Tuesday, April 7, 2009


I’ve been occupied. In different ways. But no matter where the whirlwind takes me, at the end of the day I’m back in the classroom with the kids. And even this is different. Almost each time.

The other day we discussed an article about Arab pop music. The title of the article is: “Degenerate Pop: Threat to the Arab Music Renaissance or Mere Sign of the Times?”

With a title like that even my mind goes “whaa??” So I asked them what on earth is the title saying?

“ miss it says like that arab music is getting worst”.

“no but that’s because of western music because arab music wants to copy the west and so it got worst”.

Okay. What does the word degenerate mean?

… Silence …

Well it probably says something’s getting worst in quality when it degenerates … what about the ‘mere signs of the times’ part … and that question mark?

… Silence …

Giggles and chuckles…. “we don’t know miss”

We then read a line that says: “In the Arab world, there are two names for this type of music: the first, shababi, means ‘youthful’, an appropriate name as it is the youth that make this genre of music so popular; and the second, habita, is a derogatory name used by its critics implying ‘low brow’”.

So why is Arab pop music seen this way?

“ well miss cuz like young people today want to see sexy women and nice looking cars and copy the west and they think that’s good music”.

“miss like some people they can’t listen to a song if it doesn’t have a video clip”.

“ like amr diab or like Haifa wehbe cuz she’s hot. But her music says nothing”.

What about Britney Spears?

“she sings like a goat”.

“her music means nothing. She says nothing”.

Then why does she have such a big following? Could it be that people connect with the identity that she represents?

Look at it this way: she has a domestic side – kids, motherhood, a guy who just won’t be a good man to her, problems with family, etc. Hey how many of us don’t know people like that or who struggle with similar things? … and she’s also portrayed as a rebel: a bad girl who doesn’t care to be “good”. Ladies, what’s going on you think?

“but miss like she can’t sing”.

What is music, in this case? An identity, human one, or merely voice and talent?

“ miss I really used to hate Britney Spears but now I like her because I feel for her”.

“ but miss this has nothing to do with our topic”.

(I laugh). Fadi that came so confidently you should make all your comments like that. Why do you say this?

“because either a song is good or bad. Has nothing to do with all these things”.

Absolutely. Good point. Hey sometimes it’s just music.

So okay, what am I talking about then? I’ll get back to the point to make Fadi happy. The point is … Arab pop music. Arab pop music is.

Hey, wait a minute. Why are we talking about Arab pop versus “West” pop music? And what on earth is pop music from the “West”? And what is Arab pop music? Since when did pop music have a national citizenship?

And kids, since when was the world divided in “West” and “Arab”?

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