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    Thursday, May 27, 2010

    MTV - "True" Life..

    Recently, MTV Arabia released a new part in it's True Life series, discussing sensitive social issues of Saudi Arabia..

    Honestly, am not very decided on how much i like (or hate) the show in general, or this segment in specific.. It took social networks by storm, and everyone posting the links with either their full support, disgust or neutrality.. It did stimulate the fuss intended, afterall, MTV is a profit earning company with a certain target, and that they achieved..

    But, how much were they "Right on the money"?

    At first glance, i really didn't know how to react to the videos.. The main direction of the videos were not clear, since they were halfway in between targeting core social issues and being provocative to how we should approach them.. I loved it, at first, but then the general direction and premise of the video, however, annoyed me.. Some things were manipulated and given a form of it's own..

    Feeding off the people's lack of understanding of some religious stand points on certain issues (some of which are the ones discussed above), and using that weakness to provoke the youth to rebel against it.. To Saudi Arabia, and many of it's citizens, the line between what's traditional law and what's Sharia law is blurry.. Not one side seems to understand the separation between the two..

    Are we supposed to rebel against man-made traditions? (the Abaya color and design, women rights in general)
    ..or Are we supposed to rebel against Sharia? (premarital intimate relationships)

    The video does not indicate those lines, nor does it help provoke open discussion of those lines.. It's just presenting the lives of four "courageous" people who chose to "Resist the Power".. Either they're confused on what's religious and what's not (Aziz), or they have a clear focus on what the problem is and how it should be addressed (the others, so far, since the show isn't complete yet)

    For example, I oppose the idea of the Abaya as an "Islamic dress code" because, it's simply not.. Islam is pretty clear about the head vail, but what about the dress code?

    Islam asks us to be modest in the way we dress (nothing tight or revealing), and we should avoid any dress that attracts sexual attraction or attention.. In Islam, it applies to both sexes, yet in Saudi Arabia, Women are the sex objects, and thus must be tamed by a dress, while Men must be shunned for having a penis..

    Then again, i just want to clear that it's not the message that i had a problem with, it's the way it was presented.. The dialogue was nothing close to constructive, nor did it seem to aim for gradual reform.. This "In your Face" approach works to a certain extent, given that we should have enough brain power to push the agenda all the way to the end.. Something we seem to need more than to overwhelm ourselves with the number of problems, rather than addressing what made those problems surface..

    In the end, i guess it's just Mtv being Mtv, supporting any counter culture to their targeted demographic.. Mtv's agenda is clear, and having an Arabia channel is not any different.. To me, Mtv is the counter culture mainstream rapists who seek nothing but money, by all means necessary (any publicity is good publicity).. Even if it means being popular amongst a completely confused demographic (quite a big number in this country)..

    Because of our general negligence we have towards these issues, socially and/or governmentally, we're reaping the results of having such youth.. Some of which i feel proud to be amongst (miracles), and some i feel like knocking some reality sense into..

    I can speak for hours on this issue, so i'll stop here..

    What about you? Any Thoughts?


    [update: Read the extended version of this blog here]


    1. Thank you for posting this Lou. I've been following people's comments about this video online and have wanted to write a review about this video ever since it started streaming and will post it as soon as it's ready. Thanks again for paving the way.

      Yousef Alshaikh

    2. Lou,how about u break down the four parts?

    3. I already wrote half of it yesterday, and i posted it today as soon as i finish editing..

      I had to make sure of some points before, and came to interesting results..

    4. Hey Lou read your blog, very well written. I need your help with some ideas. I am looking to initiate a show that focuses on Women Rights - that would and need to cover how to eradicate this heinous act from our society such as rape, domestic violence, child abuse, gender inequality etc. at certain places. It would also be covering other societal issues that we all can rectify tog...ether. It would be on MTV. I need something that would keep the viewers interest with music and at the same time we educate the society and the youth.
      Cause if we target the youth then we have a better chance of pushing these unwanted acts out of our society. Please come inn with as many ideas as you can. send me an email on . Thank you :)
      Even all the visitors like me to this page. may email me :)

    5. MTV's credibility in being pure about their intents is pretty much questionable, and you want to work on a project for them?

      Am not sure I get your point..