Two days ago I spent an entire 24 hour period watching one season of Fox’s program 24 straight through, which basically meant I didn’t sleep for 24 hours. I rented the DVDs because I was giving a talk at Amman Ahliyya University about representations of Arabs and Muslims in the U.S. and I wanted to show a couple clips from season 4. Although I had never watched the program before, I had read quite a bit about it and I wanted to focus on images in popular culture so I rented them. I found the show to be quite well done in many respects. Certainly, it fulfills the generic requirements for a skillful suspense program. You definitely find yourself wanting to root for the protagonist, as Kamran Memon says, but as Memon also remarks, when you’re done watching, you also feel disgusted by the ways in which Muslims are demonized. The owner of the store told me that season 2 has a similar plot line so I may rent that next week.
Last night I went with some friends to see an art exhibit consisting of fifteen Jordanian artists responding to the terrorist bombings a few weeks ago. It was called “Erasing the Black Day” and it was held at one of my favorite galleries in Amman, the Foresight Art Center. It was an interesting concept, though I think a bit premature, as I think most of the time artists need some space for reflection to produce quality pieces responding to particular events. But I think that Amman still needs to create spaces for public grieving and I imagine that this fulfilled that goal. One of the most powerful aspects of the event was the fact that the couple who got married in the Radisson Hotel the night of the attack. The woman donated her veil from the wedding and it was hanging on one of the walls. The gallery used black light and all of the paintings and sculptures were done in white on black backgrounds so they lit up. the one I liked the best was a piece that had many little white bags, made of tool and tied together with a white ribbon and fifty-seven (representing the fifty-seven people who died) little metal balls inside. They were hanging in lines on the black canvas and the artist invited everyone to take a sack for themselves to remember what happened that night. This was very powerful. I wish I had taken photos, but maybe I’ll go back and get some next week.