I've heard at least one person describe her interest in belly dancing as having to do with good exercise, mostly, and a chance to spend some time with the girls -- a tea party, I guess, but one that shapes you up; numerous others have said they do it out of respect for the art form, wanting to participate in it, its traditions, its beauty. I haven't heard anyone admit that they do what this author argues most white people belly dance for -- to enter into the brown body
Postcolonialists will point out that Europeans ascribed the East as home to dangerous luxury: it had deadly powers of allurement. Pictured as one scene, it would be the brothel, the orgy -- or a market place that would undue you with fabrics, colours, and spices: gone is any resemblance to the stalwart knight in you. Just as they imagined nations as bodies, and ascribed their own preferred region as the head or the "lion" heart, the East was under the skirt, with powers easily as considerable ... and to casually undue all the wilful head and stout heart were committed to.
Who would want to empower themselves with a sexed body so powerful the strongest willed become somnambulists to your allure? The answer to this is in how many European kings and emperors kept themselves cold-castled and monastic spartan when the spoils from the east poured their way in, declining golden crowns and purpled fabrics and all tales of Arabia. The answer is in how many women would long to know how to, say, belly dance, so to possess in some part this irresistible power to make men beholden. Atheist intellectuals will show in their choice of this art, in fact, deflating evidence that they still believe in something greater -- magic; maybe a bit, the devil.
Browns are still being poured into, and Orientalism is being reinforced as white woman choose belly dancing as the dance they want to partake in. Because at a subliminal level, they "know" that the history and depth they're being entwined with isn't standard "cultural," some innocuous, harmless, denatured possession of a nation's people; but something vast and wild and mysterious beyond measure. Something deadly. The belly's sway is of the serpent, calling us some place we fear but also want, need, to go.
Richard Brody shared a link.Moderator · November 20 at 3:38pm I'm obsessed with Bringing Up Baby, which is on TCM at 6 PM (ET). It's the first film by Howard Hawks that I ever saw, and it opened up several universes to me, cinematic and otherwise. Here's the story. I was seventeen or eighteen; I had never heard of Hawks until I read Godard's enthusiastic mention of him in one of the early critical pieces in "Godard on Godard"—he called Hawks "the greatest American artist," and this piqued my curiosity. So, the next time I was in town (I… I was out of town at college for the most part), I went to see the first Hawks film playing in a revival house, which turned out to be "Bringing Up Baby." I certainly laughed a lot (and, at a few bits, uncontrollably), but that's not all there was to it. I had never read Freud, but I had heard of Freud, and when I saw "Bringing Up Baby," its realm of symbolism made instant sense; it was obviou…
A Polish zoologist and his wife maintain a zoo which is utopia, realized. The people who work there are blissfully satisfied and happy. The caged animals aren't distraught but rather, very satisfied. These animals have been very well attended to, and have developed so healthily for it that they almost seem proud to display what is distinctively excellent about them for viewers to enjoy. But there is a shadow coming--Nazis! The Nazis literally blow apart much of this happy configuration. Many of the animals die. But the zookeeper's wife is a prize any Nazi officer would covet, and the Nazi's chief zoologist is interested in claiming her for his own. So if there can be some pretence that would allow for her and her husband to keep their zoo in piece rather than be destroyed for war supplies, he's willing to concede it.
The zookeeper and his wife want to try and use their zoo to house as many Jews as they can. They approach the stately quarters of Hitler's zoologist …