My Palestinian Post

Well, originally I didn’t intend to write here about politics, but I guess that saying something like that in the middle east is like saying that you’re not gonna think about sex during an orgy.

So that’s the deal: A couple of weeks ago, the New York Times dedicated two articles to the urban culture of two Israeli cities: Tel-Aviv and Haifa. Funnily enough, the original headline of the article about Haifa was “In Israeli City of Haifa, a Liberal Palestinian Culture Blossoms”(which I highly recommend to read here). 

This headline has obviously made some people very pissed-off, namely: Israelis who were offended by the claim that there’s a “Palestinian culture” inside the borders of Israel, and Palestinians who didn’t like to see Haifa described as an “Israeli city”. Yes, welcome to the Holy Land: where people are pathetically touchy and insecure about anything that has to do with their little fragile national identity.

It seems to me that both of the “offended” parts by the NYT headline, share something in common: they are both denying reality.

This is not a secret that about 20% of Israeli citizens are Arabs. In Israel they are being mainly referred to as “Israeli-Arabs”, to stress out the difference between them and the Palestinians that are living in the Palestinian Authority and Gaza. But the reality is, that many of them are openly identifying themselves as Palestinians, or at least “Israeli-Palestinians” – meaning, Palestinians with an Israeli passport. And why wouldn’t they? After all, they are ethnically similar to the Palestinians inside the green line, they speak more-or-less the same dialect, and many of them even have relatives there. This is perfectly normal, and you can find this also in other areas of ethnic dispute – like for example the ex-Yugoslavian Kosovo Republic, where there are minorities which are obviously identifying themselves as Serbs, even though they have a Kosovarian citizenship, and they vote at the Kosovarian national elections, just like Israeli-Palestinians vote at the Israeli ones. Nevertheless, in Kosovo, so it seems, nobody says to them “why are you calling yourselves Serbs and not Kosovarian-Slavs, huh?!”

Unfortunately, however, nobody listens to me, and that’s why(probably because of Zionist-readers’ complaints) the NYT article’s headline was eventually altered from “Palestinian culture” to “Arab culture”…

From the Palestinian side, however, harsh criticism about this article actually came from one of the main interviewees in it: Ayed Fadel, the owner of Kabareet nightspot. He wrote:

First of all I think that this interview was my last interview ever, I am done with media!! In Arabic we say KHALLASNA !

I actually found this piece disturbing. It refers to certain aspects and neglects so many others that I personally mentioned during the interview, it portrays the modern Palestinian in a “Western” image that comforts white readers and make them say, “oh, they’re just like us!” Well no, we’re nothing like them, in fact, we’re very different and deep into the shit, and having to portray us in this image is insulting.

On the other hand, I do agree our community has developed and evolved and I love going to the places mentioned in this article, they feel like home, and because they feel like home, it’s disturbing the way they were illustrated.
While I do understand the writer and what she tried to convey, and I appreciate the effort being put in investigating this topic, but it’s a wider topic than this, and can’t be summarized in one article, there are so many points missing, crucial ones, that the lack of them make this article shallow, offensive and degrading.

Plus on that 90% of the interview we were talking about how the culture of the cultural resistance is growing and taking a place in so many levels, such as music, art, spaces etc. And how the Palestinian underground scene is getting bigger and bigger and full of creativity and how literally it is being a place full of intelligence and rebel agenda.

About quoting me: “We want a gay couple to go to the dance floor and kiss each other, and nobody to even look at them, this is the new Palestinian society we are aiming for.” Yes I did say that, but it was a whole build up for the conversation until I reached this sentence, and I was actually trying to explain how Haifa became a place where everyone can feel safe and comfortable, so I used one of the most extremist views that our society could accept. Also mentioning the Kooz queer film festival that we hosted without mentioning that one of the most important topics in it was the Israeli pink washing- IS MISLEADING – especially when I’ve been totally used as a “pink washer” with the quote above!!

