Sheikhs Batmobile: In Pursuit Of American Pop Culture In The Muslim World

Paperback | March 24, 2009

byRichard Poplak

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What happens to our pop culture when it meets another culture head-on—especially one that according to some is completely at odds with our own?

In The Sheikh's Batmobile, pop-cultural commentator Richard Poplak sets out on an unusual two-year odyssey. His mission is to see what becomes of his, and North America's, obsessions—pop songs and sitcoms, Hollywood movies and shoot-em-up video games, muscle cars and punk music—when they make their way into the Muslim world.

Over the course of his journey, Poplak is body slammed by WWE fans in Afghanistan, hangs out with hip-hop artists in Palestine, head bangs to heavy metal in Cairo, discovers a world of extreme makeovers in Beirut, bowls with the chief of police in small-town Kazakhstan, and encounters a mysterious Texan building rocket-propelled batmobiles for a clientele of sheikhs.

With uproarious humour and   keen cultural insight, Poplak asks some vital questions: How is American pop culture consumed and reinterpreted in the Islamic world? What does that say about how we are viewed by young Muslims? And can Homer Simpson bridge the differences that are tearing our world apart?

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From the Publisher

What happens to our pop culture when it meets another culture head-on—especially one that according to some is completely at odds with our own? In The Sheikh's Batmobile, pop-cultural commentator Richard Poplak sets out on an unusual two-year odyssey. His mission is to see what becomes of his, and North America's, obsessions—pop songs...

Richard Poplak was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1973 and immigrated to Canada with his family in 1989. A co-founder of the successful Canadian music label 2wars & A Revolution Records, Richard is also a trained filmmaker and has directed numerous music videos, earning five nominations at the 2005 MuchMusic Video Awards. Richa...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:408 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:March 24, 2009Publisher:Penguin CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0143056557

ISBN - 13:9780143056553

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Customer Reviews of Sheikhs Batmobile: In Pursuit Of American Pop Culture In The Muslim World

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fascinating and insightful The first thing I look for in a non-fiction book that I'm reading for fun is an interesting premise. Here's a great example from the back cover of "The Sheik's Batmobile". "What happens to our pop culture when it meets another culture head-on - especially one that, according to some, is completely at odds with our own?" I'll tell you what happens, with some decent and thoughtful writing, you get a great book. The title grabbed me right away, so I picked it up, read the back cover, muttered "huh!" and was sold. As an afficionado of pop-culture, the idea of a Sheikh and his Batmobile was pretty much impossible to resist and Poplak does a great job with a tricky and interesting subject. Writing as a bit of an outsider (I'll be reading his "Ja, No, Man: Growing Up White in Apartheid-Era South Africa), he's got a unique and fascinating perspective. Like me, he grew up loving North American culture in all it's wacky forms. Unlike me, he was growing up an othodox Jew in SA, hence, the unique perspective. He's got a great turn of phrase, but what really made the book for me is his curiousity. The guy just wants to know things, he craves understanding. And quite frankyl, seeking out incongruity is a great way to do that, as well as a killer literary device. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2010-01-18

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Editorial Reviews

"A heroic feat of research, analysis, and on-the-ground reportage. ... It's a weird, wonderful world where ... pop is revered and high and low culture freely mingle. ... The Sheikh's Batmobile should shatter the Western stereotype of the Muslim world as repressive and stagnant."—Jason McBride, Quill & Quire"I would read Poplak if he wrote about watching paint dry. He is a gifted addition to the exploding and increasingly sloppy literary non-fiction genre. Dark, funny, self-deprecating and poetic, Poplak is a punk Graham Greene. ... [He has] complete authority as an outsider absorbing American culture."— Mary-Lou Zeitoun, Globe and Mail