Lima Al-Azzeh

Modern Arabs in the Internet Age

In Cultural Anomalies on February 27, 2012 at 1:07 am

Oh memes. The source of so much whacky internet hilarity and oddities, and now there’s one for Arabs too! I always felt a tad guilty at my constant poking fun at my own culture, or really just illuminating how ridiculous my peoples can be. But, thanks to a couple of sites I have newly discovered I am now much relieved to know that there are others out there, just like myself, who find being an Arab a rather funny affair. 

What do hairpiece, herpes and Yasser Arafat have in common?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before!

The actual answer is no where near what you’d imagine (unless you’re hardcore into devising internet memes or have already seen this brilliant use of animated gifs in action).

From the wits that brought you bacon or beer can, I now present to you Yasser Arafat in “Hairpiece” or “Herpes” [Click on image to be taken to the site and explore the genius that is this joke, then come back here for further reading…]

Upon discovering this, I promptly sent a link to it to my sister who very quickly replied, “OH MY GOD I’M SHOWING THIS TO EVERYONE I KNOW!” and surely, they got a really big laugh out of it. I’m not sure if it’s funny to just Arabs, or funny to anyone-who’s-mildly-interested-in-the-news kind of thing, but let me tell you, as an Arab this is a real tickler.

Arab Memes

My very own mini-me (read: cousin) turned me on to a nifty Tumblr called Arab Memes. In full disclosure, I was slightly ashamed that I sooner learned of the Inbred Cats phenomenon than I did of one that was about my very own peoples. Several of these jokes had me laughing embarrassingly out-of-nowhere loud on public transit as I perused them on my phone. Here are a few of my favourites that, I feel, perfectly encapsulate all that is ridiculous about my culture:

Masterfully concocted by Omar Ayloush

This absolutely, positively, most definitely will be elaborated on in a future blog post and that is: the paradox of the salon (living room) that is too nice to actually use and that us kids were NEVER allowed to step foot in, nay, look at.

This question has made for awkward moments galore growing up. Actually, the awkward moments persist to this day whenever the custom of cheek kissing ensues.

Modern Anglo-Arab and the Art of Chatting with other Arabs in the Internet Age

This is no recent phenomenon, but it seems that the birth of the internet once gave rise to a new style of communication amongst modern, net-savvy Arabs: Anglo-Arab speak. Here, we’ve devised a clever way to replace certain Arabic letters with numbers, framed by English letters, in order to represent an Arabic word. Take the following comment on the Arab Memes Facebook Page wherein one fan attempts to provide another fan with some posting instructions:

@ hussein I haid the same problem lezem tekbos l “standard” button byotla3lak l typing box

Allow me to deconstruct this for you:

lezem tekbos = “You must press”. In Arabic this would appear as such:  لازم إكبس *

byotla3lak =” It will get you”, “it will give you”, “it will appear”. In Arabic this would appear as such: يعطيك *

All told, what this fan is generously advising @hussein is that he must press the “standard” button which will then provide him with the text box.

Et voila, modern Anglo-Arab defined. My university rhetorics professor would have surely given me an A+ for this observation.

And there you have it, a short post capturing the evolution of modern Arabs making fun of themselves on the internet.

The world, and the web, just got a little less lonely.

* These are the best translations I could find on Google Translator and aren’t 100% accurate. 
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