Saturday, March 31, 2007

Crapalicious Ministry of Misinfo

After catching up with old friends over a lovely lunch last week, my friend and I darted over to see Eddie Murphy’s new movie, “Norbit,” in the theatre. Although I am not overly excited to watch a movie in Kuwait – mostly due to the censorship – I was willing to go because I really missed the whole movie experience which includes the ice cold soda, popcorn, little floppy seats, and other little petty yet memorable details in between.

“Norbit” was classified as a comedy, and I was sure that the Kuwaiti movie mafia would cut a few kissy scenes here and there, but I never thought that they would remove an innocent kiss between the eight year old Eddie Murphy and Thandie Newton as they wed under a large tree with their lollipop rings that sealed their pre-teen and obviously pretend marriage. “All right,” I thought, “I’ll let their pervertedness fly this time.”

But the movie was chopped up beyond belief. They even cut out the part that was featured in the trailer, specifically the 10-15 minute scene at the water park. What I find interesting is that the conversations themselves are sometimes more foul than the actual censored scenes. Such comedies are nothing new to Eddie Murphy, and knowing him and his movies, I would appropriately agree with this movie’s rating of PG-13, “for crude and sexual humor, some nudity and language” (IMDb).

My point is that I got ripped off. Imagine eyeing a pair of pants that have yet to arrive at your favorite store. You wait anxiously and finally, they are flown into Kuwait. After buying the sought after pair in full, you pull them out of the shopping bag only to discover that your oh-so-desired pants have one leg and no, you cannot demand a refund.

That is how I compare movies in Kuwait. You pay more for what you get in the end. I did not know that this country’s injustice wiggled its way into movie theatres as well. It is actually ironic, because the “Bad Guys” i.e. the booming black market of crispy clear DVDs are actually doing good because they are not selling half-assed movies for more than their worth.

All hail the movie black market.

To the Ministry of Misinformation, boo you.

So what can be done? I do not have any practical business background or experience, but I thought about two up-in-the-air options. One solution is to run uncut movies in all theatres; however, every single person would be required to hand over their identification card to confirm that they are of age. Also, all children going to these uncut movies would have to be accompanied by a guardian – parents and/or older siblings/relatives - and not a nanny or five who are usually indifferent and/or prone to be coaxed into ushering the little ones into any movie regardless of the content.

Another answer would be the establishment of privately owned movie theatres. I thought about this and wondered, “Gas stations are now owned by people so why not include movie theatres as well?” The owners would be the ones responsible for censoring the films coming in and not the ministry itself.

PS One of the upsides of the movie was Jackie Wilson’s hit, “Your Love Keeps Lifting Me (Higher & Higher) mp3.”

PPS I just told my dad about my two anti-censorship solutions. The conversation went like this:

Me: ليش لأ يوبة؟

Baba: على بالج إنتيّ إبّاريس؟ عايشة إبديرة متخلفة و يايتني إبهل منطق؟

Me: بس لازم في حل!

Baba: طقيلج تذكرة باريس...هذا الحل

Oh well!

My kinda MP3's...
Gladys Knight & the Pips - I Heard it Through the Grapevine
Smokey Robinson & the Miracles - Tears of a Clown
The Commodores - Brick House
Stevie Wonder - Signed, sealed, delivered I'm yours

at 4:19 PM 16 comments

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Workers’ Curiosity & Suicidal Attempts

I really feel sorry for the street sweepers here in Kuwait. I blame the government for Okaying the institution of such companies that grant their employees a measly twenty to thirty Kuwaiti Dinars per month. That is no way to live.

Although I push my own shopping cart to my car at the super market, I do tip the workers who help me carry my weighty carton of water in my trunk. I appreciate their help and I am sure that my 500 fils or so would make more of a difference to them than me. However, what I do not appreciate at all is when these men approach me while I am in my immobile car with a “Salam 3ailaikom” before peering down to eye my legs and thighs while I am waiting for the traffic light to turn green. I frown in discomfort and quickly lurch my car forward and away from their path.

I read an article written by Al-Qabas columnist Mohammad Mosaed Al-Saleh and in it, he stated that a jailed person in Bangladesh can buy his/her way out of the country, sort of like self-exile if you might. The end result is a new beginning in a foreign land, a foreign land that does not have any record of this person’s sentence, whether it is a petty crime, rape or murder.

