Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Just an Observation...

Here in America, we’re constantly being told about how backward and oppressed the Arab world is. Women have to wear all-covering clothing, and are imprisoned if they even have a male friend, outside of the family. Rape victims are given jail time. We’re told how they shun the promiscuous and licentious traditions of the Western Hemisphere as evil and democratic elections are one-party popularity contests.

So, today I read this article about a new wave of sexy singers in the Arab world. It talks of the controversy several singers are stirring up in the middle east (which is, of course, otherwise devoid of struggle and controversy). On the heels of that article, I also read this one, about cricket cheerleaders in India.

As I read about it, I find myself thinking dichotomously (is that really a word?). On the one hand, I think it would be good for some of those folks over there to loosen up a bit. Coming from my perspective, it’s a bit tightly wound over there, with a little too much pressure from on top.

On the other hand, look at what they’re asking for. Take a look at the best that American pop culture has to offer: Brittney Spears, Rock of Love, and rap videos.

Yeah! Civilization!

Mark Hansen


  1. While it may be a by tightly wound, as you've stated, historically they've had better marriage success rates and education is actually valued. Of course a deeper look into what constitutes success in marriage is only the divorce rate and not satisfaction in the relationship. Also, education has been primarily for males, as it was 100+ years ago in the West. That being said, your point of civilization's deification of the pop culture icons is truly staggering and worthy to be shunned (maybe the Amish have something there) .

  2. Could be. 'Course, I don't think I could live unplugged. Maybe that's telling me something, too!

  3. Don't forget Paula Abdul. It makes me proud to be civilized.
    OK I couldn't even say that with a straight face.

  4. Actaully, rape victims are typically flogged AND imprisoned. A recent case showed "progress" in Saudi Arabia where the 19 year-old victim of a six-man gang rape's sentence was mitigated from 200 lashes to 53. They are WAY more backward than westerners can even begin to imagine. The 14th century is alive and well in the Middle East

    As for Bahrain, it is typically a target for whining withing the fundamental Islamic community. The joke in the Middle East is: "Bahrain, which is not in the eyes of Allah". So it has a reputation among the Islamic fundies as being wild and heretical. Take such stories from that region about "morality" with big grain of salt. The picture of Ms Wehbe in the BBC article is about as revealing as she gets on stage. She also supports Hizbullah, so I imagine the Sunnis don't mind discrediting her either.

    I was amused at the cricket cheerleaders in India, considering the Hindus created the Kama Sutra.

    I think we should send them Michael Jackson.

  5. Actually, I wouldn't mind sending Michael Jackson or Paula Abdul to any of those places, either!




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