Fresh Prince of Richistan Final!

Here’s the link!


For our project we made a parody video showcasing the corruption of the Royal family of Saudi Arabia. Our focus is on an unnamed prince  who lives in complete luxury in a posh SoCal neighborhood.

The aesthetics of an MTV cribs style video in which the host, a prince of Richistahn, walks a camera crew through his alcohol, drug, prostitute, party house of a home. He rides up in his convertible slamming a bottle while sitting on the back of the car driven by two security The scene will open with protesters outside the house. When our prince opens the door the party in full rage mode then move on to several more subtle critiques of the corruption of the ruling class. Our Prince has also has a hot temper and gets pissed out by someone, threatens to kill people if he doesn’t get his way. These include a accidental reveal to a torture chamber, a hot tub made with money in it, a US government official giving the prince a fat check for oil money, and finally an awkward skype call between the prince and his father the King of Richistahn which showcases both the strained relationship between them but the hypocrisy that takes place between his father’s expectations of his son and what is actually taking place.

Challenges: The greatest obstacle we face with these series is production value. Fortunately we already have a house owned by a friend in the Hollywood hills that will serve the purpose for the home of our prince. The real challenge is dressing the set with enough props and extras to sell a party worthy of a Prince. We have a talented crew however with a lot of experience in production and the connections to fill our space convincingly.

2 day shoot.

Brandon- CamOp, Visual Effects


Ivan- production design

Sana- Project manager

Matt Hoge- Director/writer

Alex Amiot- Sound



The Prince of Saudi Arabia fascinated our group; Prince Majid Al-Saud who is the son of the late King Abdullah and who frequently spends a lot of time in his home in Bel-Air. What attracted us to this idea was the irony between Saudi Arabia’s strong Islamic culture and opposition to the idea of Western lifestyle and the Prince’s actions and lifestyle as the exact opposite to the values imposed his country. After making headlines last year about bizarre and troubling accusations including forcing his staff to strip naked in front of his pool, the alleged rape of a housemaid, forcing a man into a gay encounter, threatening to kill certain individuals who refused his sexual demands, and the most recently the chaos of his house parties in Bel-Air that was the scene of many fights as well as significant amounts of cocaine and prostitutes. What made this story even more interesting, is that despite all these offenses and accusations the prince was arrested and acquitted every time because of his financial stature and some of the best representation in L.A.

After reading about many issues in class about digital activism, we sought to create a comedic version of activism by examining a Prince Majid Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia who lives in Bel-Air but we’re choosing to keep anonymous in the video. Our project will consist of one video, a satire comedy. We plan to use the theme song of the show “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and use an actor to portray Prince as Will Smith and have our own lyrics to the theme song sung by the prince. We plan to use a home in L.A for most of the video as well as some shots outdoors to really capture the theme song and to make it as close to the Prince’s lifestyle as possible.

The video will be more of satire comedic spoof very similar to an SNL skit examining the Prince at his home in Bel-Air before and after one of his parties. We plan to use an actor to portray the prince and follow him throughout the video to show what he does during this parties and as well as bringing in some of his craziest behaviors he’s been arrested for.

The video will be around 5-8 minutes long. We expect the shooting days to last no longer than 3-4 days. We also plan to set up shooting sometime next week on February 27th and 28th.

Our group project has significant roles for each group member. Sana and Ivan will be project manager/producer and they are responsible for everything to be on time as far as project schedule and shooting days and finding actors and extras, and will help out in every aspect needed to be filled on the shoot day. Matt and Alexa will be taking on the job as directing, cinematography and camera. While and Brandon will be in charge of editing and sound. Again, our group plans to work together with every job possible to completing the project therefore there will be a lot of overlap and help with each member across the entire project.

We hope after our video is finished it will give students an opportunity to look at a prominent member of the gulf region monarchies and learn that his actions are entirely against the cultural and religious values of his country. It will also allow people to hopefully rethink their opinion about Saudi Arabia in general to know that the country’s laws and principles are very different to what the Saudi people want and addresses the corruption as well as the ironic hypocrisy from the ruling families in the gulf.

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Fresh Prince of Richistan Final!

