Saturday, May 25, 2013

Gone: The Very Best And Coolest Atatürk Statue Ever

A weird fucking video with a post-suitable 80s tune.

It's been an eventful week in New Byzantium. First AKP was going to restrict alcohol in all kinds of obnoxious, thinly-veiled religious ways. Then everyone got mad and the resulting bill was okay-ish. Stuff that's not a bad idea really, like not selling alcohol at gas stations and increasing fines for drunk driving and lowering the blood alcohol limit for drunk driving. There was other stuff about advertising and labeling and promotions and sponsoring that was suspiciously sucky, but promised not to alter my life in any game-changing ways (nothing worse than the punitive increases in alcohol taxes, I mean).

But then they tacked on some 11th hour changes to the bill that made it so you can't buy alcohol from the shops after 10pm. And I was all "Motherfuckers! I'll tell you where you can't put your fucking ayran," and I started to believe a little bit in the slippery slope story that I've been trying not to believe the whole time I've been here.


And then, since I was reading the newspaper and stuff (which I rarely do because it angries up my blood and makes me want a drink), I came across this other article about how they want to replace the private security at universities with special government forces. You know, to protect earnest students from protestors who  want to "stir up life at universities."

And then, today I was in Taksim. I walked up from Karaköy which is a lot of up, but it's still a cool walk.

Except  today, I must have seen like 1,000 cops with guns and shields and body armor and gas masks. A few of those bulldozer-y police tank things. The police were gathered at the usual spots, but they were also up every  pedestrian side street. They appeared to be doing not much, really. Just sitting around and talking, but not giggling and fooling around like guys usually do. It creeped me the fuck out.

The cops whose faces I saw couldn't have been more than 22.

So all of this is rather hard to swallow. But it's just a warm up for what they've done to the Very Best And Coolest Atatürk Statue Ever. Remember him? Of course you do. He's puttin' on the ritz.

Rocking great statue!

And then do you remember the other day, when he wasn't puttin' on the ritz? It wasn't that long ago so I remember.
Ghosty statue

This is what they've come up with.
WTF, are you serious?
I'm not even sure who to be mad at or what to be mad about.


William Metzker said...

Maybe they thought he looked tipsy in the original version.

Anonymous said...

Nice post. But I think us native speakers of English should lead the way and stop using the "A-word" in reference to beer, wine and liquor. The advertising aspect of the new laws will definitely hurt the independent Turkish wine producers in places like Urla, which have been trying to promote tastings, vineyard tours, etc. Sorry too to hear about the disappearance of the cool Ataturk statue. I wonder what they did with it? Maybe Tayyip wanted it for his office?
- Jeff from Kadikoy

Stranger said...

Why do you think we shouldn't call it alcohol?

We're working on finding out what happened to the statue.

Anonymous said...

I think we should not use the word “alcohol” as shorthand for beer, wine and / or liquor for a couple reasons. First, it’s not accurate; these things are not alcohol. Sure, they contain varying degrees of alcohol – in the case of beer, about 5% (obviously in the case of the hard stuff, more than that). But calling beer “alcohol” is like calling lahmacun “flour” … or “beef.” It’s more accurate to call beer “water” than “alcohol.” Second, it’s a question of syntax and who gets to define the language. “Alcohol” is AKP-speak for western heathenism. And do you ever say to your friends, “hey, let’s go drink alcohol this evening,” or, “when I get home from work, I like to have a nice cold glass of alcohol?” Also, it tends to delegitimize the efforts of the craft. I visited a couple great vineyards in Urla last month (which is why I mentioned it earlier), one was a huge multi-million dollar complex, and the other was a mom and pop type of place. Wine making on the Aegean coast is a tradition that has been around for more than a couple thousand years, and to say that they are simply “making alcohol” down there is sort of insulting.. The same is true for US craft brewers or Belgian monks or whatever. So I say, next time someone asks you if you drink alcohol, say no. Tell them that alcohol is an organic compound that’s often an industrial product. Tell them you drink beer – or wine or spirits. It might simply be disingenuous terminological bullshit – but fuck it, anything to delegitimize any part of the AKP / Islamic mentality is good by me. :)
- Jeff