The War on Vice
By: Pierre Abisaab
Published Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Playing the conservative card is an effective technique that sometimes contributes to the success of a TV show or in promoting a political official. The magic formula requires playing on the ambiguous relationship between attraction and repulsion that connects us as human beings to taboos.
As such, in the middle of a crisis, “virtue” is evoked to distract people and “shocking” stories and “disgraceful” actions are looked to for a few extra boos of condemnation from good citizens gathered around a sheikh of a Sufi order or... sitting in front of the TV.
Then comes the one who stabs at the demon of fornication and vice with his holy spear. We breathe a sigh of relief and everything returns to normal. This demon is sex in that moment when it leaves secrecy and intimacy to become a spectacle, the moment it escapes the framework it is expected to abide within.
In the last television season, parasitic media outfits in Lebanon launched a new fad, and that is incitement against “suspect” movie theaters where “homosexuality and prostitution” are practiced, after a media institution informs on them or catches them live on camera.
The funniest part of the story is that the TV station in question claims to be liberal and open-minded, so much so that it is tolerant of Israel and its supporters under the rubric of defending freedom of expression.
But this “freedom” ended at the doors of that infamous cinema in Tripoli three months ago and those of its counterpart in Nabaa, which the pioneering station covered live as security forces stormed it Saturday evening and shut it down after arresting 36 moviegoers on flimsy charges.
The problem lies within a law that allows for destroying the dignity of people who can not afford the luxury or good looks of that “future” MP.
The organization Helem is getting ready to issue a statement of condemnation signed by associations and civil society figures.
Helem’s former executive director, Georges Azzi, used his Facebook page to launch a new idea in Lebanon, polemical in that “it assaults freedom to defend it.” This idea is known in the West as “outing” and it entails exposing closet gay figures, who are in the public eye, in politics, the media, etc., who have contributed in some way to infringing on the rights of gays and lesbians or promoted homophobia through their behavior or positions.
Is it time to start playing this game?
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.