Saturday, January 24, 2004

A few people have asked me about my impression of the “Snow White” piece as brilliant. It’s hard to give a verbal description of an emotional impression, but I’ll try.

My first encounter of Feiler’s piece was in the form of a verbal description of it. I didn’t see it straight away, but when I read that he had equated Jaradat with Snow White I was immediately struck by the image. I could envision the photograph clearly in my mind. Of course! Snow White! Why hadn’t I seen that before?

That photograph of Jaradat is a very striking one. There is something unreal about it, unnatural. It’s not only strange visually - the unnatural coloring, the bright red lips, white face and jet-black hair/scarf, but also in the conflicting message it conveys - the curious contrast between the modest scarf of an obedient daughter of Islam and the slutty, inviting red lips.

Have you ever thought about why the Wicked Queen should see fit to banish the young princess? The Queen was queen, after all, because she was married to the girl’s father, the King. Could she have possibly seen the child as a threat to her relationship with the King? Was there something incestuous going on? Maybe Snow White was not so snow white after all?

That’s as far as my impression of the actual interpretation of Jaradat as Snow White. Once I got round to actually seeing a photo, and later a video of the piece, I was impressed with the powerful image of all that bright red water. This is, again, an unreal, unnatural image. Blood is red only until it coagulates. Then it is black. And a real pool of blood would not be evenly red. It would be patchy.

The red of the water in the pool complements the red of Jaradat’s lips. Water is a symbol of femininity, red water – even more so. The image is about strong, sexual femininity. The boat doesn’t fit in with this image of strength. It is weakness, lack of control. Nothing about Jaradat conveys weakness.

But this isn’t Jaradat’s blood, the discharge of her menstrual cycle, is it? It’s the blood of her victims, maybe also of her brothers, all mixed together, to create a clear, beautiful sheet of red. Terrible. Horrifying. Monstrous. Snow White the monster.

How deep is the pool? I find myself asking myself.

* * * *

I have more to say, but I’m tired of it. The bottom line, first emotional gut reactions aside, is that it justifies terrorism. It's horrible and it makes me feel sick.

Judith says it’s frozen over anyway. Hmmm.

She also links to a Jpost article that calls Ambassador Mazel’s act a work of political art. Hmmm.