Saturday, November 26, 2011
"Hip hop is America."
--Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; image from
"When the US government loves the same rappers you love, whose interests are those rappers serving?"
--"underground" British rapper Lowkey (Kareem Denis)
Thanksgiving Abroad - Molly Sisson, Public Diplomacy and Student Exchanges: Experiences of American Fulbright Grantees in the UK and Turkey, and their counterparts in the US: "One of the questions I ask the Fulbright students is how the chose to celebrate (or not celebrate) Thanksgiving. It seems pretty innocuous, but their answers really do reveal a great deal about culture learning and mediation. Both Thanksgiving and Bonfire Night come relatively soon after the American students have arrived in the UK, so they present two early opportunities to engage in cultural mediation.
Leveraging Hip Hop in US Foreign Policy - Garrison, anthro-rel-media.blogspot.com: "The State Department began using hip hop as a tool in the mid-2000s, when, in the wake of Abu Ghraib and the resurgence of the Taliban, Karen Hughes, then undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, launched an initiative called Rhythm Road. The programme was modelled on the jazz diplomacy initiative of the Cold War era, except that in the 'War on Terror', hip hop would play the central role of countering 'poor perceptions' of the US. ... Much has been said about the role of hip hop in the Arab revolts. French media described the Arab Spring as le printemps des rappeurs ['The spring of the rappers']. Time Magazine named Tunisian rapper Hamada Ben Amor (aka El General) - a rapper who was arrested by Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali - as one of the '100 Most Influential People of 2011', ranking him higher than President Barack Obama. ... But the role of music should not be exaggerated: Hip hop did not cause the Arab revolts any more than Twitter or Facebook did.
US Hip-Hop Diplomacy "Recovers" in Karachi and No On Stage B-Boying by American Diplomats – Domani Spero, DiploPunDit: “The hip hop group on tour in Pakistan performed in Islamabad, was detained briefly in Rawalpindi, was barred from performing in Lahore (long shadow of Raymond Davis?), then on November 24th, successfully performed at the port city of Karachi. One may be tempted to call this a 50-50 success, given that the group skipped Peshawar (for good reasons), was unable to perform in Lahore (for fuzzy reasons) but did have successful performances in the capital city of Islamabad, and the country's largest city of Karachi. But is the ability to be on stage in two out of four U.S. posts in Pakistan sufficient to gauge the success of this program in a country where anti-American protests and demonstrations have tripled since the beginning of 2011? Probably not. One might wonder at the effectiveness of a program like this since it only reaches the more or less westernized and educated parts of the country as compared to the more rural, less educated, more suspicious variety of the local population. I hope somebody back at State's Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau is looking at the performance metrics of programs like these. On a side note, I am pleased to report that none of our diplomats in Karachi -- not the Consul General or the Public Affairs Officer (PAO) or Cultural Affairs Officer (CAO) went on stage to try their luck with mcing or breakdancing even if it looks like a whole lot of fun.
What price Tesco? - Gary Rawnsley, Public Diplomacy and International Communications: Thoughts and comments about public diplomacy, soft power and international communications: "I have never been a fan of the cultural imperialism thesis. I find it far too simplistic, and my own observations throughout East Asia convince me that global forces will operate alongside local, and that consumers will always prefer local produce provided prices are reasonable and quality/diversity are maintained.
from. See also, John Brown, "Is the U.S. High Noon Over? Reflections on the Declining Global Influence of American Popular Culture," eng.1september.ru (2004)
BBG executives close down Voice of America broadcasting services, pay themselves hefty bonuses - BBGWatcher, BBG Watch: "This report was prompted by the news of the Voice of America Croatian Service being forced off the air and the Internet on the orders of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) officials.
VOA Croatian radio and TV broadcasts and online news content have served an important information and public diplomacy function, representing U.S. views, policies, interests, and concerns while providing current news and analysis from an American perspective. As these BBG bureaucrats undermine critical programs, weaken U.S. public diplomacy media outreach abroad and eliminate American jobs, they collect large salaries and pay themselves hefty bonuses." Image from article
In new pinkwashing recruitment campaign, Israel offers free travel for propaganda services - informeu.com: "The story of the floundering 'Brand Israel' advertising campaign continues. An Israeli government ministry has established a propaganda website called Hasbara.gov.il – a Hebrew word often translated as 'propaganda'. A notice was recently published on the site asking for volunteer 'candidates eligible to conduct public diplomacy activities abroad'. The volunteers 'will not be eligible for any remuneration' apart from 'costs of travel, daily expenses and insurance'. The advert is also the latest episode in Israel’s cynical
See also. Image from
Global affairs magazine Monocle launches Denmark Survey - investineu.com: "At 36-pages in length, the survey covers everything from the nation’s economy, society and transport to culture, architecture, agriculture, retail and urbanism. ... Tyler Brûlé, Monocle’s editor-in-chief, believes that the launch of the survey comes at a time when Denmark has never looked better. 'The nation is a pioneer of sustainable energy and a world leader in architecture and urban planning.
