Explosions in Middle East Pop Culture

Two very well-read articles were brought to my attention today, both published in the relatively new World Politics Watch online daily.

Guy Taylor writes of an intense interest in pop culture and reality TV in the face of bombing in Lebanon. He alludes specifically to Star Academy, the Lebanon Broadcasting Corp.’s reality show/contest now in its 3rd season and Super Star, a show allegedly based on the British show Pop Idol.

I heard a song on some NPR program yesterday, can’t seem to dig it up via search, but it was a Palestinian song with words altered in support of Hezbollah / Nasrallah and I can?t get it out of my head. According to Al Jazeera, the number one hit song of the summer on the streets of Ramallah has been “The eagle of Lebanon,” a tribute to Nasrallah. Good chance it can be heard on any of these Gaza/West Bank-based online radio stations.

Juliette Terzieff provides an in-depth update on the latest in Iraqi reality TV. Despite the hundreds of billions of dollars spent by the U.S. on transplanting notions of Western democracy on the Iraqi public, ?it has been the localized versions of “American Idol” and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” that captured the hearts and minds of Iraqis.” Programs including “Construction Contract,” “Fame or Fortune” and “Congratulations!” are aired regularly on Al Sharqiya TV (watch live), a privately owned satellite-based channel.

My question is, when is Murdoch going to announce an initiative to penetrate the markets with his monster MySpace social network?

Here’s 15 minutes of “Star Academy.” More video clips can be found at Yahoo! Video.

Thanks to John Brown for passing along info on these two articles.

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