October 15, 2012

Arab in McCloud's Armerica

            While reading Arab in America I used a lot of McCloud’s techniques. Being from Greek descent a lot of my family hails from the eastern portion of Greece on an island that mirrors the coast of Turkey. With that being said, growing up I experienced not as harsh but similar discrimination to Toufic’s character, either at school or with childhood acquaintances. While traveling in airports right after 9/11, my father and I have been selected on multiple occasions for “random” security checks. When I was younger much of this went over my head and I did not understand what was going on. My father always seemed restless and annoyed when situations like this would happen but he never told me why. It was not until later that I was able to reflect on the possibility that the TSA was selecting us out of the crowd on account of our darker skin. I understand that percussions must be made in a time of danger, but to me there was a level of ignorance in discerning against people who might look Middle Eastern.

It had never occurred to me that comic book writers have been using the amplification through self-identification technique for years. Perhaps the reason I was self identifying with Toufic’s character while reading was because I was projecting my own experiences into the comic. By giving the characters in the comic little facial detail the reader is able to project themselves into the scenarios more easily. McCloud grabbed my attention when he spoke of “words are totally abstract icons”, the article or comic becomes further engaging when you have the audiences attention. Each individual image may or may not create separate meanings for the reader.
El Rassi simplifies certain character images, but makes sure to detail political figures or media flashbacks to cultivate the audiences attention. So the reader can apply their own experiences to what was happening in their lives during that time.
If McCloud is correct the audience will always try and find some form of relation between the image and themselves. 

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