RI to hold fourth BDF despite religious freedom blemishes - Mustaqim Adamrah, The Jakarta Post: "Indonesia will host the Bali Democracy Forum (BDF) next month with Bangladesh as the co-chair. The BDF, scheduled for Dec. 8–9 in Nusa Dua, Bali, is intended to be a venue for government representatives to share their respective countries’ latest democratic developments. 'In the light of how democracy develops in the world today, there is a need for us, governments, to find way to respond to people’s aspirations,' Foreign Ministry director for public diplomacy Kusuma Habir told journalists on Friday."
Homecoming Dresses were choreographic - promdresshut.allmyblog.com: "Undoubtedly, the culture of the modern highly developed society is two opposing flows - the national and global ones that enrich each other. None of the existing and emerging fashionable artificial languages cannot replace the language of art and culture which is the language of a true public diplomacy through which Turkmenistan
speaks easily with the world community advocating for the common humanitarian space, for the dialogue that promotes peaceful development of good neighborly relations, strengthening of mutual understanding between nations and peoples and universal progress." Image from
Republicans: Are Americans Really Exceptional? - Jon Meacham, Time: In the beginning — before the beginning, really — Americans have thought of themselves as exceptional, as the new chosen people of God. Either before departing England or en route aboard the Arabella — it is unclear which; the ship arrived in 1630 — John Winthrop, a layman trained as a lawyer, wrote a sermon entitled “A Model of Christian Charity” in which he said “we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause him to withdraw His present
Hollywood Actors To Visit Israel On A Trip Co-Sponsored By AIPAC - Nora Friedman: Twenty-one high-profile Hollywood actors, producers and film and television industry leaders are taking part in a delegation to Israel organized by The Creative Coalition (TCC), a New York-based arts and education non-profit, in conjunction with the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF), which is affiliated with AIPAC, the US’ most powerful pro-Israel lobby group.
Bahraini King Drops His Propaganda Bomb - hadalzone.blogspot.com: Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa finally received his long-awaited “Independent Commission of Inquiry” (BICI) from war-crimes investigator Cherif Bassiouni. After “surprising” parts of Bahrain’s opposition and many government officials for its “severity,” the report was trumpeted as a sign of the King’s accountability and willingness to reform. He just didn’t know that people were being assaulted or tortured in his kingdom, and will surely rectify the situation now that he does.
Activists send leaflets, socks to N. Korea via air - Yonhap -- A small group of South Korean activists on Saturday sent balloons carrying propaganda leaflets into North Korea, an activity labeled by the North as an attempt to topple its communist regime.
from, with caption: Ave Wornette recently ventured to South Korea, where she picked up, as she calls them, “the Holy Grail of socks.” No further commentary necessary.
India's Zee Entertainment seeks to expand distribution in the United States - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting.
(a) The Sex Addiction Epidemic - Chris Lee, Beast: "An estimated 40 million people a day in the U.S. log on to some 4.2 million pornographic websites, according to the Internet Filter Software Review."
(b) "The government took action and introduced a bill to classify pizza as a vegetable in schools.
-–Talk show host/comic Jimmy Kimmel
(c) Documentaria: Images of America in Crisis in the 1970s - theatlantic.com: As the 1960s came to an end, the rapid development of the American postwar decades had begun to take a noticeable toll on the environment, and the public began calling for action. In November 1971, the newly created Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a massive photo documentary project, called DOCUMERICA, to record these changes. More than 100 photographers were hired not only to document specific environmental issues, but to capture images of everyday life, showing how we interacted with the environment and capturing the way parts of America looked at that moment in history. By 1974, more than 80,000 photographs had been produced. The National Archives has made 15,000 of these images available. Via Boing Boing. Images from entry.
Images from article