‘Sorry to Bother You’: Boots Riley’s Trojan Horseplay
Acting white is the premise of Boots Riley’s raucous new film, Sorry to Bother You. What tumbles forth from this premise is a wild, campy romp. Indeed, smuggled inside Riley’s rollicking mashup of surrealism and sci-fi is a cutting critique of race and class.
July 21, 2018
The Putin Puppet Master
Vladislav Surkov’s obvious pranking over the authorship of Almost Zero brings to mind what the filmmaker Adam Curtis sees as a feature of Surkov’s political tactics—to act in a deliberately contradictory way so that “no one was sure what was real or fake.”
January 22, 2018
When Satire Conquered Iran
Published between 1906 and 1930, the satirical Azeri magazine Molla Nasreddin attacked the hypocrisy of the Muslim clergy, the colonial policies of the US and European nations, and the venal corruption of the local elite, while arguing repeatedly for Westernization, educational reform, and equal rights for women. Managing to speak to the intelligentsia as well as the masses, the magazine was the first publication of its kind to be read across the Muslim world. Iran was arguably the country where it had its greatest impact: its essays and illustrations acted as a preamble of sorts to the Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 1906-1910, which resulted in the establishment of the first parliament in all of Asia.
September 18, 2012