Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Meet The Desertly Dunebillies

Come listen to a story about a man named Jed, a poor mountaineer barely kept his family fed, then one day he was shooting at some food, and up through the ground came a bubbling crude.

Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea.

These lyrics aren't just the banjo-smokin' theme song from an old TV show The Beverly Hillbillies. They're also the story of what happened in Arabia in the 1930's. Unfortunately, the Desertly Dunebillies didn't make corn whisky or kiss scantily-clad, mightily-endowed cousins. Still, they did have clan feuds and new oil money.

The film Black Gold is based on a book The Great Thirst by Hans Ruesch. Tahar Rahim plays a young Arab prince torn between his ancient-culture-loving father (Mark Strong) and his modern-technology-loving guardian (Antonio Banderas). Both mentors offer valid points about what would be best for the society's future.

The movie provides sweeping desert landscapes and thought-provoking concerns. However, it also includes cheesy accents and cheap shots. There is an emphatic pronouncement that Americans visiting Arabia only want to talk about money. This is true for a couple reasons: 1) many Americans are unquenchably thirsty for money because they don't know how to be content and 2) many Arabs are too insecure about ideas to let people who wanna discuss other topics visit in peace. For example, rights advocates wanna talk about women's educational opportunities and spiritual advocates (missionaries) wanna talk about Jesus or Buddha.

Arabs who are man enough to take as well as dish out cultural criticism are urged to write stories for this manly editor. We love Islam here. Those who can't tolerate differing views are urged to accept the fact that they're not really strong men but only hypersensitive women with beards. Let your wife drive before you hurt someone.

Full disclosure: I was deported from Saudi Arabia after attempting to show a lovely voluptuous princess how to do a "traditional Christmas goose." I still fantasize about returning to guide her through the steps of a "traditional Christmas stuffing."

1 comment:

  1. I haven't heard of the movie yet, but I'll have to look into it.

    And it's a part of the world I find strangely fascinating.