Egyptian Revolution

     Some final comments on the Egyptian revolution, and then I'll get back to blogging about what really matters:

First, much has been made of Egypt's plugging up of the intertubes, especially considering certain WikiLeaked cables that turned up on the brink of the uprising which documented the U.S.'s seemingly contradictory investments in the region.  It would appear that blacking out the net is a fool's errand as it only made the revolt more visible on the global stage.  The hundreds of thousands of protesters on the streets of Cairo hardly needed a weatherman to know which way the wind was blowing, and the seeming impossibility of shutting down the single site, WikiLeaks, casts serious doubt upon the capacity to enact any substantial web-based censorship on a global scale.

      Now, about those contradictory investments of the U.S.  WikiLeaks released two sets of cables which depict the U.S. in a somewhat non-monogamous relationship with the Mubarak regime.  The first cables seemed to indicate that Mubarak and Obama were bffs, but a subsequent document suggested that the U.S. actually provided assistance to rebel forces.  So what's the deal, Obama.  As Randall once advised Dante, "Don't pine for one and fuck the other."  Actually, I'm guessing the U.S. was probably playing the old game of "subversion and containment," attempting to "destabilize and reform" the Egyptian government in the grand tradition of shock doctrine capitalism.  But the stammering and stuttering of Gibbs and Clinton suggest that the U.S. is feeling every bit the melancholic and anxious Dr. Frankenstein, regarding with great apprehension the "monster" he had deluded himself into thinking he's created and can now control.

     Or perhaps a better analogy is Wale's The Bride of Frankenstein since, in allegedly backing certain rebel forces, the U.S. seems to have wanted to create a softer, kinder monster, to befriend the lumbering oaf of a dictator that was Mubarak.  And we all know how that plan played out:

Indeed, given the important role that women appear to have played in the Egyptian revolution, the comparison with The Bride seems fitting:
Monstrous Refusals
A successful revolution in Egypt will be properly monstrous, and it will reject its marriage, arranged by the West, with that other 30-year-old monster that is neoliberal Egypt.  This new monstrous bride upon the streets of Cairo -her fidelity will lie elsewhere, in an out-place that has yet to be named.  It will exist as long as it issues its impossible demand and as long as it refuses any pre-engineered fate in the shape of "reform."

       Secretary of State, Clinton has said, "We want to see an orderly transition so that no one fills a void, that there not be a void, that there be a well-thought-out plan that will bring about a democratic participatory government."  It is precisely the void that terrifies the West, the void, perhaps, of an open mouth emitting a scream of protest.

1 comment:

  1. This is totally bait, right? In posing one of the best films ever made as an extended metaphor, you were trying to draw me out. Right? Of course, I get so focused on the narrative of the one, that I kind of lose touch with the analogy you're making. I'm really surprised, though, that you don't mention the fate of the "Bride" in Shelley's novel. So.... If the U.S. is Victor and Mubarek is the hideous issue of our filthy workshop of creation, then either the revolution will burn itself alive or we will rip it to pieces and bury it at sea.