Online Since 2004.

Month: April 2013

How the Jordanian Government Killed the Metal Scene

I am not, never was, and probably will never be into heavy metal music. As much as I love hard rock like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and others, heavy metal is just not my type.

But I like music. I like culture. I love it when people have ideas and they express these ideas in their own way. I don’t care if I don’t find heavy metal particularly awesome; I’m happy to acknowledge that it’s awesome for other people. In a society as suffocating as ours, I also appreciate social circles that allow different kinds of people to feel safe when they’re being themselves.

The metal scene in Jordan did all of those things.

Once upon a time.

Then the Jordanian government shot it down, after falling prey to some crappy journalism in local media.

Here’s a great mini-movie about the now-dead Jordanian metal scene:

I recommend that you watch it (and I never make video recommendations). It’s a beautiful and sad exploration of how our culture kills everything that doesn’t conform.

I was never really involved in the metal scene, but I did check it out a few times in 2005 and 2006. It was strange. It was different. It was beautiful.

Then it died.

Jordan’s Armed Forces at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo

We really, really need to see more of Jordan’s marching bands locally.

Imagine if all the beautiful things you see in this march like the attention to detail, orderliness, celebration of cultural differences within Jordan, etc. became a part of every Jordanian.

And so said the visuals: a collection of designs from Jordan

I was exploring Facebook’s new user interface for profiles, and my eye kept drifting to the avatars of the pages that people “Liked”.

Then I found myself becoming obsessed with how the people, brands, and musicians of Jordan represent themselves visually on Facebook. So I started collecting, drawing completely unscientific parallels, and looking for patterns where they probably don’t exist.

So much red
So much rage in the icons of people
So much black and white, together
So much text set in circles
So much typography
So much grunge

design from Jordan

The Horror of Life Without Labaneh

Good labaneh is easily one of the best things about being Jordanian. Starting the morning with labaneh dipped in delicious local olive oil and freshly-made pita bread is the recipe for a happy day. Or a labaneh sandwich toasted on Seb with cucumbers and fresh mint. Or medium-fried eggs with labaneh on the side. Definitions of joy.

Labaneh really is very important. It’s almost up there in terms of importance with jobneh beida, and just a bit above zaatar. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, but jobneh beida (white cheese), labaneh (strained yogurt), and zaatar (thyme) are the three resources that stop the Levant from self-imploding, especially in light of our lack of more useful resources.

I don’t know how I came upon this Wikipedia page today about strained yogurt, and I am not sure of how correct it is. But it horrified me. Brothers and sisters from the Levant and Greece, it seems like we’re the only people lucky enough to enjoy labaneh as a solid part of our culinary tradition. The rest of the world is missing out.

Or maybe labaneh is the cause of trouble?

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