Wednesday, July 26, 2017

36 views of Mount Goldorak 7/9

Artworks by Tarek Chemaly based on Hokusai
Goldorak crashed on Mount Fuji. Mount Fuji was also on the backdrop of Hokusai's "the great wave" (seen in some history book as a child). 36 views of Mount Goldorak, a childhood distilled and dipped in everything anime. The original series is 36, plus 10 hence the 46 executions.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

#GoGetProud - the perfect pride message coming from Canada.

I was not very enthusiastic about the first Beirut Pride. Of course, I thought it was a timely, important event but I still thought it was preaching the converts. One of the organizers reached out to me, told me how different it is, etc.... Apparently religious authorities went bersek too about it (note, both sides of the spectrum only unite when their own hegemony is in danger). The UK and Netherlands embassies planted rainbow flags next to their own in solidarity so did fifteen pubs in Mar Mekhael (using the rainbow flag) to show solidarity - when suddenly the government got cold feet about insuring the security of one of the events of the Pride.
I also have posted recently about LGBTQ character inclusion in Lebanese ads. Which I still think the hero of which is the smart Aizone ad which showed "vote for tolerance" via characters who happened to be bisexual and homosexual. Being a teacher in an art department, the kind that attracts rather liberal students more often than not I run across students trying - struggling rather - to find their sexual identities.
All of this introduction is to pave way to the very interesting and real ad about Gay Pride. Of course my shame is that when Pride happened next door to me I was lukewarm about it (my argument was that it failed to portray gay, bi, queer people as just "people" and that it did not trickle down to the average Joe with his homophobic stances). Actually the genius of the Harvey Milk slogan "comeout, come out, wherever you are" was exactly that - anyone from your librarian to your friend or your dentist could be gay. But that ad - which comes from Canada (watch it entirely here, it is gripping to be honest) nails it perfectly.
I like how the ad builds up to get to "let's celebrate pride, until we no longer have to".
Sadly, and this is something I said before, feminism and queerness identity are OK if they do not happen within your own family. Interestingly, I sadly know I too am preaching the converts via this blog - if you did not have a pseudo-liberal mindset you would not be reading this. Mind you, when there was this wave of women who were killed by their partners a few years back (and the backlash which followed and which has since subsided), one of them was my second-degree cousin. So yes, these things happen in all families, even those with people who have a liberal mindset.

36 views of Mount Goldorak 6/9

Artworks by Tarek Chemaly based on Hokusai
Goldorak crashed on Mount Fuji. Mount Fuji was also on the backdrop of Hokusai's "the great wave" (seen in some history book as a child). 36 views of Mount Goldorak, a childhood distilled and dipped in everything anime. The original series is 36, plus 10 hence the 46 executions.

Monday, July 24, 2017

36 views of Mount Goldorak 5/9

Artworks by Tarek Chemaly based on Hokusai
Goldorak crashed on Mount Fuji. Mount Fuji was also on the backdrop of Hokusai's "the great wave" (seen in some history book as a child). 36 views of Mount Goldorak, a childhood distilled and dipped in everything anime. The original series is 36, plus 10 hence the 46 executions.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

36 views of Mount Goldorak 4/9

Artworks by Tarek Chemaly based on Hokusai
Goldorak crashed on Mount Fuji. Mount Fuji was also on the backdrop of Hokusai's "the great wave" (seen in some history book as a child). 36 views of Mount Goldorak, a childhood distilled and dipped in everything anime. The original series is 36, plus 10 hence the 46 executions.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

36 views of Mount Goldorak 3/9

Artworks by Tarek Chemaly based on Hokusai
Goldorak crashed on Mount Fuji. Mount Fuji was also on the backdrop of Hokusai's "the great wave" (seen in some history book as a child). 36 views of Mount Goldorak, a childhood distilled and dipped in everything anime. The original series is 36, plus 10 hence the 46 executions.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Sean Spicer, Muhammad Al Sahaf: Of covfefe and ‘ulūj. Period.

