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The Sobky Recipe and the Struggle over "the Popular" in Egypt

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In Ramadan 2013, the young anchor and comedian Akram Hosny hosted a satirical television show called Wasim Hudhud on the Egyptian satellite channel Dream 2. The thirty-episode series had an original premise: in 2053, a sixty-two-year-old historian named Wasim Hudhud narrates a program that describes the state of Egypt in 2013 to the young generation. The episodes covered a wide range of themes, including education, religion, sports, domestic politics, and international relations. Part of the show’s comedic effect came from imagining what would have happened if the Muslim Brotherhood had remained in power until 2053. The show was filmed prior to the 4 July 2013 military coup, in which the minister of defense, Gen. ‘Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi, deposed the Brotherhood-affiliated president Muhammad Mursi after a wave of protests. There was no end in sight to the Mursi presidency at the time of filming, and the show imagines that the country’s plight would worsen dramatically over time. Exemplifying this satirical decline, the twenty-fifth episode began with a monologue explaining that the entertainment venue known as a “Sobky” was once called a movie theater, suggesting that all theaters were, unfortunately, showcasing Sobky movies by 2053.



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Arab Studies Journal

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