January 26, 2011

Tiger Hostility (Or: A Swipe at the Read Chinese)

I can’t help wondering if this cover is less about “tough love meets Dr. Spock” than it is about immigrant bashing and a back-handed swipe at China. Sure, Amy Chua was born and raised in the U.S., but the cover and the parenting controversy, as named (compared to, and evocative of the domestic-brand “soccer moms”), is all too focused on an “imported” child-rearing ethic.

Focusing on the image, the outsized “Tiger” seems as much to symbolize an authoritative and dominating (geopolitical) regime, the scale, pose and expression of the child serving as a corresponding amplifier for various associations and memes, such as: we’re trying/appealing but not being recognized; we’re being schooled, we’re being abused, we’re being turned into little girls.  There is also more aggression built-in here than one would assume on first pass, the composition not just reflecting an impersonal monolith but also the cutting off of its head.

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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