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The "Seinfeld of Saudi Arabia"

"[This video] explores the idea Western “cultural invasion” into Saudi Arabia, and satirizes Saudi views of America in the process. The influence of Western, particularly American, culture is a big, touchy topic in much of the world, with people torn between their love of Michael Jackson and their desire to patronize compatriots over foreigners. It’s about national pride and about preserving one’s own culture.  For English captions (click the little 'CC' button in the bottom-right corner after pressing play).


Skip to about 3:15 to see the segment on the Western 'cultural invasion' of Saudi Arabia and, appropriately, a very funny bit on attempting a 'reverse cultural invasion' of Saudi cultural in America."

--Max Fisher in the Washington Post

Seth Dixon's insight:

Given that Saudi Arabia's government is a strict theocratic kingdom, many people imagine that those ideas and values are representative of the general population and imagine austere and unyielding personalities.  This video shows something we ratherly see in the West, local humor from Saudi Arabia that critiques their own cultural institutions.


Tags: Saudi Arabia, Middle East, globalization, culture.

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Jess Pitrone's comment, April 29, 2013 9:42 PM
Throughout the world, American pop culture is what defines us, and it is definitely what we use to define ourselves, as well. When we look to other countries, we look to see what their popular culture is like and compare it to our own. I love this video because I think that it is poking fun at both American popular culture and Saudi culture. Where American pop culture is so large and all encompassing, Saudi pop culture is small and not nearly as significant in defining its people.
When we, as Americans, see Saudi Arabians, we see a repressed culture, but just because they don’t have the pop culture that we have, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have a distinct identity. Obviously the Saudis have a distinct identity, and obviously they aren’t afraid to poke fun at what Americans think of their culture.
Peter Siner's comment, April 30, 2013 9:29 AM
It seems as though throughout history there have always been tendencies for the Middle East to fall under a westernized mindset. Organizations and rulers throughout Middle Eastern history had challenged this idea. However, especially in todays society we are seeing a shift where the people of the middle east are becoming more and more accepting of westernized practices. The biggest hump however seems to be overcoming the religious boundaries that tie down the Middle East to its traditional ways. This process of westernization is not one that can be completed over night and it will most certainly be a very slow process that takes the time and effort of the people to make it happen. We are already seeing popular westernized culture integrate with the traditional culture of the middle east. With time, it is almost inevitable for the views of the western world to completely influence the people especially since the younger generations are so willing to change.
Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, March 19, 10:15 AM

This is a fun video.  I like it because it exposes an Arab man for being just like any other American.  His comedy is good and it shows that Arabs are just like anyone of us.  Many times, lately, in America Arabs are pictured as being unforgiving, always serious, and ruthless people.  La Yekthar shows us the side of a Saudi comedian that we probably wouldn't see in mainstream American media.

 

I loved how the comedy was essentially a "roast" of his own culture, which shows that they are not much different than us.  The fact of the matter is that we have to be critical of our media.  Most people in the world are very similar to each other.  Yes, there are extremists and bad people in every ethnic group, but the bottom line is that they only make up a very small minority of a population.   I wish the media would focus as much on positive aspects of a foreign country as they do the negatives.

Geography Education
Global news with a spatial perspective:  Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon