A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

I love Mango: Butters on the Lebanese I Love Life campaign

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on January 20, 2007

Andrew Butters, an acquaintance of mine, has been in the region for years, covering Iraq and, more recently, Lebanon and Syria. His articles used to be too sarcastic for my taste, but his coverage of the summer war for Time was superb. He has found his voice, and it is an excellent one, exchanging sarcasm for a sardonic wit that engages readers while serving to make a larger point.

Time must agree: they have given him a headlining role in the magazine’s Middle East Blog.

Butters’ post yesterday evening on Friday prayers and the very thoughtful khutba delivered at the Omari mosque downtown was an eye-opening piece on Sunni anxieties regarding their future here and abroad: Islamic New Year.

My favorite of his posts, hands down, was published mid-week – a delightfully witty commentary on the “I Love Life” campaign titled Poster Politics. Several journalists have described the campaign and the opposition’s riposte, which echoes the original but adds comments like “in all its colors”, “with heads held high” [bi-rasna marfu3a], and “undictated. Butters went further, commenting on other opposition posters as well as the anti-opposition jpgs that made their way around the internet in early December.

He ends by turning to another poster – one of the new Milla Jovovich for Mango billboards – and returns in another vein to a theme he developed first in a piece for the New Republic last spring: Oriental Sexpotism, a reflection on his interview with Haifa Wehbe. Then as now, his solution for Lebanon is at once cynical and profoundly creative: embrace the women on whose bodies Lebanese men (particularly, but not exclusively, Christian) have staked claims to the country’s difference from its neighbors. Bravo.


2 Responses to “I love Mango: Butters on the Lebanese I Love Life campaign”

  1. kblogid said

    Some times you have to be a little sarcastic in the face of the media blitz from both sides:

    Check http://ilebanon.wordpress.com for an I Love Life competition

  2. Karim your site is fantastic. I love the latest (Noise Pollution, 2.27.07) especially. I am adding you to my blogroll – I can’t wait to see what new “I’m staying here”/”I’m not staying here” boards your readers submit!

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