Monday, March 15, 2010

Stranger Joins The 21st Century

For my birthday a couple of weeks ago, BE splashed out and got me one of these:

How cool is that? I kind of started coveting iPhones when I found out about the baby apps, but I mostly got over it with time.

Let me give some context here. For one thing, I'm pretty much a technological idiot. Fortunately, a gorilla (or a 3-year-old, for that matter) can easily work an iPhone because all you have to do is poke the screen to make it go. For another thing, I've never felt any compulsion whatsoever to have the latest gadget. Prior to getting the iPhone, I'd never owned, or even touched an iPod or any other iProduct. I still buy CDs and I'm fine with that. I still have a big box of cassettes in my parents' basement that I've had neither the time nor inclination to convert to digital, and my parents are probably less fine with that than they let on.

Once I'd unlocked the mysteries of iPhone syncing and gotten over the annoying qualities of that word, and once I'd quit wondering why it has to be called "syncing" instead of "loading" or some other term I'm already familiar with, I downloaded the free lightsaber app. Then I managed to get some music into the iPod bit, and then I found some free apps for babies and grown-ups. After that I found a bunch of ridiculous ringtones that no one but people like me who are easily amazed would actually use in real life. My favorite is the Muzak Imperial March from Star Wars.

Stuck in another generation, anyone? Also my kid has a Beatles T-shirt and knows all the Beatles' first names as well as which Beatles are no longer with us. We're working on surnames. The sad part is that the Beatles aren't even my generation. Star Wars is a stretch because I was 4 when the first one came out, though I remember going to see it in the theater. I thought the movie was all about the droids.

So far, LE thinks the iPhone is his. BE is intensely jealous. Turkcell wouldn't give him one because he paid his bills late a few times. Punished! BE can use the iPhone whenever he wants but LE is allowed only closely supervised contact with no booger fingers. The iPhone actually causes more tantrums than providing distraction from tantrums and I don't want it to get punched or thrown like my old phone, which required some special treatment just to make it so you could hear the other person speaking.

So. After a couple of weeks of heavy topics around here, I'm appealing to my dear readers for lighter iPhone-related information because I'm definitely in the Dark Ages with this one, and whatever I read on the Internet about it just gives me a headache.

First, when I initially got the iPhone I was able to access YouTube through the app or whatever it is that came with the phone. Then suddenly I couldn't anymore. Why is that? How can I get it back?

Next, what cool apps can you recommend?

Thanking you in advance. I'm off to curl up in bed with the iPhone for a few rounds of free Mastermind.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Dear Aliye Hanım,

I found out today you go by your middle name. Please forgive the error.

In my previous letter I said you had a reasonable-looking face. I hereby retract that statement. There's nothing reasonable about you. You're a nutjob, just like the rest of your colleagues. Not like I didn't know that already, but I now regret having said something nice.

I changed my mind because of today's Hürriyet, and the comments you managed to slip into the middle of that silly interview about your upbringing and taste in fashion.

"Aliye Kavaf, "Ben eşcinselliğin biyolojik bir bozukluk, bir hastalık olduğuna inanıyorum. Tedavi edilmesi gereken bir şey bence" diye konuştu."

Aliye Kavaf said, "I believe homosexuality is a biological disorder, a sickness. I think something should be done to treat it."

What exactly, Aliye Hanım, do you propose should be done to "treat" homosexuality? I would love to hear your opinions about this because you clearly are such an authority on the topic. Does your "treatment plan" involve electricity or religious intervention? Perhaps you've seen A Clockwork Orange. It worked in the movie, maybe you arrange could try it on some folks here?

Then there's this, from a couple weeks back.

Also in today's Hürriyet was a report that 4 in 10 Turkish women have been treated violently by men. So it's good to know you're out there riding the gay-bashing train.

Priorities again. Well done.

This is you.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Irritating TV: An Open Letter To Selma Aliye Kavaf

Dear Selma Hanım,

When I first read about you over on Nomad's blog and in the "news" I imagined you must look something like this:

Then I did a little research, and I discovered you look like this:

Which means you have a much kinder and more reasonable face than I originally thought.