I don’ know if what I am writing now is even enough to cover all what have been written in this article, but hopefully that could explain the situation and make it more clear that it was another trap by the white media, that is always trying to show us as the cool yay hipsters full of tattoos and piercings – far away from the grounded reality that we are facing and fighting every day!

We agreed to do this, thinking the results would be different, but they weren’t. Last chance given to white media and media in general, next time we’ll be more cautious, and we don’t allow anyone to categorize us under ” Israeli City of Haifa, a Liberal Palestinian Culture Blossoms” – dear editor, please liberate your liberalism aspects.

While he has a point in some of his criticism towards this article(like the pink-washing part), I found it funny to see that while he’s claiming that they’re not at all like western hipsters, he’s responding to this article exactly in a way that a western hipster would react.

In general, his complaining about the exclusion of his political agenda from the article is kind of silly. After all, this was an article about the Palestinian nightlife culture in Haifa, and not about political activism.

Also, unlike what’s implied from his comment, I really didn’t feel at all that this article is intended to give the Israeli government a pat-on-back for being soooo liberal and soooo accepting towards ethnic and sexual minorities, but rather to describe the special and relatively tolerant environment in Haifa city – which is quite unique both for the Jewish and the Arab societies in the Holy Land.

The funniest part, though, was when the guy wrote:

“this interview was my last interview ever, I am done with media!”

Dude, I have no doubt that the thousands of “white-press” reporters that were counting on interviewing you would be deeply disappointed!

Well, I think that’s all with Dead City Radio for today, kids! And remember:

All nationalisms are imaginary!

 

Netflix, you daredevil!

Okay, let’s take a break from all the musicdrinking, and nightlife stuff for a bit, for something entirely different:

New and awesome netflix TV adaptation of Daredevil!

Yeah, it’s time to reveal my geeky side: I have a soft spot for comic-books. Specially for the superhero genre. Those funny costumes, the secret identities, the crazy story-lines, and specially the individualistic motif of “one man can make a difference” – that’s my poison. I love it in my comic-books, just as much as I’d love it on my large and small screen. But the only problem is, that usually most of the live-action adaptations of superhero comic-books are shitty as fuck.


For those of you who not so well-acquainted with this, I’ll explain(experts may skip this paragraph): In the comic-book world, there are two main publishing-giants: MARVEL(which is mostly famous for titles like Captain AmericaSpider-Man, X-men, Iron-Man, and The Incredible Hulk),  and DC(which is mostly notable for titles like Superman, Batman, Wonder-Woman, Green Lantern, Green Arrow and The Flash). However, while being pretty impressive in the cartoon and comics field, in what’s concerning the live-action adaptations – both companies seem to be in competition about who will inspire the shittiest movie/TV-series, while still making ridicules loads of money from it.

Surprisingly, that’s not the case with the new “Marvel’s Daredevil” series.

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Well, you could expect from a series about a blind Irish-American superhero from the slams to be a bit special. But on the other hand, the movie with the same name that came out in the previous decade wasn’t too impressive for my taste.

However, unlike other currently running series of the genre(i.e. Flash, Arrow, and even Gotham) – Daredevil actually DO have a well-developed characters and intriguing plot, But most importantly, the series breaks some of the most common stereotypes of the genre. Here’s a few notable examples:

Highly graphical violence

One of the first differences that I’ve noticed in the Daredevil series from most of other superhero shows, is the much higher level of depicted violence to which it is usually accustomed in this genre. One interesting comment that I read online even said that a certain extremely violent scene in the end of chapter #4, wouldn’t have any chance of appearing in a similar series for a conventional TV-channel. I totally agree with that. Luckily for us, Daredevil was produced directly for the Netflix streaming service – which probably saved it from the need to go through much of bureaucracy and censorship that it would have faced on a regular TV channel. Also, a series that is produced directly for internet streaming, is not limited by a TV-channel’s busy schedule, which can sometimes push it to uncomfortable time-slots that would force it to lose a lot of its edgieness in order to survive the battle for rating.

