July 23, 2010 - Bidoun - Issue 21: Bazaar II now available
July 23, 2010

Issue 21: Bazaar II now available

Issue 21: Bazaar II now available

In the marketplace of ideas, there are no figures so sad, yet so hopeful, as mid-list authors pushing not-so-recently published books.
Gary Dauphin, “Have Pamphlet, Will Travel”

BAZAAR: a theme so nice, we used it twice.

Last issue, Bidoun delved into the business of the art world, a somewhat rarified realm, with its auctions and parties and oh-so-critical discourse. This time we wanted to get our hands dirtier. Mucky, even. So one thing we did was seek out the details — good, bad, and gory — of how work works. What the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is doing for beauty salons in America. How the protests in Thailand have affected red-dye manufacturers in Karachi. Why the Iraq War has been a bonanza for health clubs in occupied Baghdad.

The whole BAZAAR business originated on a trip to Dubai, the Las Vegas of the Middle East. Or rather, a trip to the Las Vegas of the Las Vegas of the Middle East. At the Indian mall in the down-market Karama district, the prime real estate belongs to Las Vegas Fashion LLC, a clothing store whose windows are lined with bedoo-rag’d mannequins in b-boy poses. Fittingly, Adham Alshorafa, the man behind Las Vegas, is the subject of one of the fifteen profiles, interviews, and as-told-to accounts that comprise our portfolio, How’s Business — along with a hash-dealing ex-cop in Cairo, a scrap metal recycler in Bangalore, a defense contractor in Kandahar, and many more stories from the annals of globalization.

The globe itself is the canvas for Simon Anholt, the reluctant magician of nation branding. In “Your Brand Is My Brand,” Babak Radboy considers the feedback loop that powers the multimillion dollar business of national identity. Bonus: a ragtag team of amateur nation branders examine brands from across the Bidounosphere, asking the age-old question, “Is that an atom hovering over the I in Israel?”

There are more and more reporters who have no experience covering war, much less participating in it… I can’t blame the reporters for being naive. I blame the editors for sending them over in the first place… Are you going to send someone with a BA in literature to interview the mechanic at a nuclear power plant, when they don’t know a piece of wood from a piece of coal? It’s the same thing with conflict reporting.
Lt. Col. Robert K. Brown, publisher of Soldier of Fortune

In the Magazine Bazaar, we discuss the business and pleasure of being a niche magazine, with a quartet of trade publications servicing mercenaries, utility contractors, haunted house owners, and disgruntled artists.

Now people write to ask me for permission to write about Africa. Be frank, they say, be candid… It’s almost a sexual thing. They come crawling out of the unlikeliest places, looking to be whipped. I am bad, Master Binya, beat me. Oh!… They seem quite disappointed when I don’t. Once in a while I do, and it feels both good and bad, like too much wasabi.
—Binyavanga Wainaina, “How to Write About Africa II: The Revenge”

Plus: Binyavanga Wainaina on becoming spam. Fatima Al Qadiri on ill-gotten goods. Indie-rock, Iranian style with Hypernova. Gary Dauphin on the prehistory of infotainment. Kaelen Wilson-Goldie on the enigmatic art of Mohamed Soueid. The wit and wisdom of the 1982 Kuwait stock market crash. And so on.

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