August 2008 archive

Cultural trends: Techtonic dancing

I always knew that the moment will come when I will officially feel old, and that moment will be the moment the younger generation creates a dance that separates my generation from theirs. Sounds weird, measuring age with dancing, but I am telling you, it works. Every generation has a different way of dancing than its predecessor, and through it shines the cultural values and aims of that generation, and they will be ones that are totally alien to us. The dance that proves the generational disconnect. And now this dance is here, and it's called Techtonic dancing. I first heard of it from my friend Martina, who is 23 by the way, who told me that "kids these days are doing some crazy dance. It looks like they are having epileptic seizures!". Ignoring the fact that she is using the term "kids these days" and when she turned 23 yesterday, I was intrigued, so naturally I checked it out on youtube and voila, I knew that the moment of cultural disconnect has arrived.

Let me elaborate: When you look at dancing throughout the last 60 years, you could definitely notice serious changes in the way people danced and infer from it some conclusions on the cultural changes that took place because of it. For example, the dancing in the 50's and the majority of the 60's was a considered more than just dancing: It was a social activity. It's where you met girls and what you did on dates. You were not considered fruity if you knew how to dance a number of dances, hell, the more dances you knew the more sex appeal you had with women, i.e. the more manly you were. And those dances were team effort: the woman had to be as good as a dancer as you for the dance to work, which lead many of that generation to have dancing partners and train with them. My dad used to tell me that he would sometimes spend 5 hours with his new girl practicing the new dance so that they wouldn't be out of place in the clubs. And while dancing back then was "innocent" it had various sexual themes and undertones: lots of holding and swinging and swaying. And that was that generation.

Then came the next generation, the 70's generation, and that's when dancing was separated into two arenas: the Hippie heavily sexualized manic dancing, and the Disco dancing (i.e. Saturday night fever style), but you still had dance partners for the disco side of things and you still had to practice with them. And then came the glorious 80's, where you didn't need to know how to dance at all. You just needed to be able to repeat one move over and over again, but that was still the type of dancing you needed to do with a female, unlike break dancing, which was the beginning of individual effort dancing, although people still did it in groups. This eventually lead to the 90's, where 3 trends of popular dance sprung out: 1)Pop/Hiphop , 2) Rap and 3)Techno. Pop/Hiphop continued on the path of 80's club dancing, but with major improvement: your moves were less manic and more smooth, and you knew 3 or 4 dance moves and didn't need more than that to impress the girl you were dancing with, you just needed to know the two-step dance, some Spanish swinging and dancing and you were ok. Rap was also with partners, but it didn't require much of you to dance it: you just needed to able to grind pelvises with a girl's booty for hours on end. It was the most honest music at the time, because it didn't have sexual undertones, IT WAS SEXUAL, and in a very overt way. Even the music, it wasn't "I wanna hold you on a mountain", it was "back that ass up!". Rap was the male agenda personified, and at its most honest. And then there was Techno, which combined the disco feel with the break-dancing individualism, but still required people to dance around you. The beat was more jumpy than sexual, but it turned sexual quickly, thanks to the fantastic drug habits of people who do enjoy techno dancing.

And then we had the 00's generation, and the great merger between Rap and pop/hiphop started, with the kids of that generation skipping knowing the 3 or 4 dance moves- a move joyfully hailed by white guys everywhere- and instead being quite happy to just grab a girl by her waist and grind the night away, to her father's dismay of course. That was the generation that decided not to leave anything to the imagination, and were aware of their sexuality since they were 12 or something. At that time Techno dancing thrived, died, re-invented itself, did 3 backflips and expanded in 600 directions, bringing us finally to the dance that I have mentioned early on: Techtonic dancing.

Now here is a video for techtonic dancing, please watch it (and ignore the Michael Jackson parts) and please take note of a number of things. Number 1: It's a very solitary dance. No one dance techtonic in pairs or in groups. It has very much the spirit of the individual effort that made break dancing so significant. Number 2: The age of the dancers- In all the videos, I have never found anyone dancing this dance that looks like they crossed into their 20's, and the video
tutorials for it on youtube are all done by kids that look between 12 and 16 year olds, not to mention the tons of videos of young school kids from all walks of life dancing it on the street. This is purely a younger generational thing. And Number 3: the lack of sexual context. This is not about picking girls at all. This has no gender roles. This is a purely androgynous dance, and it seems designed to stay this way. One could come up with a million theories and explanation to why that is( generation used to using the internet, connects and plays with his friends on it thus doesn't need to feel connected to people and is always comfortable with isolation and disconnect, bombarded with sexual images and sexuality since they are young, truly being accustomed to gender and sexual orientation equality and even gender bending in terms of clothing and grooming behavior, etc..etc..), but that's not my place. I am no anthropologist. I am just letting you know that this is happening. And how do I really know that this is a generational shift you may ask? Well, simple, look at the tutorials, does it seem likely to you to learn how to dance this way and go to the clubs and dance this dance? No? Too old to do so? Welcome to the generational shift my friend. Congratulations: you are officially old.

