Tag Archives: rant

It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home

Here’s a little story I haven’t told many people, because it shines a bright light onto my unbridled geekiness.

So, the year is 1992. The Chicago Bulls are NBA Champions. Andre Agassi is sporting a full head of hair. Kids are sitting around their rooms with Troll dolls attached to their pencils as Kriss Kross’ Jump and Sir Mix-a-lot’s Baby Got Back blare out of the boombox. Home Alone and Sister Act are topping the box office. And I’m a 10 year old kid.

Of all the year’s cinematic offerings, I’m particularly excited about the prospect of watching Aladdin, especially since I’ve discovered that he’s modelled on Tom Cruise and that makes the fat little bespectacled Arab kid in me really proud. It’s going to be cool to be Arab.

I settle into my seat at the Odeon on High Street Ken, and I’m ready for a mystical land full of anthropomorphic cuteness from monkeys and whatnot. Then I sit through 90 minutes of thinly veiled racism, which leaves me crushed. Even Robin William’s psychotic take on the Genie isn’t enough to salvage the film in my eyes.

I go home, and being the nerdy English school kid that I was, embark on a quest to chastise Disney for their insolence through the only means available to me: a strongly worded letter.

The details are a bit fuzzy and haven’t withstood the test of time in my memory, and I have no idea what I wrote. But I remember being particularly vexed by the swashbuckling and monstrous law enforcers. Plus the following lyrics didn’t really sit well with a proud Lebanese kid, who’d never actually seen his parent’s homeland yet:

Oh I come from a land, from a faraway place / Where the caravan camels roam / Where it’s flat and immense / And the heat is intense / It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home

So there you have it. I was a ridiculous 10 year old with a warped sense of pride sending a letter to one of the biggest corporations in the world. End of story. Right?

Not exactly. Through some weird combination of events, it would seem Disney thought a fat 10 year old had a point. They thanked me for my letter and forwarded it to the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, of which I’ve been an honorary member ever since.

Moral of the story. Always complain when something just isn’t right, sometimes people listen.

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Let there be light!

The electricity generator in my building is undergoing maintenance for a couple of days, which means I’m at the mercy of Electricite du Liban’s rationing of power to the Lebanese population. As I was driving past their headquarters the other day and noticed half the letters on their neon sign were extinct (Eltric du Lbn, anyone?), this doesn’t bode well for my chances of getting much work done online or getting through the stack of Almodovar films I’ve promised myself I’d finally watch.

So, I’ve been spending the last three hours of this Saturday morning skipping from one laptop to the next, milking their power supplies for all they’re worth. It’s amazing how having your power cut is a reminder of how absolutely dependent you are on technology. The electric shutters on my windows are almost all rolled down, which means I’m sitting in pitch darkness although it’s nice and bright outside, I suppose. The battery on my Blackberry is drained, which means I have no access to Google for a few hours. My heart sinks at the thought of all the unanswered questions! I can’t switch on the television, so there’s no soothing background noise to fill the flat. Just eerie silence. I prop myself up against the one window whose shutters I’d left open during the night, and finish a book I’m reading. It’s exceedingly tedious, and isn’t helping me forget I can’t use a microwave for the foreseeable future.

It’s pretty shameful that we live in a country that doesn’t have 24 hour electricity. Some days I’ll be driving down the street, and I notice none of the traffic lights I’m so chuffed about are actually working (see previous posts). Then I look at the time, and realize the power must be out. They should put a sign up: “The 21st century will be suspended between the hours of 11am-2pm and again between 10pm -midnight. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Enjoy the dark ages.”

Who needs a time machine when all you need to do is have everything you use drained of its usefulness. On the plus side, it means my teenage neighbor, who seems to have just discovered Metallica, can’t practice on his Fender Stratocaster. And, I have to say it’s nice to be isolated from the world for a few hours. Alone with your thoughts, you have to entertain yourself. Much like a bored child.

Oh, hang on. The power’s back on. I can stop thinking now, and switch on every appliance in the house. So soothing, no need for cerebral activity whatsoever. Let there be light!

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