But seriously, when you go around censoring kissing on TV can you blame me for thinking you would look like some pious and pale Victorian battleaxe with a stick up her bottom?

Let me quote from the Zaman article I linked to above, and let my readers see which picture of you gets painted in their heads:

"Just last Friday, Family and Women’s Affairs Minister Selma Aliye Kavaf said she was very irritated by the “erotic” scenes in the series..."

So you find kissing on TV irritating, do you? Irritating? So that means you (an appointed government official) get to dictate what people may and may not watch on TV based on what irritates you?

Here's my idea. How about make me the Minister of Family and Women's Affairs for a day and let me ban everything on TV that irritates me. Here's my list:

*The sudden and startling volume increases when a program cuts to commercial.

*Cuts to commercial at exactly the wrong time.

*Perfectly good foreign programs spoiled by poorly-acted dubbing. First, I want to ban all dubbing with a woman listlessly going "Eeeeeehhhhh" while the woman on TV is clearly screaming bloody murder. Next, I want to get rid of all dubbing where children's voices are done by women speaking in a nasal falsetto with teddy-bear speech impediments.

*All talk/news/magazine programs that are just three or more people all shouting over each other the whole time, and two of those people (one of whom is usually the moderator) saying nothing but "Bi' şey söyleyebilir miyim?Bi' şey söyleyebilir miyim?"

*Sensodyne commercials with the "real-life" dentists talking about sensitive teeth. Those make me want to go out and punch a dentist, which is arguably more dangerous than kissing.

*Children's TV stations that have 30-minute commercial segments for every 15 minutes of programming. Because of these, LE desperately wants Coco Puffs (way worse for kids than kissing), a Mouse-Trap type game that's much too advanced for him, and a pink tent with fairies on it (I don't mind, but I'm sure the Traditional Family Values camp might find something worrying about this).

*Children's stations that mostly show Japanese cartoon characters kicking the shit out of each other. When LE watches people kissing on TV, do you know what he does? He kisses me. When LE watches people and animals kicking the shit out of each other, you know what he does? He kicks me. Which is the negative example? The former, according to you, Selma Hanım.

What with the blurry cigarettes and no kissing and my list of things that irritate the hell out of me, there'd be nothing left to watch on TV at all.

Here's what I can't figure out. With all the problems affecting women and families, how is it you have so much time on your hands to watch kissing on TV, get irritated by it, then go through the whole rigmarole of banning it? I'm talking about problems like domestic violence. Honor killings. Lack of family planning education. Child labor. Poverty. The hordes of free-range street kids. Public education and the state of the schools. Pre-natal care. Childhood nutrition. I'm sure I've missed some things, but I think you can see where I'm going here. All of these things should be way more irritating for you than kissing on TV, especially because you're the Minister of FAMILY and WOMEN'S Affairs. I lose sleep over some of these problems, myself. Maybe it's from watching too much kissing?

But apparently you're losing sleep over stuff too. In the above-mentioned Zaman article, you went on to note:

"...that such scenes were a factor in encouraging people to become sexually active at very young ages. A recent report prepared by the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that people become sexually active in Turkey as early as 13. “I am very disturbed about such scenes,” Kavaf said."

Wow. As young as 13? How many of those 13 year olds are girls forced into marriage by their families? And out of the total number of kids having sex in Turkey, how many of them are 13? I somehow doubt it's a large enough percentage to warrant this sort of action. Sex ed in school might be helpful, but somehow I suspect that's not next on your To Do list.

But it's the kissing on TV that disturbs you. Truly you are a woman who's got her priorities straight.

Selma Hanım, I hope your reasonable appearance isn't as misleading as it would seem. Don't be a Victorian battleaxe and let us have our TV tongue-kissing back. You have this position of power. Maybe you should think about making your mark on this earth by doing something that matters.

With all due respect,

P.S. You know how there are all those anti-AKP folks with the slippery slope theories about AKP's insidious plan to make Turkey an Islamic Republic? Well, things like this are totally not helping AKP's attempts to act like they're dispelling these "myths."