Another aspect that I do not like about blue collared workers is the way they throw themselves at you while you are driving. I usually experience this traumatic event in downtown Kuwait. Whenever I see someone with an anxious look on their face, teetering on the little strip of pavement between two lanes, I make an attempt to slow down just in case this person decides to cross the road even when it is irrational to do so. However sometimes, they assume the mode of a rash pedestrian; they see me driving toward them and they remain still. When I am about two to three meters away, they hurl themselves in front of my car and scramble across the street. I consider it a form of suicide. I mean, why would you wait until I am three feet away from your face to cross the road? There are more hassle-free ways to die that do not involve much clean-up after self-execution, and jumping in front of cars is surely not one of them.

Mazzy Starr- Fade Into You
Beck - Loser
Dionne Farris - I Know
Smashing Pumpkins - 1979
The Proclaimers - I Would Walk 500 Miles

at 12:04 AM 11 comments

Friday, March 09, 2007

Kiss Me Deadly, Kiss Me Tenderly

Although I have participated in my abundant share of hellos these past two months, I still come across many bizarre, unpredictable, and endearing kissers. I do not know what men go through, but greeting women is always a new experience:

The Woodpecker: This person kisses you on one cheek – or sometimes concentrates all their might on one side of your face - before moving to the other to deliver ten rapid sets of twenty, head-bobbing kisses that leave you looking more disoriented than Courtney Love. Apart from the physical side effects that come about from this particular smooch, the thing that I dislike about this type of kiss is that sometimes you wonder, “When are they planning to quit?” I find backing away from the kisser and avoiding their conclusive smack is equally awkward to going in for that lass kiss when they actually back away from you.

The Stabber: Out of all the women I greeted, I dread this type the most. I am all right with the light and friendly cheek-to-cheek kiss. However, some – specifically younger women – decide to stab your cheeks with their jaws so as to:

1- Not ruin their makeup.
2- Because your oily cheek is just not good enough.

I think it is understandable when you greet this type of kisser at, for instance, a wedding, where both you and the other party try your best not to touch or rub your cheeks together so as to avoid any cosmetic fall. The latter, uppity kisser is another despicable story. Why would you greet someone with an impersonal and boney mandible and not opt for the wispy, barely there contact?

The Shaker: Women do not usually shake each others’ hands here. If the person you are greeting is a mere acquaintance, you are more inclined to either shake their hands politely or simply nod and spew out a stream of friendly and welcoming phrases. Yet, there are some that kiss as well as shake your hand. This simultaneous exchange catches me off guard; I end up kissing the person while leaving their hand hanging in mid-air. Sometimes, I actually manage to realize, “They’re going in for the hand!” The person’s facial pores enlarge as my face floats toward them to kick off the salutation but soon, I am too close to the person to look down and utilize my now unavailable sense of sight to direct my hand in theirs. I end up relying on my sense of touch and balance in hopes of pinpointing the location of the person’s awaiting palm. But I just hate it when you go in for the shake, fail and both parties’ hands embarrassingly slink away untouched.

The Enthusiast: From experience, I think these kissers are genuine and heart-warming individuals. I usually receive these types of kisses from close family members who I have not seen for quite some time. Enthusiasts do not believe in breezy greetings. They firmly press their cheek onto yours whilst delivering multiple kisses. Throughout the session, they enhance the synchrony by securing a tight grip on your shoulders so as to swiftly careen you back and forth toward them. Although this process sounds complicated, it is done in a fairly short period of time. The only difficult part is to incorporate words into the procedure; you usually start your ramble but are soon cut off by the next kiss, so you end up sounding like this, “Hal***shloo***shakh***shimsa***…” and etc. The physical side effects that come from the combination of the Woodpecker’s method and your lack of control on your swaying body are cast aside when you finally pull back and see the Enthusiast’s glowing, smiling face.

NB: Posts on this blog will not be as plentiful as they were before.

Carlos Santana – She’s Not There I love this song...

Mark Morrison - Return of the Mack

Ali Farka Toure w/ Ry Cooder - Ai Du I more than love this song...num num...

at 9:41 PM 13 comments