Thursday, July 1, 2004

The bigger they are...

the harder they shimmy.

It's a sign of real liberation that Iraqis are increasingly buying these little dancing Saddam Hussein dolls. A tryant's shadow is waning. I'm reminded of seeing Lenin's statue being toppled when the USSR caved in, or of sections of the Berlin Wall being hammered down in November 1989. Now, I know there was footage of a big Hussein statue being torn down; but this doll captures our present Zeitgeist so much better.

Fifteen years ago, it meant something, it had real old-fashioned symbolic meaning, to tear down a leader's monument. Now, however, the best way to signal a political change is to look at what kids are buying. The world is moving ever-faster towards total commodification -- total "for-sale-ability" -- marketing everything from frozen embryos to oxygen naps. These days, driven by our commodifying Zeitgeist, we know a leader is ousted, not when we see his likeness in ruins, but when we see it for sale on the shelf. Saddam is gone; his downfall is mere ideological chattel afloat on the free market.

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