Whatever Became of Sandmonkey?
In mid-October, the blog “Rantings of a Sandmonkey” disappeared.
There was little fear that he’d been arrested because his Twitterfeed was still active. I got no response from an e-mail, but he Tweeted one follower who asked about the blog to say that it was being “updated.”
And so it was. The “Rantings of a Sandmonkey” blog has been replaced by the web site of Mahmoud Salem–Parliamentary Candidate: http://www.mahmoudsalem.org. Salem is running for the Heliopolis seat, although he is one of many candidates who have suspended their campaigning in support of the current protests.
The blog is still available, or at least parts of it (presumably those that portray him in the best light for his new identity), in an archive on the new site.
But the familiar green logo with tarbush-clad monkeys and Jonny Bravo is gone, replaced by a slick site of black, white, red and silver, as Mahmoud Salem remakes himself from a ranting trickster into a responsible, high-tech politician.
It’s a wise move–I am reminded of William Lloyd Warner’s classic Yankee City studies in one of which he tells the story of a politician who made a political career as a kind of trickster figure representing the common man against the politicians, but could not change his style when he was elected to public office (Warner 1959).
Or maybe it’s just maturity.
Warner, William Lloyd. 1959. The Living and the Dead: A Study of the Symbolic Life of Americans. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Mahmoud Salem did not win his bid for a seat representing Heliopolis in the first round of Egypt’s parliamentary elections, standing in a Cairo district. There’s a great podcast interview with him on the Arabist blog in which he describes his experience campaigning in Cairo, and then serving as an electoral campaign manager in the second round in Suez. He also discusses the most recent clashes between protestors and the army in Tahrir.