Sunday, May 21, 2006

Shiite's Mighty Mighty - Just Letting It All Hang Out

From ABC:

I have been to Iraq nine times since the American invasion three
years ago, for a total of about 10 solid months. (My wife is counting.) During that time, I have seen bombs and blood, I have seen rebuilding and restructuring, and I have seen death and democracy. So what have I heard? That's easy: Lionel Richie.

Grown Iraqi men get misty-eyed by the mere mention of his name.
"I love Lionel Richie," they say. Iraqis who do not understand a word of English can sing an entire Lionel Richie song.

Who doesn't love Lionel Richie?

Laughable or not, I actually believe that it's cultural permeation that will win us the war in the middle east. Connecting to the peoples of Iraq through such admittedly-silly entry-points as a mutual love for "Say You, Say Me" and "Easy" is going to make our job of democratization, well....easier.

Pop culture isn't just something one uses to sell minivans and soda pop (much as Mtv would like you to believe otherwise). The power of pop is its undeniable ability to cross cultural, ethnic, social and economic barriers to form actual ties between peoples.


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