Saudi Islamists and the Arab Spring

Lacroix’s third section caught my attention the most; entitled “The Re-emgergence of Saudi Constitutional Reformists,” this section names key players in the Arab Spring reformists. I recognized some of the names in the section, including Muhammad Al-Ahmari and Abdallah Al-Hamid, and this is the first time that any of these names or subjects of the class connected between weeks.

Saudi Islamists and the Arab Spring

Digital Space as a New Cultural Institution

Harassmap is employed via social media and accessed through mobile electronic devices as a crowdsourced project that shifts the cultural outlook on sexual harassment in Egypt by providing anti-harassment tools and allowing its users to report harassment occurrences at their disclosure.

Traditionally, institutions control the socio-cultural outlook of a nation; institutions such as religion and government use institutionalized forms of racism, sexism, consumerism, violence and more to shape what a community deems as appropriate or mundane. Especially in contemporary nations, institutions are employed by the bourgeoise to (for lack of a better word) manipulate the community of the proletariat classes (working and middle class).

Harassmap is a model of digital application that combats the traditional employment of cultural institutions by the controlling class; it is an example of the proletariat using digital space as a direct outlet to each other, creating a counter institution to the controlling class.

Chelsea Young attributes this proletariat empowerment to Harassmap’s ‘crowdsource’ nature–-that the application relies on user-generated information for its content. Another example of a crowdsource application is the American (originates in Isreal) mapping application called Waze. Waze relies on its users to generate its maps and mines data from its active users to create hyper-accurate and real-time traffic information; the only non-user-generated content is the platform itself. Harassmap is similar but with a few key differences: first is that Waze is a capitalist endeavor intended on profits and owned by market and digital colossus Google, while Harassmap appears to be a nonprofit activist organization; this marks a clear difference in end-all intention, and access to digital tools. Second, is that Waze is a more pure example of crowdsourcing than Harassmap. Harassmap’s interaction with its user goes beyond their user-generated data; a large chunk of Harassmap’s organization leans on the community outreach aspect of their program, providing counseling and panels in regards to sexual harassment and its prevention through cultural appropriation.

The interaction between Waze users and/or Waze itself is entirely mediated by the mobile application while Harassmap is more concerned with the recruitment of volunteers and the formation of an anti-harassment cultural shift. In this manner, Harassmap employs the digital mediation of their crowdsourced material to bridge the gap between digital space and social space as a cultural institution.

Digital Space as a New Cultural Institution

Beirut Smells Like Butt

The You Stink movement protests the governing of Prime Minister Tammam Salam, who has lead Beirut into a trash crisis of emergency levels. With the closing of Beirut’s only landfill, trash piles up in the streets while politicians are locked in a frozen debate about a new trash solution.

You Stink’s peaceful protests were undercut by other aggressive revolutionists, who conformed with You Stink protestors and turned violent as riot police came to meet them in the streets of Beirut.

One of the captions from the photo journalist article reads:

“Lebanese activists clash with policemen as they try to cross to the government palace during a protest in downtown Beirut on August 23, 2015. Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam hinted Sunday he might resign after violent protests against government corruption and political dysfunction, triggered by a month-long trash crisis in Beirut. Salam also pledged that security forces that used violence against demonstrators would be held accountable.”

One contradiction in Salam’s actions is that his pledge to hold police accountable may not have any political worth if he were to resign. His pledge to hold police accountable for any unwarranted violence appears to be a promising sign of change in favor of the citizen; after all, this crisis is happening now, four years after the Tahrir Square protests that saw the actions of the police go unchecked. But if Salam is not in power, how can the people of Beirut trust that his pledge will stand?

Hopefully in class on Monday we catch up a little more with You Stink and Beirut; I’m interested to see what has unfolded since last August.

Beirut Smells Like Butt

Organized Football Fandom in Egypt and #ElnenySigns


The Ultras

One panelist discussed the the Ultras, the premiere football fandom in Egypt, and their relation to Egypt’s militarized state. In February of 2012, a riot broke out in the Port Said stadium during an Egyptian Domestic League football match, resulting in 73 deaths and 73 trials. The riot began with El Masry (home) fans storming the field and attacking El Ahly (away) players, causing the players to seek refuge in the changing rooms while police attempted to control the riot. Brute force was used by the police and the fans, and in the wake of the riots, Egypt’s domestic league was shut down for two years (which eventually became indefinite). Strict policing of football stadiums was set in place and football fans across Egypt were robbed of their outlet to the game.

