Monday, February 18, 2008

Arab TV Programs

I must concede that I am not a great fan of Arab TV series. However, I decided to list some of the things that I would like to see in terms of the way these programs are directed and produced. Here is the list in no particular order:

*I would like to see an Arab TV show that uses flashbacks or flashforwards.
*Even better, I would like to see a show that uses a flashback within a flash back.
*I would like to see Arab shows that have a synopsis of relevant past events at the beginning of each episode.
*It would be nice if it was the standard, not the exception for an Arab TV show to run for more than one season.
*I would like to see a complex, multi-layered, nonlinear plot that keeps the viewer guessing or causes him to think, to anxiously wait for the next episode.
*I would like to see a TV show where two or more story lines merge at one point.
*I would like to see a show narrated by the first person who happens to be the main character.
*The use of techniques like cold open, cliffhangers at the end of episodes, smash cuts and other plot devises
*This is not likely to happen anytime soon, but I would like to see a TV program that challenges the current social norms, not reinforce them.


Monday, February 11, 2008

TV's relgious programs

To me the Government seems to be playing a very "unsafe" game with it's religious TV programming. There are several reasons why this is so:

*The programming seems to be advocating things that are in total disagreement with the king's vision for Jordan as a "Liberal" country.

*The ideas propagated are extremely socially regressive and are not compatible at all with the 21st century; If carried out to their ultimate end, would result in a Saudi like state governed by Sharria. In the long run, and if implemented, such programs, would surly deliver a severe blow to Jordan as a touristic destination and would severely affect the national GDP, 16% of which comes from tourisms.

*While the programs claim consistency with science, I was able to detect more than a handful of scientific fallacies, not to mention tens of formal and informal fallacies . This is very dangerous as it allows people to believe in scientific ideas that are simply not true.

*A religious populace is closer to extremism than a mildly religious populace, placing the populace to the right of middle using this kind of TV programs, will result in a higher likely hood of extremist and possibly terrorism against innocent Jordanians.

So what do I propose? I propose going back to the old formula of neutered Friday religious programming. Make sure that the scientific facts stated in any of these programs are considered
"scientific" in the larger world wide scientific community, not just a tinny scientific minority. No making up of scientific facts should be allowed.

I guess a lot of people here in Jordan advocate the rule of Sharria, ignoring the total failure of this project wherever it was implemented in modern times. I would advise these people to take a closer look at Afghanistan (pre, during, and post Taliban), Pakistan, Somalia, and other places. Many of these projects proved to be in many cases much worse than places were governance is mainly secular with some Sharria sprinkled in.

I can understand to some degree that the government wants to eat the cake and keep it at the same time. Alas, you can not have it both ways. Trying to use religion as an opium for the masses is very dangerous as religion can be as volatile as TNT or RDX. You never know when things are going to explode and in whose face.

To illustrate, let us say that someone watches these TV programs, they become more aware and realize that the government and the society is not adhering to Islamic law. According to these TV programs this none adherence is a very serious state of affairs. This causes a sort of hatred and a need to take action against the "infidel" government/society. Connect a few dots later and you have "homemade" none imported terrorism in the form of local suicide bombers.

Considering the current economic situation, the government should think hard about other less volatile opiates to occupy the people. The Lebanese model of having the people have as much fun as they can might not be such a bad idea. I always thought it smart to borrow a page of some one else's book.

Friday, February 08, 2008


I was watching the TV the other day and there was one of those new programs that are targeting the subject of car accidents. The guy was saying something like" The government has done everything in it's power to reduce traffic accidents, and now the ball is in the citizen's half of the playground "

IMHO, nothing could be farther from the truth, the government has done almost nothing to alter the crappy driving culture that we have. Let me just give few examples:

*No action is taken against people who treat lanes as if they do not exist.
*No action is taken against people who who never use the right and left turn signals
*No actions is taken against people who tailgate on the highways
*No action is taken against people who abuse their car's horn

The government can and should have an army of traffic police driving and stationed on all the highways. This should not be done as a quick fix, but should go on indefinably in the hope that slowly and gradually people would stop driving like jerks.

Furthermore, this army of traffic cops would need to be doubled during the summer as the number of cars almost doubles. Most of these cars come from the gulf where the poor quality of Jordanian driving almost pales in comparison.

Additionally, the ticketing of individuals coming from the gulf would not only be a good stream of income for the treasury, but would also insure a reduction in the number of accidents.

One more thing the government can and should do is to try to appeal to gulf states to improve their driving standards. Not only would this benefit these gulf states, but in the end it would also benefit Jordan.

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