October 14, 2012

What was our role?


Upon reading “Arab In America” I was left with a few questions. In Arab in America, Toulif decides to make himself distinguishable from the other children in his drawings by putting them as a-typical looking children but giving himself stubble and chest hair. This raised the question as to who his targeted audience really was. I found issue with this because in Ong’s “The Audience Is Always Fictive,” Ong states, “Readers did not have special roles to play or that authors did not have their own problems in devising an signaling what the roles were” (page 15).

So if Ong believes that the author struggles to cast their readers in roles, did Toulif have the same problem? Was he trying to cast us in the role of understand what it was like to be an Arab or was he asking us to be ourselves--which is not an Arab in America. This perplexed me. I could understand him differentiating himself but to a point. I thought it might have been a polarizing move because some Arabs wouldn’t identify as being so different from other Americans like Toulif does. 

Also, in McCloud, he states “but as resemblance varies, so does iconic content” (page 27). I found this to be completely fascinating because I wonder where along the line in our society did we decide that facial hair=another ethnicity or race. Sure, I’m not Arab, but I probably had some facial hair when I was in middle school. This was just the most complex, interesting part of this piece for me because I could not get past the author distinguishing himself from other Americans through facial hair. I wonder when did this iconic difference in features really take shape in our society.

1 comment:

Bridgette Balderson said...

I agree with what you're saying about the whole facial hair thing. Yeah, why does El Rassi put so much of his identity as an Arab because he has a beard? How does the fact that he has a beard "obviously make him the target of much ridicule among my white, rosy-cheeked peers" (p.5) Obvious to whom? What exactly is supposed to be obvious? Why isn't this notion obvious to me?
Could it be that El Rassi inadvertently stereotyped himself? Yes, some ethnicities are more likely to have different characteristics different from each other, but at the end of the day it's genetics.

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