Now have a nice day!

On the Susan Tamim murder

This is the story that's the talk of the town in Egypt these days. There is this Lebanese female pop singer, who got killed in a hotel room in Dubai. The Dubai police being super good at what they do, they figured out that the murderers were two egyptians, one of them working in hotel security, and the other a state-security officer. The twist, however, lies in their confession, that they were paid to do it, by no other than Egypt's premiere real estate Tycoon and MP Hesham Talaat Mustapha. Interestingly enough, the moment his name got mentioned, an official gag-order on the press was issued by egyptian state-security, and stories of apartments and villas being distributed on journalists all over egypt to keep their mouths shut and create opposite rumors were all over the place. The first one being spread was that this is all a set-up caused by Ahmed Ezz, the Steel Tycoon and Gamal Mubarak's right-hand-man. But even that proved problematic, because Ezz also has his pull, so the conspiracy is now changed to having Dubai-people being behind the set-up, specifically the EMAAR group who also work in real-estate and are entering heavily into the egyptian market. You see, those evil dubaians wanted to control the egyptian market, so they set him up for murder so that they can control it. I bet if we wait long enough we will find some jews involved in this. That train is never late.

That being said, the man is in real trouble, because the UAE people want to extradite the egyptians arrested for the murder and try them there. And if they do, well, Dubai's legal system isn't as corrupt as the egyptian one and their judges aren;t exactly for sale, so he will get fucked. And since he doesn't want to get fucked, he has been using his lackey's to promote two ideas: 1) to not allow their extradition to dubai, in the name of national pride, and offer to try them right here. And since he knows this will fail, because, well, the government never gave a fuck over national pride before, and we are not gonna start having it now for 2 murderers, he is going for option 2) Spreading the news that they are really tightening security over the two suspects out of fear they commit suicide. How do they know they might commit suicide? Was there a psychologist involved? No? You have no tangible proof or reasoning for them to commit suicide before the trial you say? Oh, you are just saying that so we can be psychologically ready when they do get killed in prison "commit suicide", right? Very clever. Very sly. Also disgusting and unethical, but then again, you are the egytian government and media. Disgusting and unethical is what you do best. No surprise there.

This should be interesting though, because Ezz really hates Mustapha, and the battle of wills and influence between those two men should be very interesting. Maybe we will find out if Ezz truly is Egypt's most powerful man or not. And it might be in Ezz's best interest to make sure that Mustapha does go tp prison, because now all of Egypt knows he did kill that girl -she did steal form him like 1.5 million dollars the story goes- and if he gets away with it, then he is the businessman who got away with murder, and not just any murder, the murder of a celebrity in another country. No one will dare cross a man like that again. Would you? I wouldn't. God knows how much more empowered he would feel if he did get away with it. 

We are gonna witness some very interesting days ahead.

Mahmoud Darwish dies, Hamas acts snooty

I have been at the beach for the majority of last week, so the news of Mahmoud Darwish's death didn't reach me until I arrived on monday. In case any of you are wondering who he is or what the big deal is, and it is a big deal, even for our fruity internet no-poetry-reading generation , well, his story is right here . Some of it anyway. Either way, our boy Darwish was an ardent communist, and god bless his heart, he wasn't like today's communists who cozy up to religious fundamentalists, so quite naturally Hamas hated his ass. They hated his ass even more after he published his recent poem lampooning them and Khaled Mesh3al, titled the Prophets of Gaza. Here is its text:

