Guest post #3: An anonymous source in Iraq
Thanks to the sender, who is a Sgt. over in Iraq and wishes to remain anonymous.
The 80's in Iraq
People are naturally curious, though it varies in degrees based upon the
size of the event in question. When a new neighbor moves in on your street,
you're pretty curious - who is he? What's he do for a living? How's he at
barbecue? Does he molest children? Standard stuff.
The curiosity is intensified, but in the same vein, when an occupying army
moves into your neighborhood. First off, there's the not-so-small matter of
hoards of folks in their late teens and early 20s running around the area
with guns. That's a matter of interest.
Also of interest is the fact that they've just kicked the ass of almost
everybody that's ever caused pain in your life. I'm sure you'd consider that
But they're also just foreigners, from a strange land, that you've heard so
little about, excepting lies the local demons have spread. They've been
places you've never been, barely heard of. That's interesting, too.
All of which is to explain how I ended up discussing 80s pop music with a
bunch of Iraqis a few months ago.
"Madonna! You know Madonna? Very good, yes?"
Boys, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but Madonna hasn't exactly
covered herself in glory recently. If it were up to her, y'all'd've never
gotten out of the hurt locker.
But I didn't tell them that.
They certainly dress like it's the 80s around here. (By that, I mean like
they raided the costume department for Weird Science, etc.) I actually saw
an Iraqi child walking around in one of my favorite t-shirts from childhood,
something from the gift shop of a Chicago planetarium. What a trip, uh?
Now that the embargo's over, and there's a large infusion of Americans on,
uh, "work visas" (the blessed green ID card), it's possible that Iraqis will
receive an infusion of pop culture, old and new. Evidence of this is already
cropping up - Britney Spears is as popular on posters over here as in the
States, if harder to find.
But there's too much "pop" and not enough "culture," if you want my opinion.
Let's go back to the Material Girl, for example.
Her message of loose sexual morals may not be the best thing in the world,
but I think it beats the burkaburkaburka! policy.
Well, they could steal worse from us than Madonna and Britney. (I'm thinking
of Jerry Lewis.) Here's to the future.