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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Culture Exportation.

Culture exportation.

One US export that goes unmentioned is that of its culture. Its impact in promoting other exports is huge.

Halloween parties for example in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Beirut, Amman are more common now where they were non existent until.... Hollywood (mainly) among other factors.

Hollywood film and Hollywood television as well as the music industry spread the (US) American culture and while doing so promote American products. How us that?
Man see, man do.. Humans, not just monkeys tend to imitate others in what they say, what they eat, what they wear and even how they behave in different scenarios. We imitate what we see and we see people, on both the small and the big screen, smoking and we smoke because that character was smoking and seemed to enjoy inhaling the smoke. It must be "cool" and looks like a pleasurable activity. So, at a given chance we take up smoking, cough a little the first few times and then feel proud that the cough is conquered. Philip Morris just gained another customer or in the case of tobacco, an addict.. a victim!

And then we take up drinking... Pepsi Cola and Coca Cola, 7Up and others. Eating is no different either. Look at all the (US) American fast and not so fast food franchises littering the landscape, worldwide.

A whole slew of US products has entered and became part of a lifestyle that is foreign to people outside the US. From sugary cereals for breakfast to current "pop culture" and gangster lingo and expressions, from "wassup" to "WTF" are not indigenous to the cities and countries mentioned earlier or for that matter any country other than the US. Add to that even a certain mannerism and attitudes acquired from what is seen in Hollywood films and made for TV series and music videos.

So, what gives? Hollywood has become, without directly telling us what to do, what to eat and how to behave, a model people follow pretty much wherever Hollywood is allowed to play.
In his recent spat with V. Putin, B. Obama teased Putin about the number of Russian food franchises in the US. Probably and almost certainly none. That is also true for most other countries. One does not see foreign franchises in the US. On the other hand US food and clothing franchises are all over the world. Need I say McDonalds, KFC... People in the ravaged and blockaded Gaza (Palestine) were reported to have been smuggling KFC chicken buckets to Gaza from Egypt through tunnels. Need I say more. Oh, yes. In a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon some kids were drinking Pepsi Cola. This was in a small video games room where American products, games were used. Guess what these games indirectly promote.. a culture to inspire and imitate. This is what people do, they imitate what they perceive as good and marketers are good at presenting products in a good light. Movies and TV programs have even a better efficient, intended or not, in promoting culture (naturally), products and industries because they do it at a subconscious level. The culture part is natural because American life is played out. Even Americans take their certain behavioral queues from film and TV.
Some aspects of this cultural adaptation are positive, others are negative and in conflict with established ancient cultures; be it in Europe, Asia, Africa or Australia. The only places that remain unaffected are those that have not been touched by TV.

It's a cultural assimilation facilitated by a common language: English, American English unless you are down under, in India or the UK.

Bollywood, worth noting, does not have that cultural exportation effect because their films are in Hindi.

Happy Halloween y'all.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Jewish Lobby claims another victim: Freedom of speech.

Hussam Salama and Mahmoud Al-Kumi were 2 Palestinian journalists that were targeted and killed by the Israelis.  As journalists, they were civilians armed with cameras and microphones and not  enemy combatants.

Newseum, a privately held organization decided to honor them.  With its many arms, Jewish organizations with many different names, acting as cover and are part of the Israeli lobby went to work.

After defending its position to honor the journalists, Newseum, that had a chance to stand up to the Israeli and "Jewish lobby" bullying, fell to their knees and now Newseum do not even offer an explanation for their decision reversal as reported by "ei" (electronic intifada) and that is typical when blackmail is involved.

By doing so Newseum, as an organization dedicated to the news reporting and freedom of speech did something very, very wrong.  Reversing its decision says a lot:

Now Newseum stands with the an organization, Israel, that supports targeted murder of civilians.  The Israelis and their lobby people in the US justify the killings because the journalists were part of Hamas "propaganda" machine. That is how they put it and to them it's a justification for murder.   By the same logic Hamas and or other Palestinian organization could do the same, target civilian journalists that they think could play as propagandists for the Israelis or against them. Palestinians know that many News organizations are propagandists in a way or another and that the editors at such organizations decide what airs and what does not; they also decide on how to manipulate news and incoming data from the field..  Should the editors also be targeted if one is to follow the Israelis' and their lobby's logic?

That is what Newseum's reversal to honor 2 Palestinian journalists means.  Two journalists murdered by a propaganda machine that wants to control the truth.  

Just imagine how much pressure and blackmailing it takes to have an, now suspect, independent organization like Newseum, to honor, defend and then retreat?

