After a year and a half of writing my “La Wlooo” column for BeirutNightLife, I would like to thank all of you amazing readers for keeping track of it on a weekly basis, and thus making it continue till today.
A lot can happen in one year, and who can deny that 2011 was a crazy one? It was out of this world with all the wild events happening in Lebanon and worldwide. Here’s a (very long) “La Wlooo Special”, a recap of some of the fun, insane, moving and major incidents that made 2011 what it was – from my perspective of course.
The Speed Radar: Thumbs up if you remember that a speeding law exists in Lebanon. It was just a few months ago that the Lebanese were in a frenzy because of the radars and the speeding fines. Just like every other Lebanese law that preceded it, the speed limit/radar system slowly died down and people are back to driving like savages. With enough radar detectors and a sufficient amount of road-raged buffaloes, this new law turned into a major flop. We are Lebanese! We are the fast and the furious.
The Smoking Ban: Earlier this year I heard that indoor smoking was effectively banned. This was my favorite joke of 2011, since indoor smoking is at an all-time high. A couple of venues tried to enforce this new law but found that they started losing customers to places who rebelliously ignored that law altogether. The Lebanese people cannot be shook! “You want to deprive us of our cancer sticks? We will go smoke elsewhere.” Restaurants, bars and clubs simply couldn’t face such a loss, so everyone turned a blind eye to cigarette smoke and all remained as is . . . . until further notice. Uh, such rebels!
And speaking of rebels . . .
The Arab Spring: “We want Facebook! We want Facebook! We want Facebook!” Add a few riots, killings and animalistic behavior to that and what do you get? The Arab Spring! As the tyrannous rulers fell one by one, we watched the “Arab Nations” turn into the “Animal Planet”. I call it a game of “extreme dominoes”. Tip one over and watch the rest fall. It was like a chain reaction that wouldn’t stop. Thank you Zuckerberg for opening people’s eyes to oppression, lack of freedom of expression and most importantly, the significance of Facebook.
And then there was the king of animalistic behavior . . .
Osama Bin Laden: Remember him? The whole world was obsessed with him for 10 years . . . then nothing – zero. I heard the fish ate him. I wonder if his posse of siblings even noticed he’s gone. Did anyone even mourn his death? It’s quite sad. “I’m going to live in a cave all my life, then get eaten by fish.” It sounds tempting. I don’t have much to write about this guy since I simply cannot wait to discuss the next point, which entails one of my favorite characters . . .
. . . None other than the shining star of the Arab Spring . . .
The Gaddafi Extravaganza: Gaddafi was unarguably the star of the Arab Revolution. He shone at every moment. Whether it was his “Zenga Zenga” speech-turned-music video or his love declarations to Condi (Condoleezza Rice) – not to mention the photo album he made, filled with pictures of her lustrous beauty. He was resilient like a cockroach! He remained weird till his last breath – and even after death his eccentricity will live on. After all, it was none other than Gaddafi who said, “Democracy means permanent rule.” Gaddafi was a true world wonder.
Speaking of which . . .
The New 7 Wonders: I cannot count how many times I told people that it’s a SCAM! I mean, wasn’t it obvious? You couldn’t vote online with a registered account, and the same person could vote countless times. Didn’t this strike anyone as bizarre? Instead of uncovering this two year competition for what it really is, so much money was invested into advertising campaigns to help our beautiful Jeita Grotto win (although all that money should have been spent to fix that wondrous road leading to the Grotto since it’s a complete mess). My favorite part of the campaign was our politicians’ endorsements – their smug and certain facial expressions and voices as they asked the Lebanese people to “Vote for Jeita”. Wow – it was just too funny for me, especially when I saw their billboard campaigns. It’s like they woke up one morning and said, “Hey, I’d like to make a joke out of myself today . . . oh, I have an idea!”
And this is how politicians really make a joke out of themselves . . .
Mustafa Alloush versus Fayez Shukur: The UFC (Ultimate Fighting championship) has got nothing on these two! Each holding a PhD, these two prominent political figures threw pens and chairs at each other – not because of something concerning our country, but because of a neighboring nation’s president. I would like to see another country do the same for us. “Throw a chair for Lebanon!” should be the campaign’s slogan. You’d think that by acquiring a sufficient education, you’d learn how carry yourself in a proper way. The insults they threw at each other reminded me of a Zouzou versus Abul Ghadab fight I witnessed once at the side of the road (probably over who has a nicer moped). I would like to thank these two hooligans on behalf of the Lebanese people because they portrayed Lebanese politicians in such a wonderful way!
But that’s not the only disturbing thing on television . . .
Stupid TV Shows: Where would we be today without our stupid TV shows? In a better place that’s for sure. Adding to my reasons of why I hate local TV shows is “Zeffou el Aarouss”. I cannot watch this show. I cannot understand why this show was created. I cannot understand where they find these competitive, ugly, ignorant, tasteless, envious brides. They take the term “Bridezilla” to another level of repulsive. Each show features three brides who compete for a prize (I’m assuming it’s a honeymoon package). The winner is the bride with the best wedding (judged by the wedding planners). Despite the advice and assistance of the wedding planners, these brides still insist on throwing the most vulgar wedding parties and wearing the cheapest looking dress and makeup. The show ought to be called “Rebellion of the Rhinos”. I would like to personally thank the producers of this show for this waste of air time. My IQ dropped 10 digits after watching it.
Speaking of weddings . . .
