Monday, January 11, 2010

the mind sponge

Having no job currently, (and even working and stuck in traffic) I tend to think about my identity and why I do the things I do and like the things I like etc...

I realized of late (can I say that ? of late ? meaning recently ?) that alot of what makes me me, is basically cues that I took from TV.

Sure, alot of things I can trace to things my dad said ( "Why does the muslim always hide in the mosque ? why does he not go out and wear a suit and a nice watch and speak logically?") or society (subtle racism of subcontinental indians) or from war fed state propaganda (Iranians are usually the bad guy).

It amazes me however how many times I can trace a certain choice or habit or preconceived notions and values etc ...

One thing I remember vividly is westerns or cowboy movies, where the hero is strong, rough, honest and a chain smoker, as opposed to the deceitful red indians but that's another story.
The cowboy wore jeans.
The cowboy spoke with his gun.
The cowboy's romance is basically women he saves and hookers.

So I always wanted to smoke, that's probably why smoking is so prevalent among arabs.
Also why among arabs until today, a pair of jeans + a denim jacket is stylish.

It's not just American or western movies that skewed my views, I remember during the 70s and 80s egyptian movies were horrendously cheap and commercial. Drinking, promiscuity, low moral values were all the rage back then. I can't count the number of times I saw men with broken hearts go to bars to drown out their sorrows.

This is probably why I like to fill my cup with ice to the brim and fill it with coke, I like the image of the fizzing and the froth etc... I'm surprised I'm not an alcoholic.

If you think about it, TV is basically a machine of unfiltered propaganda of values and truths. Millions of children around the world are left to watch TV unattended because "it keeps them quiet" , which of course it would because it's feeding them a continuous torrent of information.

TV shows, movies, cartoons, adds, sermons at 3am etc... they're all tools that project an image for watchers to follow, it doesn't tell them to, it just does. I'm met Arabs who are pro israeli anti Palesintian, Iraqis who are willing to work for the CIA to spy in Iraq ! Muslims whose highest aspiration is be a movie star or whose most important value is true love.

So yeah. I can't deny it, I've been -to an extent- shaped by TV, I won't have it happen to my kids, once I have kids, I'll be looking over everything they watch.


Ninnevah said...

"I'll be looking over everything they watch"
Is that a practical solution?

iraqiguy said...

I chose "looking over" as opposed to "supervise". Looking over means keep an eye out, which means i won't be all over them all the time, because i don't want to cause the opposite (saudi)effect.

NB it's called the Saudi effect because 90% of Saudis who leave to anywhere outside Saudi like the US, Australia or even Bahrain go absolutely crazy with vice, simply because of the way the government sponsored religious limitations

RCHOUDH said...

Assalamu alaikum Brother I came across your website from Brother Naeem's one. Really nice blog Mash'allah!

I just wanted to answer some questions you had over at the other blog regarding TV and kids. Basically I believe you should first watch the TV show/movie first to make sure it doesn't have too many objectionable scenes in it (since it's very hard to find stuff with nothing objectionable in it it's best to find something containing as little of it as possible).
Then the next best thing is to sit down and watch with them and later discuss with them what they thought of it. This might open up an interesting and engaging discussion about a variety of topics and issues gleaned from the show. I wrote about something related to this issue regarding whether I could show my kids Disney's Alladin: