They can try to hoodwink the public with press releases declaring their latest fake victory. They can interrupt ballet performances by shouting and blowing bullhorns (and turn the entire audience into Zionists in the process). They can even show up in the comments section of this blog demanding answers to irrelevant questions and never respond when we answer their challenges by smashing their points to bits. But when they start messing with the brand, in the words of my favorite never-say die hero: this means war.
I’m talking, of course, of that maybe-one-day-to-be-slightly-famous poet Remi Kanazi whose latest masterpiece – are you ready for this – is called “Normalize This!” (Gee, I wonder where he got that name from?!)
During the three-minutes and twenty-six seconds needed to complete recitation of this work of (yet more) impenetrable outrage, poet Kanazi somehow manages to pack every cliché that’s ever been written on any anti-Israel web tract, pamphlet, hand-scrawled poster, website, Facebook posting, and Tweet, into a presentation that has more in common with rap video than Emily Dickenson.
During the course of his presentation, artist Kanazi manages to switch t-shirts a half a dozen times, no mean feat for a man allegedly living on the Prison Planet of Palestine. Oh, but wait. It turns out this champion for the underdwellers of the new Warsaw Ghetto of Gaza hails from New York City, which probably makes it easier for him to catch a plane to his various tour dates where he can put on his angry young Palestinian minstrel show before stunned audiences of the like minded.
As I’ve mentioned before, I begrudge no one who has been able to carve out a decent living from the whole anti-Israeli propaganda cornucopia (Lord knows I’ve never been able to pull such a feat off from the other side of the political divide). And while it doesn’t look like Kanazi is doing quite as well as Omar Barghouti (who plays his politics and sells his wares while under the protective umbrella of the Zionists he condemns), Kanazi seems to be making a pretty good run of things.
The only trouble is that – outside of those whose every waking moment is taken up despising the Jewish state – Kanazi’s act is nothing more than a resurrection of the old “People’s Poet” routines we saw 40-50 years ago featuring uncompromising and furious members of some ethnic group who would parade before mostly white audiences declaring their uncompromising fury. The fact that this latest version of the brand looks ready to throw anyone who disagrees with him into a neck-breaking headlock probably only increases the erotic thrill of spending $35 to hear him sneer at and condemn audience members for living in a house half as nice as the one he grew up in.
Unfortunately, this act is so old that parodies of it are at least the same age as the artist himself. And so I leave you with the final word on the subject, the Young One’s 1982 take on “The People’s Poet”: