Magazine article New Internationalist

Pop without Frontiers

Magazine article New Internationalist

Pop without Frontiers

Article excerpt

In the age of globalization and post-globalization and post-postglobalization (which is sort of like post-globalization but the postal service has been re-privatized), is there a more potent symbol of our interconnectedness than the phenomenon that is pop?

For example, in almost every culture there is some equivalent of the weenie boy band from Essex singing sickly sweet pop ballads to thousands of besotted 12-year-old girls screaming all over the country.

Some pundits are already declaring Iraq officially 'free' after the launch of the first ever Pop Idol show in the country (despite there being hardly any women contestants and of those, some are being harassed and threatened). Iraq Star was watched by nearly 60 per cent of the country and has quickly become a national obsession, as it has just about everywhere else. 'Most of the singers aren't that good,' viewer Seif Makki keenly observed.

However, some repressive regimes are determined to stem this tide of obvious social progress by brutally clamping down on such lollipop acts, much to the dismay of their producers such as pop overlord Pete Waterman. …

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