 أنبياء غزة

لولا الحياء والظلام، لزرت غزة، دون أن أعرف الطريق إلى بيت أبي سفيان الجديد، ولا اسم النبي الجديد
ولولا أن محمداً هو خاتم الأنبياء، لصار لكل عصابةٍ نبيّ، ولكل صحابيّ ميليشيا
أعجبنا حزيران في ذكراه الأربعين: إن لم نجد مَنْ يهزمنا ثانيةً هزمنا أنفسنا بأيدينا لئلا ننسى
مهما نظرتَ في عينيّ.. فلن تجد نظرتي هناك. خَطَفَتْها فضيحة
قلبي ليس لي… ولا لأحد. لقد استقلَّ عني، دون أن يصبح حجراً
هل يعرفُ مَنْ يهتفُ على جثة ضحيّته – أخيه: (الله أكبر) أنه كافر إذ يرى الله على صورته هو: أصغرَ من كائنٍ بشريٍّ سويِّ التكوين ؟
أخفى السجينُ، الطامحُ إلى وراثة السجن، ابتسامةَ النصر عن الكاميرا. لكنه لم يفلح في كبح السعادة السائلة من عينيه
رُبَّما لأن النصّ المتعجِّل كان أَقوى من المُمثِّل
ما حاجتنا للنرجس، ما دمنا فلسطينيين
وما دمنا لا نعرف الفرق بين الجامع والجامعة، لأنهما من جذر لغوي واحد، فما حاجتنا للدولة… ما دامت هي والأيام إلى مصير واحد ؟
لافتة كبيرة على باب نادٍ ليليٍّ: نرحب بالفلسطينيين العائدين من المعركة. الدخول مجاناً .. وخمرتنا لا تُسْكِر
لا أستطيع الدفاع عن حقي في العمل، ماسحَ أحذيةٍ على الأرصفة
لأن من حقّ زبائني أن يعتبروني لصَّ أحذية ـ هكذا قال لي أستاذ جامعة
أنا والغريب على ابن عمِّي. وأنا وابن عمِّي على أَخي. وأَنا وشيخي عليَّ
هذا هو الدرس الأول في التربية الوطنية الجديدة، في أقبية الظلام
من يدخل الجنة أولا ً؟ مَنْ مات برصاص العدو، أم مَنْ مات برصاص الأخ ؟
بعض الفقهاء يقول: رُبَّ عَدُوٍّ لك ولدته أمّك
لا يغيظني الأصوليون، فهم مؤمنون على طريقتهم الخاصة، ولكن، يغيظني
أنصارهم العلمانيون، وأَنصارهم الملحدون الذين لا يؤمنون إلاّ بدين وحيد:
صورهم في التلفزيون
سألني: هل يدافع حارس جائع عن دارٍ سافر صاحبها، لقضاء إجازته الصيفية في الريفيرا الفرنسية أو الايطالية.. لا فرق؟
قُلْتُ: لا يدافع
وسألني: هل أنا + أنا = اثنين ؟
قلت: أنت وأنت أقلُّ من واحد

Since I am not going to translate this poem (I don't possess the english proficiency or literary prowess to actually do that), Let me just assure you that it's ripping Hamas a new asshole and making fun of its supporters and leaders, calling Mesh3el "the prisoner whose ambition is to inherit the prison", Lamenting the fundies insistence that the Mosque and University are equal in terms of education (the two arabic words describing them come from the same root) and expresses his deep anger at the secular and atheist supporters of Hamas, whom he believes only care about getting their faces on Television. So, yeah, our boy is no fan of hamas, and Hamas knew it, but they also knew how popular he is amongst the palestinian population, so they couldn't really go out and insult him, so they did it underhandedly: Mesh3el came out and said that Darwish's loss is a serious one for the palestinian people, but palestine can give birth to 10 Mahmoud Darwish's . So, really, not a big deal his death. Move along people. Nothing to see here. Don't get on our forums though: we call him an apostate there.

Ahh, I love me an angry fundie, and especially those who anger him in style.

RIP Mahmoud Darwish! 

Are you done?

All of you noticed that I haven't updated this blog in a while, and many of you wonderd if I was ok. I was, I was just too disgusted with what was going on in my comment section to even contemplate writing here at all. I have never seen this much hate in my life, and I am accustomed to hatemail and vicious comments from trolls. This had reached such a level that I am seriously contemplating closing down the comment feature. I don't want to, and my belief in free-speech compels me not to delete the comments or ban those who are doing it, but if this goes on I will shut this whole thing down.

If you have valid points of discussion, please have them out in the open. If you are going to use colorfull language to make the point, then please do use them, but NO PERSONAL INSULTS OR BIGGOTTED COMMENTS, oh, and if you have a conflict with another comment poster, then please, exchange e-mails, and commence to hate each other in back and forth e-mail. I don't care who started it, I don't care if they deserved your response or not, I don't even care if you think each other to be skidmarks in the underpants of humanity, I don't want to see it. KEEP IT TO YOURSELVES.

Hope we understand one another!

SM 

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