Mid Summer Blues
I'm not in the mood to think let alone write about a serious topic. I've been uninspired for a fortnight which is only normal for this time of the year. I suppose that the heat influences me in a similar way menstruation affects women. Sluggish, exasperated, blotchy and cranky I feel. You might wonder why in the hell I'm blotchy. Well, it's the closest phonetically similar adjective I could conjure to bitchy without threatening my masculinity. Accordingly, I've been feeling very blotchy lately.
With that in mind, it's next to impossible to see or conjure beautiful images. Even while lying down at a perfectly appropriate low vantage point on a sandy beach, watching a heavenly flock of bikinied chicks passing by, my sight is inevitably raped by the swarms of balding, pot-bellied, ugly and hairy men roaming the seaside. I’m doomed.
Less than a year ago the entire Arab World was experiencing a phenomenon called Bab Al-Hara. The 30-episode Ramadani Syrian TV drama won every conceivable critical acclaim and popular accolade. It tells a story of a Damascene neighborhood under the French occupation between the two world wars. Even our bitter neighbors, the Israelis initiated an unprecedented research on the possible causes and plausible effects of this series runaway and huge success. They arguably were worried about the well-liked demeanors of Abu Issam and Abu Shehab and the underlying message of the show. The remote chance that their worst fears could come true loomed ominously in their dark horizon. Could the Arabs, God Forbids (not our Allah but their real Lord), ever unite and rally together behind a potential Abu Shehab one day. That will be either the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning of Western civilization, they fathomed. And, they were worried. Little did they know that come summer their worst fears would prove nothing but grossly exaggerated and unfounded presumptions.
Arabs, all of them, are experiencing a new and even more admirable sensation, the 150-episode Turkish TV series Gumus, a soap opera about the daily lives and affairs of a wealthy family in modern secular Istanbul. The name has been changed to Nour in the mega hit Arabicized version. It has been dubbed in Shami Arabic (Damascene accent) and the net effect is stupendous. Never in the history of drama, never under the influence of any culture or civilization or of their total absence, never had a work of genius or of idiocy (including but not limited to all established religions) affected millions in such a short span like Nour did. Men, balding, pot-bellied, ugly and hairy are falling in love with Mohanad the leading male character, played by Kivanç Tatlitug. Rebellious wives are shedding years of submissiveness and demanding divorce at gunpoint. Cocksure yet sedate husbands are turning into raving maniacs by slashing their whorish wives with knives. Women are turning into multi-orgasmic beasts while Viagra has all but disappeared off the shelves due to the gigantic demand of impotently small men. Everybody wants to rip Mohanad’s clothes apart with a very small minority lusting after the other characters including Safiya and Fikri. What did those Turks do to our unsuspecting people? If we'd ever thought that the Ottoman days were over we’d better think again. They have just returned triumphantly. When Nour finally killed Abdine (the bad ass character) all hell broke loose in the island of Arwad. People came out the alleys and offered sweets and Baklavas. They hugged and kissed and congratulated each other. In one of the more fashionable neighborhoods of Tartous, where the nouveau rich are as rampant as shit is in underground sewage, drum beaters were brought from the Gipsy camp on the outskirts of town, fireworks brightened the sky while a convoy of Mercedeses, Beemers and Hummers slached the dark of night with screeching wheels and loud music. Jubilation at last!
I wonder what those Israeli researchers and journalists are thinking about now. Are they lamenting the wasted time they had spent on Bab Al Hara or are they worried anew that a tsunami of oversexed and under-satisfied Arab women and men might attack their promised land and fuck themselves to death on crowded busses and busy malls.
Didn't I start off by clearly stating that I'm not in the mood to write. I also told you that the heat makes me blotchy.