Monday, April 30, 2007

blogger plays truant

anybody know a swell definition of what's a good life?

Monday, April 16, 2007

symbols and dead kids

there was a huge rally protesting the premier's rather inarticulate desire and ambition to become president this weekend in the capital. according to reports, the tandoğan square in ankara, just a stone's throw from atatürk's mausoleum, the anıtkabir, turned into a "sea of flags" while hundreds of thousands declared fealty to the republican ideal of secularism.

the moderate and hardline pro-islamic pro-government front contended, rather than through counter-rallies, by verbally denouncing and decrying the secularists' assembly and hanging posters, banners etc. that urged national will as reflected in parliament to prevail in electing the head of state.

while thousands were demonstrating in ankara, a tragedy of catastrophic proportions was lived only 150 miles away in aksaray, where more than 30 schoolchildren and their parents on their way to visit cappadocia were killed when their bus collided with a truck.

the bodies of the casualties were laid to rest with a doleful ceremony in izmir, their point of origin. hundreds, maybe thousands attended. the coffins were draped in turkish flags, too.

question one: if we had spent half the mental effort we do over such high matters as contemplating and arguing how our holy and hallowed state must be run as on such mundane matters like why turkish drivers are world-record breakers in deadly accidents or on why norms supposed to order social life along rational principles, are worth less than the bureaucratic paper they are written on especially in traffic (though not much better in any other area either); could it be possible that neither the rally nor the ceremony might be necessary?

question two: of course participating in others' joy and sorrow is an exemplary act of social solidarity and empathy is a noble feeling. i only have praise for those people who left the sunday comfort of their homes to attend the funeral of the unfortunate victims. however, the question has nothing to do with individuals and their goodwill in this case. should we, instead of stately manifestations such as "ceremonial" gatherings or demonstrations, exalt ultimately less grandiose but more productive achievements as good organization, might it be possible that we would not have to gather to weep collectively after the mass annihilation of our children?

question three: the flag is the simplest symbol of allegiance there is. it is so simple that even the most nescient individuals in a certain society can realize their identification with what the flag signifies. therefore, an exaggerated display of the simplest symbol also manifests itself as a subliminal uncertainty about what it denotes. besides, as symbols, by nature can only convey meanings in their most rudimentary, they can hardly supplant the communication of ideas by words.

so, is it a coincidence that the place of non-verbal signs and tokens are far more pronounced in the third world, compared to societies based on rationality which essentially rely on words? then, as a corollary, instead of trying to impose our truth/message on a situation by means of overwhelming yet obscure symbolisms, could we avoid confrontations and even collisions through sensible and intelligible exchange of ideas, even idiosyncrasies and obstinacies?

Monday, April 09, 2007

peeing in dark trousers

i am not a tv gazer, i am a terribly accomplished zapper.

simply put, regular shows and programs on the tube boooooooore me to death and subsequent multiple reincarnations within 90 seconds. not limited to our very own turkish broadcasting -this morning i spent a full two minutes or so looking at and listening to a chick on the bbc, who, planting flowers and assorted vegetation in a garden, uttered about 1000 words a second, all of them quite familiar, and wove them into a sound cocktail actually saying nothing of substance.
i can't even stand conan o'brien any more. worse, with few exceptions, movies feel toooooo looooong and only a handful of seres/serials are watchable.

but zapping is a good method of sampling what is on show. skip the gibberish and football crap instantly, linger a moment to hear a question asked or a comment, stop there a while if the going is good and you do patchwork a sociological picture of the goings on. however, as far as the turkish stations are concerned, the presidential election, for the american and british channels, the war and the plight of muslims in the west have already lasted longer than the endless and ultimately unviewable young and restless. especially when it comes to tayyib bey's aspired ascent to çankaya; oh lords of fire and ire! have words ever been so completely exhausted out of meaningful ideas and insight! how can so many tongue-hours (*) be spent without a single spark of inspiration slipping through some lips at least?

and then there was a show sunday, which i indeed stuck to for five minutes or so, just for purposes of scientifc methodology, where the recent hyperbole about an alleged and suppressed coup attempt in 2004 against tayyib bey's government. the show, was hosted by
derya sazak of milliyet, whom i know from his rookie days in ankara, fuat keyman, an academic of sorts plagued with the occupational malady of being enamored with his own voice; and alper görmüş, chief editor of nokta which published alleged pages from an alleged journal, allegedly kept by the-then-navy-chief-of-staff allegedly recounting the alleged putsch. keyman spent all that time and probably more speculating about an alleged coup and alleged that it never happened because it allegedly could not have happened!

such epic and universal waste of resources in epidemic proportions, supposing that at least some people do watch those shows, is a devastating revelation of the cerebral levels homo sapiens sapiens has collectively attained but i am past the point where i could feel any social responsability or compunction about that. rather, i am usually amused (bemused?) by the pathetic wisdom that apparently mesmerizes the speakers themselves.

they remind me of what my dear old friend, elder and partner in various crimes, distinguished professor dr. tevfik dalgıç, currently of the university of dallas, would tell his students about immaterial accomplishments: "it's like peeing in dark colored trousers, nobody notices anything but you get a warm feeling anyway..."

(*) no, you haven't caught me watching. i know the shows take a lifetime because i keep zapping all around all that while.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

kid playing with the loaded gun

it's only days before turkey hails its 12th president. of one dozen chiefs of the nation, only a few were elected rather than "approved" by the grand national assembly. turgut özal's ascent to the position was rather tumultuous, süleyman demirel's less so; but none raised a ruckus like tayyib bey's trials.

my opinion of the man is already obvious - he is not up to par for running anything bigger than a small black sea town and that only because it will keep him busy and out of much mischief.

however, under the current settings, tayyib bey -though i hate that it is so- has every right in the book to climb to çankaya, the seat of the top state job since atatürk. if a man is good enough to be premier, he is good enough to become president, too. if you are afraid that his somewhat pedestrian religious, political etc. standing is detrimental to the well being of the state and or the nation, you should have the democratic mechanisms, principles, practices and habits in place even before he started climbing the first rungs of the ladder. not having that, you tried to do it on the edge of a bayonet and the jab you gave him made him spring to the top.

the ongoing blast against tayyib bey's presidency is that if the top seat falls to the islamists, too, there will be nothing to check their controlled march toward sharia in turkey. sorry, but it was not tayyib bey who ordered this constitution or one of his fans who drafted it for the generals; nor were he or his cohorts in the assembly that passed it before the 92 percent majority of the voting public approved it for fear the generals would not leave if the bill was rejected. oh, the authors of the putsch had no real intention of leaving the helm anyway. with the constituiton in effect, some "general", not necessarily military, was supposed to eternally sit at çankaya and safeguard the holy state's interests against such malfeasants like commies or fundamenties. the whole idea then, exactly 25 years ago, was to prevent what is happening right now from happening!

it simply did not work out that way and now you got a kid playing with daddy's loaded gun in the hall!