Leading up to the Port Said riot, the Ultras played a key role in organized political advocacy and even in rebellious street fights. The group has an immensely creative and efficient system of organization and powerful group protest that derives from the organization and cheering of their football fandom. The Ultras’ organization, rowdiness, and effective crowd-rallying performances made the Ultras a target of the militarized state. The state feared the Ultras for other reasons as well: the Ultras had a great nationalist spirit to them, and their strive for a state of pleasure and fun threatened the military’s idea of Egyptian culture and practices of the state. So, when the Port Said riot occurred, the state capitalized on the opportunity to shut down football in Egypt and attempt to sever the Ultras. Determined to regain the stadiums as public space, the Ultras passionately joined the riots and protests of the militarized state.

The Ultras offer the idea of the “imagined state” to the revolution;  their immense football fandom created an imagined sense of community that connects the fans across Egypt with the management and players of their favorite team in an interactive manner. This ability to imagine an idealized state fuels the revolutionists’ abilities to imagine an improved Egyptian government, with strong and progressive ties between state and civilian.

#Elneny Signs

The Egyptian football league closure resulting from the Port Said riot caused Egyptian football professionals to leave the country and seek other professional leagues to play in. One Egyptian nationalist, Mohammed Elneny, who was a successful Egyptian national player in the U21 division was driven to a Swiss league, where he would go on to win the Swiss Super League with his team three consecutive times. In January of this year, Elneny signed with one of the world’s largest clubs and a major club in the British Premiere League, Arsenal. gun__1452767415_elneny2

Elneny has had a tumultuous journey to success and a $17 million contract with the internationally renowned Arsenal. His resiliency to deal with the Egyptian revolution, having to leave his home country at a young age, and still train to become a successful player is truly astounding. Elneny was able to capitalize on his opportunities, opportunities that hundreds of aspiring Egyptians would answer if not for their governments oppression.

Organized Football Fandom in Egypt and #ElnenySigns

After Tahrir Short Film Festival

My impressions of the After Tahrir Short Film Festival from Sunday are certainly mixed. I’m not sure that ‘film festival’ would be the correct term for the program; instead it felt more like a mixed visual media festival. The festival featured projects that I could not comprehend because of the sanskrit writing and amateur filmmaking.

The most effective projects were Vj_Um_Amel’s glitch art pieces, Linda Herrera’s dry but informative documentary pieces, and Omar Robert Hamilton’s short films. I want to refrain from critiquing the glitch art because I have little to no experience with the art form, but without a pre-existing knowledge of sanskrit and the figureheads in the piece, I could not comprehend what the pieces were trying to achieve. Linda Herrera’s documentaries were informative and I could understand the bits of Egyptian history and political turmoil being discussed by the two intellectuals, but the poor editing and camera work  drastically undercut the film’s content.


Omar Robert Hamilton’s films were the most engaging and informative by far; his piece on Maspero contains the most shocking imagery I’ve ever seen. The first person accounts combined with actual footage of the military running over civilians was gut-wrenching. Hamilton’s Maspero piece defined what we mean when we talk about military and police brutality; that imagery depicts the severe and utterly devastating nature of the Egyptian military’s treatment of Egyptian citizens.


After the festival, I find myself more curious about the militarization of Egypt and rallying for Egyptian revolution because I have seen how they’ve struggled beyond the generic “upper class oppressing the lower class” types of arguments. I am also anxious to learn more about glitch art because I really don’t understand most of what I saw at the festival.

