The Idiom

Can You Grok It? Free Grokistan!

Saturday, August 20, 2005


The internet has bequeathed to us a whole new vocabulary and set of acronyms, critical to us over-users of IM who are looking for ways to cut down on the typing. Consider lol, btw, and iirc.

Enter a new one from Iraq, sos.

Not “Save Our Ship” but rather “Standing Over Shoulder.”

The liberation of Iraq has given young people there access to communication with each other by means not allowed to them previously; cell phones and the internet.

Despite the fact that Iraq is a relatively more cosmopolitan society than most others in the Arab world, it is still one where traditional tribal values still hold the populace in a deadly grip.

As a result of these traditional values, it is difficult for young people to subvert authority figures and engage in activity thought to be “improper” by their elders. This is especially true for young women, and their contact with young men is severely limited by their extended family.

But with the widespread adoption of IM, young people have a means of communication with each other outside the eyes and ears of their elders. They can talk about all manner of improper things!

But when a parent or other authority figure wanders by, the participant quickly changes the subject to homework or school or something innocuous, adding the cryptic tag “sos.”

Instantly understood by their partner on the other end, it slips unnoticed by the old fogeys checking up on the youngsters, until they go away and the all clear “nsos – No Standing Over Shoulder” signals a return to the conversation.

Freedom is not always about an epic, newsworthy event like the adoption of a constitution. Often times, freedom comes in little nugget-like chunks. Just a little innocuous thing that expands Liberty just that much more. And it is in this fashion, one little chunk at a time, that we will wear down the enemy and defeat him.

Kid Various has always believed in an informal law that a country’s level of freedom is proportional to its adoption of rock and roll.*

The reason that Rock has survived in the West is because it is the original expression of rebellion for most youngsters. Every generation latches on to rock and roll and puts its own spin on it. Because we, in the West, need to be able to say “No Dad, screw you! I have to do it my way!”

Rock is about you, and your girl, your car and traveling down that open road to the destiny of your making. Rock is about being dissatisfied with your present circumstances. It’s about yelling “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!

Therefore, Great Britain is a free society because Johnny Rotten can snarl:

God save the queen
She aint no human being
There is no future
In England's dreaming

Don't be told what you want
Don't be told what you need
There's no future no future
No future for you

Azerbaijan? Where all the youth listen to is bland euro or arab-pop? Not free.

Which is why it heartens the Kid to see things like this starting to spring up in the Arab world:


*We used to listen to Rock and Roll. Now we listen to Rock. Whatever happened to Roll, man? It's the same feeling I get walking through Sears wondering what they did with Roebuck... -- George Carlin


At Thursday, October 6, 2005 at 2:39:00 AM EDT, Blogger Jack Naka said...

Cool blog you have going here, I will check in often! I have a similar site about teen fashion. It pretty much covers teen fashion related stuff.


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