Fri Oct 10, 2014, 12:35 AM

The War Nerd: Technology, culture wars & jihad

Ahmed: “Ooredoo. That’s what it means in Arabic: ‘I want.’”

...Those are the two elements that make “Ooredoo” corrosive to conservative cultures like this: the first-person singular pronoun, and the gender of the first-person singular doin’ the wantin’. And if you look at the image in Ooredoo’s online page, you can see what jihad is against, right there:

A young woman, without veil or headscarf, holding the steering wheel, her hair blown back in an imaginary online wind. No car; she’s apparently moving by sheer first-person singular will. When you see this ad, you see why it’s so important for the Saudi patriarchs, just over the border, to maintain the prohibition on women driving, no matter how much bad press it draws to them. That’s too much agency in the hands of a woman who’s supposed to be at the disposal of her patriarchal owner; it offends their sensibility very deeply (not their Qu’ranic allegiance, because there’s absolutely nothing about that in the Qu’ran). Ooredoo’s name for the product line this floating/driving woman advertises is “personal,” another code word for first-person singular, and particularly first-person singular female.

That’s the corrosion that jihad tries to stop, the defection of the women toward that first-person singular. Most accounts of jihad take it easy on the gender dimension, but that is actually the most crucial line being drawn in this war. We see the grotesque and mostly ridiculous steps the reactionary young men who make jihad take against it; what we don’t see is the million ways it seeps in, no matter who they shoot. It’s easy to see in the mall in Kuwait, but you see it even in places which are devoting a huge amount of energy to keeping it out, like Najran.

2 replies, 503 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 2 replies Author Time Post
Reply The War Nerd: Technology, culture wars & jihad (Original post)
JosephNobles Oct 2014 OP
Agent_86 Oct 2014 #1
BlackSabbath Oct 2014 #2

Response to JosephNobles (Original post)

Fri Oct 10, 2014, 11:21 AM

1. Thanks for posting this.

I see a fair number of kids at the airport who are from Saudi Arabia. They're students returning home during breaks in the school year or following graduation. I can't help noticing the stark difference between their passport photos, in which everyone dresses like a member of the Saudi royal family, and the clothes they wear while they are here.

I can't help wondering how they feel about returning home. I'm sure many of them miss their parents and friends, but the price they pay to be near them must feel terribly steep after living here for a few years.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to Agent_86 (Reply #1)

Sun Oct 12, 2014, 02:06 PM

2. back in the 70s


I partied in a "secret" Saudi disco with Dennis Hopper and Halston.

I did some of the best coke ever in that secret Saudi disco.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink