Friday, December 21, 2012

In the Beginning Was... The World

My toddler nephew has an obsession.

His "zizi."

In other words, the male organ of copulation, also used for urine excretion.

Well. Not entirely. All he wants to know is whether or not everyone else, including his mother, father, aunt, grandmother, uncle's fiance, baby cousin, the gardener, the car down the street, or the neighbor's bicycle has one too.

So he inquires, of course, rather randomly, and persistently, and of course, the answer is always ready, as well as the subject that is supposed to come right after the answer that came after the inquiry, nicely prepared to move the attention away from the question.

Discussing the weather for instance is a fairly weak subject with which to distract a two-year-old. Fondling a brightly lit Christmas tree, with breakable ornaments hung from its thick plastic branches, on the other hand, is not.

Apparently, say the experts, (actually I'm totally making this up), the idea is not to give too much attention to this fixation. The experts; you know, those faceless entities that write fancy articles with the intention of sounding like they know particular things. They also tend to enjoy defining the word "normal." And its antonym, "abnormal." From a scale of 1, to a zillion and three.

Ah, the empowerment that male children can't help but arrive at, thanks to the world's endorsement of it.

So anyway, the idea is not to dwell and just move on.

Just like when he playfully utters the word "shit" or "fuck," thanks to mindless adult rhetoric, it is fundamental that the adult not give any attention to this "mishap" and carry on with the day, like the miracle that it is. Apparently It is very important to communicate that the toddler's genitalia, this organ he finds absolutely fascinating, is really NOT the most important discovery in this whole wide, and reproductive-fixated, world.  It is a good idea, psychology implores, to tell the toddler, rather gently, that no, his "zizi" is really not that incredible or shocking, nor is it for public inspection.

The toddler will, of course, look up at you, with his big round eyes of Spring (kindly refer to Note #85 ), find you dull and stuffy, feel sorry for you for a few minutes, at which point he will decide to humor you for a couple of hours or days. Until the next round of further inquiry.

If you ask me, I don't think it's a big deal really. It's not like it's the end of the world, is it?

Actually it is. And as I sit snugly in my Lazy Boy seat, popcorn bowl in my lap, I wait patiently for all things to fall apart. Then I faintly recall Achebe's novel title, the plot of which I remember nothing. That's how thrilled I am about this event.

Luckily I live in Dubai. Where I can watch the whole thing crumble from the safety of my own cushy corner. No batteries or duct tape necessary. I can sit here and rock the damn seat back and forth and observe, while the festive tree laughs its blinking lights off at the sheer anticipation.

And then I come across this yesterday in the news:

"Cultural entropy, which is the level of dysfunctional, toxic or destructive energy people feel in a country, was at just 12 per cent in the UAE compared to 72 per cent in Venezuela, 63 per cent in Iceland and 60 per cent in Argentina. The UK, France and the US witnessed cultural entropy levels of 59 per cent, 57 per cent and 56 per cent respectively. Elements that contribute to cultural entropy, according to the service was people’s view of bureaucracy, blame, corruption, materialism, environmental pollution and aggression in their country."

Something about "shared values connect human beings beyond race, religion, politics and gender. And "human societies" that "grow and develop to the extent that we are able to reduce fear, build trust and increase love by reaching a common understanding of our shared values.”  And that "the low level of cultural entropy and high level of similarity currently experienced signals that people in the UAE feel that the society is on the right track."

V. insightful.

Thanks to "shared" values, apparently, we've been able to reduce fear, build trust and increase love. In Dubai, where an anonymous artist randomly sprays lines of graffiti on concrete walls.  Thoughts like, "All these lights, and nothing to display."

Amen is what I say to that.

Yes, that's us. As opposed to the rest of world, right?  The one that will end today, goodness knows at what hour and in which continent the conclusion will begin, I think we've also achieved these three things. Only not in that order necessarily. I think we've managed quite brilliantly, thanks to the shared value of: consumerism, to reduce: love, increase: fear and build: a lot of skyscrapers.

And speaking of "zizi," the organ which we keep telling my curious nephew women don't have, I think it's high time we changed that response. At least women have balls. If nothing else.

Which is more than a lot of us can say about the men in this Arab speaking region, post Arab "spring."

Like Egyptian activist Alia Mahdi, today, who stripped naked in Stockholm, in front of the Egyptian Embassy, and used her body as a medium to write her thoughts about a reformed Egypt. She used her naked body to prove a point, if nothing else. Which none of the Arab world will of course get. They will only see a publicly naked woman, which to them, means a whore who deserves slaying and raping and plundering, and an outrageous and scandalous initiative, which means, well, an outrageous and scandalous initiative.

The Arab speaking world will use their eyes only to see that yes, the world definitely ends today, there's that whorish Arab woman again, whose naked body is all over the news.

I think the world begins today. There's that stubborn Arab activist again, whose naked body that speaks volumes, is all over the news.

I hope my nephew will grow up to be half as courageous as women like her, and with the help of the right level of "scandalous behavior-supporting" family, he'll get over his fixation, and by the time he's her age, this penis-obsessed world would've grown new eyes.

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