The Royal Wedding: Now here’s an event that the whole world awaited; the fairytale wedding where the prince marries a commoner. She is like the girl next door; humble, pretty and sweet. After years of waiting, she finally got her fairytale ending . . . just like Cinderella. And with that, the idea of “prince charming and the fairytale ending” was reinforced into every girl’s mind. Unfortunately, it just leaves us women disappointed – how many frogs must we kiss till one turns into a prince? They don’t even turn into decent men. But, if Kate Middleton and Cinderella can do it, so can the rest of us! I’m still a firm believer of life on other planets, time travel, telekinesis and good men.
And some weddings aren’t so grand . . .
Kim Kardashian: I hate her. Whether it’s her facial expression (the only one she has) with a half-open mouth (trying to look sexy I guess) or the pointless reality TV show she stars in, “Keeping up with the Kardashians”, I used to think that there’s nothing she could do to make herself look even more stupid . . . that is, until she got married and divorced – all in 72 days! It ended before Joan Rivers could even criticize her choice of wedding dress on the Fashion Police. The best part is that they are currently airing episodes of her and her giant boyfriend (now ex-husband) together in Bora Bora on E!’s “Keeping up with the Kardashians”, as her family members declare how much they love Chris and how perfect he is for Kim. Now that’s irony at its finest. I must say, this divorce was as life-changing for everyone as Kim’s horrible Skechers ad. Who is even surprised?
And then again, another famous divorce . . .
Ashton & Charlie: As Charlie Sheen divorced the beautiful Denise Richards and joined the hit TV sitcom “Two and a Half Men”, his career flourished and so did his drug and alcohol abuse. He grew cocky to the extent that the show replaced him . . . with Ashton Kutcher.
Ah yes, the resemblance in physical attributes and sense of humor is uncanny. Until a few days, these two had absolutely nothing in common . . . but now Ashton is signing his divorce papers with mother ex-wife Demi Moore because – hear this – he cheated on her! Now why on earth would he do that? It couldn’t be the age gap, could it? Fifteen years is nothing at all. It makes me wonder, is this show cursed? What’s next Ashton? Will it be the drugs or the liquor?
But there’s always celebrity drama . . .
Justin Bieber Grows Up: As Justin Bieber starts looking and sounding less like a girl, the world is confused. Why/how is this happening now at the age of 17 – late bloomer? After the speculations about his gender and after many haters insisted he is in fact female, “shemale” or from another planet, his relationship with Selena Gomez and his drastic voice change proved to everyone that he is 100% male! We have all been waiting for the day he transforms into a man, but we’ve always dreaded that it could negatively affect his career. But, as the wise little Bieber sang, “I will never say never, I will fight,” so a little puberty won’t hurt him. With one rumor out of the way, another had to surface: Bieber is a father-to-be. I am assuming that some psychotic girl who is a true “belieber” decided to use his newly discovered masculinity to her benefit. I love Bieber; whether he’s male or female, whether he sounds or looks like a girl or a boy, I’m glad we have someone like this on the music scene.
But there are artists and songs that should not exist . . .
Tirashrash by Rami el Houssein: WHAT IS THIS?! It is unacceptable. This took Lebanese music down a very dark path. My ears were insulted when I heard this horrible excuse for a song. I can’t name one good thing about it. His voice sounds like constipated wolves howling. The lyrics make absolutely no sense at all. The video clip is ridiculous. Is he serious? When Rami el Houssein decided to sing this song, was he serious?! There should be a law against songs like this because it really brings down the level of the music industry. The worst part is that everyone was talking about it for a while, so it got way more exposure than the other decent songs that were released during the same period. I am appalled, insulted and violated. Rami el Houssein, if I controlled the law, I would sue you for sound pollution! You ruined the dabké forever!
Speaking of breaking the law . . .
The Taxi Driver Killers: No, the “Taxi Driver Killers” is not the name of a new rock band or a new blockbuster movie – it is in fact the name given to two sick Lebanese brothers who went out on a killing spree targeting taxi drivers. This is ridiculous! Who does that? I wonder how they even came up with such an idea and how they found it in their hearts to murder not one, but eleven helpless taxi drivers! It is so sad and unfortunate that such ill people exist. I am at least thankful that the Lebanese police were able to capture these twisted serial killers and I hope they put them away for life! I believe certain people should not be allowed to watch movies. Who would’ve thought that something like this would happen in Lebanon?
But Lebanon still makes us proud . . .
The Lebanon National Football Team: Yes! We made it this far for once. We beat Korea and we’re one step closer to joining the next World Cup. What made me happiest about this wasn’t the fact that we won; it was how all the Lebanese people united for once – not arguing, not taking sides. For once this year, we were Lebanese in every meaning of the word. If there’s anything I’d like to see in 2012, it’s more of this positive behavior and united attitude. I want Lebanon’s name to be heard on an international level and I love that we’re on that track! I wonder though, if Lebanon does make it to the World Cup and plays a game against Brazil or Germany, who would the Lebanese cheer for? After all, we are the land of “Brazermany” too.
And here’s another event that the Lebanese people felt very concerned with . . .
The Death of Steve Jobs: Anyone who ever typed on a Mac, listened to music on an iPod or played Angry Birds on an iPad, felt depressed when they found out that Jobs died. It was indeed the end of an era, and also very sad that someone who had the world at his fingertips could not control his deteriorating health condition. But of course, you can always count on the Lebanese to blow everything out of proportion. For a week, every Facebook and BBM status had famous quotes from Steve Jobs, touching stories, videos, homages and so much more – so much more! It was too much! It was so overdone and fake that it made me nauseous. Of course the Syrians had to butt in and claim him as one of their own. “Yes, he has Syrian brains. This is our genius, not Amreeka el Sheetan!” Whatever.
Will 2012 top 2011 with its weird events? I have no doubt. It’s a crazy world we live in, and if we’re able to laugh about it, life will always be sweet. See you in the twenty twelve!