A Veiled Chick’s Outbursts comprise writings of a more personal nature about my experiences or issues that exasperate me be it something I heard, read, watched, witnessed or observed. It is my way of letting off some steam, my incensed breathings.
INSULTING OUR INTELLIGENCE
ASSAULTING OUR SENSES
On occasion, I flip through television channels; what is noticeable, and celebrated, is the incessant portrayal of mind-numbing inanity.
DUMBING DOWN BETWEEN THE EARS
The hype currently is to watch unintelligent time-wasting “entertainment”. Be it reality shows about the quotidian everyday lives of insignificant celebrities; gossiping women presenting talk shows; mediocre series with no substance; plotless ambiguous films focussing on creating a labyrinth of enigmas and visual effects; stomach-turning music videos and singers, – the reason for this outburst – 24-hour news draining our little adrenals and so on.
Anyone of us with an iota of an intellect would deduce that there is an insidious deterioration of intelligence whilst viewers consume ignorance.
SHACKLES OF INADEQUACY
More vexing still, when you watch others imitate, – sometimes ludicrously – and, alas, this brings me to the Arab nations.
Though Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was talking about India, his following words describe some of the Arab nations,
Why are we, as a nation so obsessed with foreign things? Is it a legacy of our colonial years? We want foreign television sets. We want foreign shirts. We want foreign technology. Why this obsession with everything imported?
Whether it is music videos – named “video clips” in Arab countries – or CD album covers, copying “the West” is the new form of originality.
There is a reticent sense if Arabs (including those in “authority”) were left to their devices, they will never measure up, not forgetting a ravenous need to please “the West” – which may happen at a cost but not even then.
Incidentally, Arab singers who are “copycats” emphasising the importance of inimitability.
TODAY’S ROLE MODELS
Forget the classy likes of Umm Kulthūm, Fayrouz (not my cup of tea though) and Julia Boutros – although her last two albums, Yawman Ma (Some Day) and Milādak (Your Birth/Birthday), were lyrically and grammatically weak and disappointing in comparison to her previous works. Haifa Wahbi and Maya Diab are the way to go, singers who accentuate their physical assets simply because that seems to be their only “talent”.
With the ongoing battle for singers to appear young and sexy, a growing trend amongst Arab celebrities, – who have had a helping hand from cosmetic surgeons – these fake and desperate looking singers, are today’s generation role models (true worldwide).
Music videos depict these starlets sexualising themselves (the very same who speak about the emancipation of women) and womanising stars objectifying women leaving nothing to the imagination. With sexual innuendos that can easily be described as soft porn, inappropriate or frivolous lyrics, a scenario disharmonious with the song and end credits that are equivalent to that of a film, – sometimes in English – all for fame and fortune.
Not to mention male singers who once upon a time were singing meaningful songs with praise-worthy lyrics and composition, who instead opted to follow the herd, degrading themselves with badly-written lyrics, appalling composition, selfie music videos and attire that is declaring their lack of identity or self-worth.
This is what many Arabs enjoy watching and listening to, including children, and parents seem to see nothing wrong with it – some even claim to be “practising” Muslims (though not upholding Al-Islâm).
There is now a paradigm shift in priorities: artificiality, (false) likes, popularity, stardom, superficiality and (greedy) wealth appear to be the aspirations for many in today’s narcissistic world.
Pathologically emulating “the West” in all the wrong areas and neglecting the positive and efficacious ones (such as respecting the concept of time to some degree and professionalism) is a descent into losing the Arab identity amongst Arab nations.
Embracing other cultures is encouraged and there is no harm in taking ideas from them to express ourselves artistically – or otherwise – as long as we make it our own, do so tastefully, do not sully our identity and integrity, and remain respectful without contravening boundaries and other people’s rights.
More importantly, eschewing bad television will dispel the existing cataleptic state of our minds by not watching and listening to just about anything purely for amusement.
Because, in due course, our intellects will suffer detrimentally, along with our listening and speaking skills, attention spans and moralities – and we will only have ourselves to blame.
Bad television is meaningless stimuli robbing us of our time and energy, which we can use for more meaningful connexions, honing a skill, learning something challenging, reading a good book or doing creative work. We can even use our time and energy to shut off our devices, take a contemplative walk in nature, clear our heads and simply breathe.