Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The View 

We get three English language channels at home. All of them have Arabic subtitles. One is a pretty decent movie channel, the second is a European news channel that has great international news coverage (and subsequently is pretty hard on U.S. foreign policy). The third is like a typical big network channel in the U.S. like CBS or actually probably more like Fox. The typical daytime programming includes soap operas, re-runs of Friends and my new least favorite show "The View." It took me coming to the Middle East to watch an entire episode of this horrific daytime talk show. How Barbara Walter can sit around with these four idiots is beyond me. The older redhead is the only one with half a brain.

Today they showed a rerun from the summer. In the first five minutes they touted the benefits of plastic surgery, decided Linda Ronstadt should have been thrown out of a Vegas casino for dedicating a song for Michael Moore (when the redhead mentioned free speech the young, pregnant blonde said "don't other people have the right of free speech to not have to hear her say that?"), they listened to Joan Rivers talk about how she was getting fat (up to 98lbs. from her usual feeble 85lbs.), and none of them could understand why people were upset that Arnold Schwartzeneger had called California legislators "Girly Men" for not supporting his proposed budget.

On a seemingly unrelated not, yesterday I went to the pharmacy to re-fill a prescription. I greeted the clerk with "Marhaba" (an Arabic hello). I then asked for my prescription in English (which she spoke perfectly) and as I was leaving I said "Maa Salama" (goodbye/with peace). Surprised, the pharmacist asked me if I spoke Arabic. I told her no, that I had been here for a week but was trying to learn what I could. She looked at me quixotically and replied "you are learning Arabic? you must be a smart American."

I impressed someone by knowing two words of Arabic. Come to think of it, I also witnessed the surprise of Jordanians when my American boyfriend jokes with them in Arabic far beyond my words of greeting.

So that's another strike for us. I guess Americans living in Jordan typically don't even learn how to say even two common words that impressed the pharmacist so much.

Between our redneck administration, our apathetic expatriates and our quality overseas programming how can we expect anyone in the rest of the world not think Americans are idiots? It is embarrassing.... But at least we still have Linda Ronstadt.


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