Artwork by Tarek Chemaly

Sean Spicer has resigned as White House press secretary.
Actually I wonder how it never occurred to me before, Spicer was the perfect replica of Muhammad Saeed Al-Sahaf the information minister under Saddam Hussein who came to international prominence during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
When Al Sahaf was asked where he got his (erroneous) information which he bombastically delivered during his press conferences (a sample of such information was the American soldiers were committing suicide "by the hundreds" outside Baghdad), he replied: "authentic sources - many authentic sources" which is totally analogous to Spicer saying that inauguration of Donald Trump enjoyed "the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration. Period.” Which gave rise to the now infamous "alternative facts" that senior White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said trying to defend Spicer's statements.
As for covfefe, which is a typo mistake president Donald Trump did in one of his tweets, Spicer said that a "small group of people" (along with the president) knew what it meant. Which is only a reminder of the "‘ulūj"/"3oulouj" (an obscure word in old Arabic) that Al Sahaf took pleasure in repeating. Which, like covfefe, went mainstream afterwards. Al Sahaf said that it meant "bloodsucking insect" in an August 2003 interview, and that it was an archaic term attributed to Umar ibn Al-Khattāb.
The comparative is amusing actually, basically because of how true it is. 
Sean Spicer has put a "period" to his career at the White House (In the Trump administration at least).
Or in the rich vocabulary of tweets of the Donald: "sad".

The earth stood still because it misread Beirut traffic lights (and other geographical indications in Lebanon)

Artwork by Tarek Chemaly and Fady Chahine
Well there you go, the earth stood still - it took the Beirut traffic lights seriously when they are nothing more than mere suggestions. On intersections with police officers on them, giving contradictory signals to the ones on the lights, please do not move before he finishes his discussion with his long lost "khayye habibi" who happens to have wanted to take a turn to the right but criss-crossed three lanes (causing almost four accidents) to speak to the policeman in question.
I was once in Dahyeh asking about a certain address, the indications given to me by a young man were like - "take your left then you see a parked red car, after the car go right, there's a sign for a butcher but he might be closed, cross to the right - there's a van on the corner - and the building you want is right there".
Lo and behold, the red car was there, the butcher was closed, the van was right on the spot, and the building was right there. With a small problem: It had no entrance. As in seriously, I went behind it, in front of it, to the sides, but there was no entrance. So I dutifully went back to the man and explained to him my issue. He looked at me as if to say "must I do everything in this town?" so on we went again to the red car, the closed butcher, the van, and when we go to the building the young man went to the side of it, took off a zinc piece of metal which was laid there and showed me what could be described as hole-in-the-wall-cum-entrance for an eight story building. "There! Can't you see the entrance?"
Of course, such incidents are not unusual - if you ever take a bus to the north, on the way back, it is often that passengers ask to be deposited as "jisr el khachab" - the wooden bridge. It happened several times and it left me puzzled, whenever the bus would stop there was no bridge in sight, neither wooden nor otherwise.
So I took my guts in both hands and asked the driver about it. Needless to say, he gave me the same look that man in Dahyeh did - must I explain everything to dim-witted Beirutis? - and he showed me a wooden element which goes right above the water-channeling ditch right where he parked. "See?" he self-evidently said. "That's a wooden bridge". Apparently, the presence of a small piece of wood above a ditch to help passengers go to the other side of it is deemed enough to be called bridge.
Now of course, sometimes it's pushing it, on a bill from Electricite du Liban, the famous American University of Beirut was described as, "opposite McDonald's". Which brings us to "7ad wayn aloulak?" - whenever you hear this, run!

36 views of Mount Goldorak 2/9

Artworks by Tarek Chemaly based on Hokusai
Goldorak crashed on Mount Fuji. Mount Fuji was also on the backdrop of Hokusai's "the great wave" (seen in some history book as a child). 36 views of Mount Goldorak, a childhood distilled and dipped in everything anime. The original series is 36, plus 10 hence the 46 executions.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

36 views of Mount Goldorak 1/9

Artworks by Tarek Chemaly based on Hokusai
Goldorak crashed on Mount Fuji. Mount Fuji was also on the backdrop of Hokusai's "the great wave" (seen in some history book as a child). 36 views of Mount Goldorak, a childhood distilled and dipped in everything anime. The original series is 36, plus 10 hence the 46 executions.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Fiat 127 all over Beirut. #flashback

Originally published 13/6/14
From time to time, this blog becomes car-focused, exploring those vintage wrecks - or preserved specimens! - on the streets of Beirut. Today's tribute is for the Fiat 127 in all its states. Enjoy!