What do Ed Lee, John Avalos, cats and a strange dancing man have in common?   Leave a comment

Something I did not see until after I voted, was the first ever political campaign video that did not feature any political substance. It is very likely that if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area you have seen or heard of the “Ed Lee, too legit to quit” video.

This video is a sad example of how social media is being used to sway judgment away from the politics and issues and focus on how “cool” a candidate can be – with backing from MC Hammer, how can one resist the temptation to vote for this awesome dude? Now some of the other hopefuls for mayor have stood united in the opposition of Ed Lee, and have accused him of money laundering. Even SF Public Defender, Jeff Adachi, who was also running for mayor, has said that “Ed Lee is using his $2.6 million dollar war chest to knowingly and deliberately violate our City’s campaign ethics laws.” So, using city funds to make popular YouTube videos is the new way to win an election…

Below are some numbers:
>393,000: Number of hits on Ed Lee’s 2L2Q video shortly after the election
<1000: Number of hits on John Avalos’ video for bid for mayor
<3000: Number of hits on John Avalos’ video talking about the Occupy movement (which is supposedly more popular than the mayoral race)
>30,000,000: Funny Cats video
>40,000,000:  Video about a guy doing a silly dance around the world.

Conclusions:
1. Cats are more popular than Ed Lee.
2. Matt (the dancing guy) makes people smile more than cats. (I even had tears the first time I watched that video… more on that later)
3. John Avalos needs to hire a better video making crew. And use cats. And dance. All around San Francisco. I would vouch for that video. Twice even.

Also…
I am anxiously awaiting the next reality show, which will pit political contenders against one-another while America calls a number to vote on their favorite. I believe the FOX network is already working on it… God Bless America.

Politically Correct Racism – Please use the correct term to offend me   Leave a comment

Several weeks ago someone called me an Arab. Now, some people may call this individual ignorant, others may label him as illiterate, dumb, racist, a few may even call him intelligent, smart and observant since he was basing the comment purely on the fact that I told him that my parents were born in India and I spent my teenage years in Pakistan. Mind you, I am not offended by that comment. I’m just left very curious. What led him to believe that people with affiliations to India and Pakistan are Arab? I could blame the Fox News Network, his 5th(9th?) grade geography teacher or the fact that the US has not officially gone to war with either of those countries in his lifetime, hence he does not know that they are well over 1000 miles away from the land of the Arabs.

Whatever the case may be, I am almost resigned to the fact that the majority of Americans will see me as an Arab. The stigma that is attached with the connotation of being an Arab in the USA is … well, it just plain sucks. Supposedly, they are the ones that felled the Twin Towers (They mention “The Arabs…”), they are the ones that control the majority of the oil reserves in the world, they treat their women with disrespect and fight the Holy War against the West. These allegations stem from one other bit of information that I would have to characterize with the “mis” prefix (thus calling it misinformation). This bit of misinformation being that Arab and Muslim are synonymous; being a follower of the Islamic faith would automatically make you an Arab. This, in my opinion, is one of the most widely accepted falsisms in the Western world.

The word Arab means someone of Arabic descent, someone who hails from Saudi Arabia, Palestine, the United Arab Emirates or more generally the middle east and Arabian Peninsula. Basically being an Arab can be perceived as pertaining to a specific culture wherein those people speak the Arabic language. Most Arabs will agree that the language, and not the religion, is what gives them a common ground. A Muslim, on the other hand, is someone who practices or follows the Islamic religion. All Arabs are not Muslims and all Muslims are not Arabs. Actually, about 7-10 percent of Arabs are actually Arab Christians; yes, Christians that are Arabs, now how does that fit into Anne Coulter‘s view of  “the government should be spying on all Arabs” – I believe she means to say Muslims, not Arabs. What about the Rabbi who wanted all the Arabs killed (and their cattle?), does that include all the Arab Jews too?

Seriously, American Media, if you are going to be teach your citizens to be prejudiced, please use the correct terminology and persecute people’s religion and not their culture.

Posted September 6, 2010 by Adnan Iftekhar in Brown Men, Misconception, Muslim, Religion

3 reasons to write. Or rather, brown men, TV Shows and Microsoft.   Leave a comment

Why write? I have been asking myself that question for a while now and late one night I actually sat down and wrote some of the reasons that swelled up. Well, it is perhaps more just a flow of thought; ramblings to be precise, on why I personally have chosen to start writing:

  1. When a finger is pointed to a brown man walking down the street with clean black shoes incriminating him as a terrorist before even realizing that he might just have spent too much time in the sun this past summer is what prompted me to even contemplate the idea of sharing my thoughts in a written medium. So, that explains my purely altruistic need to start the writing process. As far as the actual act of sitting, or rather, laying down, and writing – well, read on…
  2. I do not recall many dreams but one I had just this morning is a big reason I am taking pen to paper. Wait, do people still do that in this day and age? I’m talking about using cliches in their writing, not the actual act of taking pen to paper. We all know that no one dreams of taking pen to paper – how horrid is that thought, pen … and … paper? Well, back to the dreaming. I was being tortured and made to write a magazine article and if I did not do it they would tear out my nails one by one – yes, too many seasons of 24 and Dexter intertwined are finally making me remember dreams that seem almost as nonsensical as this hopefully semi-coherent agglomeration of words and thoughts that I am spewing late at night. Dreams alone really do not have the power to make me do much, especially write. The most compelling reason, this evening, is actually number 3.
  3. I’m lazy. Yes, that’s right, you saw it correctly – I described myself as lazy. I’m laying in bed doing research on teaching a yoga workshop in Karachi when I got the famed “beach ball of death”. On a side note, why would you even characterize the rainbow pinwheel that so beautifully cavorts across the screen as something so obscene? Damn you, Apple! Back to the story – the beach ball continues its’ cavorting for some time and finally transforms into a harmless black pointed arrow, but the web page still has not loaded. I have full bars on my Airport, the signal is strong – the modem must need resetting but I cannot make myself walk the 100 or so steps to the modem and turn it off and then back on again. I could reboot my laptop, but no – that would take too much time as I only happen to do that about once a month. It would also mean that I would have to quit seven applications that I currently have open, three of which happen to be made by Microsoft and I know they do not like being quit upon. Microsoft applications are very much like sentient beings. You have to be kind to them or they will make your life a living hell. I guess I’ll switch over to word and open a blank document. I keep command tabbing to Firefox just to make sure that my interpretation of what has happened is still correct, and yes, it is, so here I am stuck, writing. I hope it’s good. The interpretation, not the writing.

Where was I again – oh yes, brown men. More on that sooner.
Why do you write?

Posted August 1, 2010 by Adnan Iftekhar in Brown Men, Dream, TV Show, Writing