Paul Findley was a US congressman and supporter of Israel.  Once he decided to question a matter related to Israel and that same lobby set out to make an example of him to other US lawmakers.  How dared he "question"?  It was not enough that he was a great supporter of Israel.  The lobby wanted US lawmakers'  unquestionable LOYALTY to ISRAEL.  So at the next term elections the lobby set out to unseat him by supporting another candidate.. and the lobby succeeded.  He lost to his opponent by a tiny margin.  He is an author: "They dare to speak out".  In the book he describes his experience with the lobby.

Newseum is now another occupied territory. It lost its objectivity and integrity by allowing itself to be harassed and manipulated.  What does that say to others?

Congratulations to the board of Newseum! 

Newseum is not the only loser in this episode but as community that thrives on truth and free speech are losers as well.

Newseum could, after giving their decision more thought, do the right thing and restore some of their dignity.  Would they dare to do so, or too afraid?

Monday, April 8, 2013

November 2012:  Israel attacked the Gaza district of Palestine.

If a Jew were in my shoe, singular, because my parents could afford to buy only one pair of shoes (made in China) that I share with my sister and that, for fun, we sometimes swap left and right depending on the political mood of the country, a country that we don't have... I digress. 

If a Jew were in my shoe and lived on the seashore where Asia meets Africa.. The Jew would see soldiers in uniformed moustaches with two dark lines extending from the tip of the upper lip up to the nostrils. "Ari" was their name, each one of them! I hear glass breaking, again! and it's daytime but the Jew in my shoe thinks it's night, the night of the broken glass, kristallnacht! It's like a weird dream where me and my shoe and the Jew are scared of the soldiers with the black moustaches but this time the soldiers are the Jew, the Jew in my shoe! How could that be? The Jew was supposed to understand.. but the Jew took my shoe! 

Gaza girl.

Syria, now what?

Knowing what we know today about what has happened in Syria in the last two years, the thousands that died, the refugees, said to be in the millions, the destruction of historic landmarks, neighborhoods, towns and cities etc..

Knowing all that today would the powers that fed this "revolution" do the same thing today?
What could be done today to end the killing and the suffering?

Tunis is not a model to topple Arab leaders.   Egypt and Libya had different results and the African trio's revolutions are far from over.   Bahrain is quiet in the western media.. so the west does not look favorably on toppling Arab leaders that follow certain policies compliant to American interests, or so it seems!

When the Jordanians started acting up, American help in the form of money found its way to the Jordanian capital.  Money, channeled properly, seemed to cool things a bit there.

You can tell much about American and Israeli interests by the moves of one US senator..John McCain and his buddy, now retired, another staunch supporter of Israel, x US senator Lieberman who had been seen in video and photographs whispering in McCain's ear what to say at press conferences while touring the "Middle East"..  So, McCain goes to Libya, arms the rebels and brings the demise of Qaddafi in a short period of time.  After 40 years of his reign, the west saw fit the removal Qaddafi.  And the question is why now?

Trouble in Syria!! McCain stands on the senate floor and says let's arm Syrian rebels.  Al Qaeda and Al Nusra are enlisted and so is Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia providing enough to bleed Syria but not enough to bring down the Assad regime quick enough.. which would theoretically save lives, unless of course some Afghani-Taliban style Islamists take hold of the country, as they did in some small town in Syria, and try to impose a style of living that  the indigenous Syrian population does not know nor would approve of.  That would lead to bloodshed of a different sort and for other reasons.

Bleeding Syria seems to be the end game that might also weaken other players in the region.  In Lebanon there are people that support and others not, the Assad regime.   And this could start another fire in a place that needs it the least.

Before March 2011 Syrians did not enjoy freedoms of a free country, many wished to travel abroad and stay abroad dreaming of a better life.  Americans too want to find a place where the economy is good and jobs are plentiful and they too are having a hard time.  The difference is that, here in the US, the government keeps printing money and keeps borrowing money, in the trillions and any economist would tell you that this is not good.  There are people protesting and many movements such as the Occupy people, they  demonstrate from sea to shining sea however, another difference between the US and Syria here is that there is no Syrian senator McCain to arm these American rebels.

So, knowing what we know today about the events of the past 2 years on the Syrian scene:
1- Would the players make the same moves leading to the same results we see today?  and
2-  What's done is done.  What can be done to end it?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

In Love with a Slut.

You are such a slut...   
you give yourself to whomever can afford a piece of you.  
you are shameless.  
I see you on little kids faces, in their little hands. To young and old and no matter the gender, come and take me, you say, get me out of the wrapper!
You are such a slut.  You can't wait to be anyone's and everyone's.  You come on so nice and so strong.
You make them smile and as you pleasure them they kill you and yet you come back for more.  You just can't get enough. you are an insatiable circle of seduction, pleasure and death... and resurrection; but i love you!
Just tell me one thing.. What are you made of? chocolate!