No boobs

While not being at all too conservative in depiction of violence, when it comes to sex and sensuality, the Daredevil series kept a surprisingly low profile. Just think about it: practically all currently running superhero series feature a decent dose of hot chicks in sexy outfits, low cleavages, or in general partially naked scenes. In comparison to that – despite of having 3 extremely attractive ladies in the cast(one of which already participated in some provocative scenes in the True Blood series) Daredevil kept quite a modest score on the pornographic part. There is only one, purely symbolic, female topless scene(episode #1, and no boobs are shown), and there’s virtually no sex scenes(there are two after-sex scenes, but it doesn’t count). It could be that the producers just didn’t want to follow the bad example of other TV-shows that are overusing sexuality and provocative sex scenes to attract viewers’ attention(i.e. “It’s not Porn, it’s HBO”), or maybe it’s a consideration with the fact that Daredevil, after all, is a Catholic superhero.

Marvel's Daredevil. The closest thing to boobs you're gonna see there.

Marvel’s Daredevil. The closest thing to boobs you’re gonna see there.

In any case, whatever the reason for this “puritanism” may be – I totally approve it. I am too a little bit sick of all the pornography fashion in the TV series. Some say that in our overly noisy world, silence is louder than a scream… In the same way, I believe that these days, actually avoiding of sex depiction in a series can be much more subversive and innovative, than the most sexually provocative scene on-screen.

Question authority

In most known to me TV and cinema productions of this genre, superheroes had various kinds of relationships with the authorities. In some cases, it was mutual respect and cooperation – like in Batman/Gordon relationship. In other cases it’s disapproval and suspicion like Lance/Green-Arrow dynamics(in the first seasons of Arrow). However, I can’t recall even one other case where the law authorities were depicted so vastly and almost hopelessly corrupted as they were shown in the Daredevil series. I see great importance in this, as I believe that such depictions help develop a healthy critical thinking – which is very important for promoting civil action to make a better society for us all.

Besides that, even though the series was filmed long before the Baltimore Riots, it’s hard not to feel the same mistrust of authorities, and specifically police, that is echoing in this series. By this, may it be intended or not, Daredevil series truly represents the spirit of its time.

Sympathy for the devil

It’s really pisses me off that I even need to mention such elementary fact: if you want to have a good story, you need to have a fucking good villain. I’d be surprised if it’s not one of the first things that they teach at screen-writing schools, and creative-writing workshops. It’s not enough for the villain to be evil – he needs to be someone who can capture the viewers’ imagination, to make them at least partly understand him, and maybe even to feel for him. He needs to be a multi-layered, well-developed character. Not just “a bad guy”. Nevertheless, it keeps me amazed how many action movies/series miserably fail to follow such a basic rule.

Luckily, that’s not the case in the Daredevil series. Actually, the main nemesis of Daredevil, the crime-lord Wilson Fisk(a.k.a Kingpin, brilliantly played by Vincent D’Onofrio), gave maybe the best supervillain performance since the late Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight. In both cases it was a rare combination of pretty good script lines, character history, and masterful actor performance.

Actually, even more than that: the character of the Joker was just a complete and beautiful madness. A madness, that can’t be fully comprehended by a sane person – only appreciated for its beautiful decadence. Fisk, on the other hand, was more a combination of fearful strength and touching vulnerability. And Just like the Joker’s character partly stole the show from Batman, Fisk’s character also partly stole the show from the Daredevil. In some points of the plot, I must admit, he even made me want him to win.

Another thing that makes it even more ironic, is that the major love story in the series so far(we speak about first season) is actually the love story of Wilson Fisk and the art gallery curator Vanessa Marianna(played by the Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer). There is amazing contrast between the love-sick Fisk, and the cold-hearten criminal-mastermind.

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D’Onofrio as Fisk. Best supervillain role I ever seen.


Credit: 9GAG

So to sum things up: yeah, indeed, indeed Daredevil was almost, ALMOST perfect. The only thing that spoiled it was the season’s finale – and if you want to read my bitching about it, just scroll below, but be warned: there are spoilers.


Okay, so about the last episode(better to read it after you watch it):


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