Standing up to stand-ups
by Marwan Al Husayni | Apr 28,2012 | 22:43
Rajae Qawas is an excellent Jordanian stand-up comedian. He is skillful, surprising and connected to the themes that are of strong importance to the youth and community. Rajae is also bold in his criticism of negative trends and behaviours. His bits are hilarious and his comic scenes are well designed and performed. His lines are carefully chosen.
Rajae is well networked through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other media. He has thousands of web fans, followers and commentators. His clips, posts, photos and jokes are widespread among a considerable number of the Jordanian youth.
In few words, he is a Jordanian success; an icon of modern, technological and artistic fulfillment. Yet, he is not successful for just being wired or funny. The best phrase to describe his magic is that “he makes us laugh”. Spontaneous true laughs stem out of our realities which he manages in shaping into simple, direct and funny treatments.
The not-so-funny treatments one witness those days in Jordan and the Arab sphere comes from whom I call: the stand-up politicians. They are a group of wired persons who call themselves politicians and have a good presence on social media and news websites. Yet, they are not connected to their societies and the peoples’ causes. Instead, they are steered by their personal interests at the expense of the public interest.
The stand-up politician, unlike the stand-up comedian, seeks to spread himself, his photos and his name regardless of the content that holds these personal signs. Any microphone and forum suit him, whatever was the occasion or the theme of the discussion. He is his own agenda; the setting and the subject are marginal.
I make this comparison to point out a dangerous mind-set that does not stop producing harmful, unscientific and uninformed trends which mislead the public opinion in the Arab world.
Nevertheless, this mind-set always find its hothousing and breeding environments in various fields, whether politics, religion, economy, media, government, private sector, civil society or even education.
Stand-up thinking is a curse virus that is still infecting the collective mind of our social, political and economic structures though the cure is obvious. Science, logic, research and scientific standards and measures are part of the healing process among many other considerations.
In 2012, the mythological mind-set which accepts the metaphysical explanation of daily life must be refused in our race towards personal freedoms, citizenship and the rule of law.
The uninformed political or economic decisions or laws must be something of the past if we, as individuals, want to participate in the ongoing processes and movements of reform. We have to reject the ignorant stand-up and chat based talks, lectures and seminars and show no support to their self-promoting actors.
There is a need on our part, as individuals and members of the broad society, to stand up in the face of all sorts of stand-ups, except, of course, for stand-up comedy.
Stand-up politics, stand-up parties and even stand-up think tanks will lead our societies and state structures to more deteriorating status.
Qawas makes me laugh; the others push me to cry.
The writer is media strategist, interfaith and intercultural specialist. He contributed this article to The Jordan Times.