After Tahrir Short Film Festival

Perspectives on Tahrir: Gender and Generation

Youth and Citizenship in the Digital Age: A View from Egypt by Linda Herrera

It had not occurred to me that a generational analysis of the activism in Egypt around the January 25th revolt would yield interesting results. Linda Herrera’s research of youth activism in Egypt against generational studies on the “Wired Generation” (one of many definitions of what we more commonly refer to as “Millennials”) provides powerful insight into the demise of Egypt’s revolution: leading research suggests that the wired generation excels in collaboration and horizontality and lacks in longevity and deep/critical thinking. Herrera suggests that the Egyptian revolution around January 25th mirrors these generational characteristics. Where the significance of January 25th arises in part from the communication and collaboration of the wired generation, it quickly lost steam from a lack of long-term planning or establishment of any political foundations beyond Mubarak’s resignation.

Feminist Insurrections and the Egyptian Revolution by Paul Amar

Amar’s arguments around combatting hypervisibility creates an interesting discourse when contrasted against last week’s reading from Distorting Digital Citizenship. Citizenship discusses how Khaled Said’s martyrdom flattened his character in the public eye; Amar argues that this is an issue of hypervisibility that must be combatted by the construction of one’s respectability in order to preserve the dynamic and ‘human’ elements of an activist or a movement. Adversely, Citizenship argues that Khaled Said’s martyrdom flattened down issues of youth revolving around Said from a spectrum down to police brutality; with its argument of gender issues in Egypt that have some claim in the January 25th revolution, Amar’s article reveals that the Tahir occupation was not affected by the flattening hypervisibility of Said’s martyrdom. The occupation may have polarized towards police brutality protests, but they did not dominate the academic sphere.

Project Pitch:

For my final project i want to make a film remake of a Portlandia skit from season five episode one (entitled Fourth of July BBQs). In the skit, Fred and Carrie find that they have way too many barbecues to attend on the 4th of July, so they create a schedule where they go to each barbecue for 15 minutes. Fred has issues leaving without saying goodbye, so Carrie goes alone to the barbecues as scheduled while Fred struggles to keep up. I want to shift it into a light that highlights the argument that an excess of social media platforms dilutes the efficiency of social media and could be a reason why the Egyptian revolution has faltered since 2011.

In my version, Fred and Carrie (I would change the names) would check all of their social media apps and see that they have too many social activist protests or demonstrations to attend, so they plan to spend fifteen minutes at each one. Fred would have difficulty leaving the first one after he feels like he hasn’t actually supported the demonstration’s cause, so Carrie leaves him behind in order to stay on schedule. By the end, Fred would stop caring about social activism, catch up to Carrie, and they would go home and do something recreational. The film would argue that an influx of social media platforms for social activist organization creates an effect of hypervisibility where citizens are dissuaded to make a social impact because they are constantly bombarded with calls for action via social media as well as invitations to new social media platforms with the incentive of activist connectivity.

Perspectives on Tahrir: Gender and Generation

The Costs of Change and the Fall of a Martyr

David Faris, We Are All Revolutionaries Now: Social Media Networks and the Egyptian Revolution

Faris focuses on the many aspects of cost attributed to activism, and how social media networks affect those costs. The monetary cost of organizing and participating in an activist movement is dramatically decreased by social media networks, where an organizer no longer needs to print and distribute their information or schedule physical meetings. With the low participation cost that social media provides to activists, there is less of a boundary to keep people from joining a movement. The argument against the decreased monetary cost is that their will be less of a commitment amongst activists if they have less invested in their work, but the gains of social media is worth the possible cost in loyalty.

Additionally, Faris’ term “many-to-many communication” describes the characteristic of social Media Networks where leaders or organizers can briskly communicate with their partakers and evade government officials. “many to many communication” also incorporates the concept that members of each other’s social networks can communicate with each other and follow on another’s activity (in relation to their shared movement or in general); this helps build digital trust, which is crucial in governments where potential costs to activism stray beyond money and into prison sentences, death threats, and more. Trust and transparency amongst a group of activists motivates those who would be afraid to protest in to taking action because the oppressive institutions have a tougher time penetrating and dismantling activist groups when each person is somewhat aware of what significant things happen to every other individual of their movement.

Social media makes activism cheaper, more efficient, and more dynamic than previous activism that relied on more physical, indirect, expensive, vulnerable forms of protest and activism.

Continue reading “The Costs of Change and the Fall of a Martyr”

The Costs of Change and the Fall of a Martyr