Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lebanese genius

I have written before about the phenomenon of Lebanese genius: it has several components. It first claims that the Lebanese people are somewhat genetically superior to their neighbors and that they are as superior in "stock" as...the White Man. It is a complex, really. Another component of it is the notion that every Lebanese, especially when he or she travels abroad, shows exceptional skills and talents that so impress the White Man. The problems with this myth are obvious but I argue that it should be urgently discarded: not only because it carries more than a tinge of racism but it places burdensome pressures on every Lebanese who travels to prove to his family and kinsfolk that he/she has made a great discovery--usually "inventing" a cure for cancer. So yesterday, I saw a clip from an interview with the Lebanese musician Walid Ghulmiyyah. He is a talented musician who made great songs back in the 1960s and early 1970s: I particularly like his songs for Fadwa `Ubayd and his one song for Sabah: "May God preserve Lebanon for us." So Ghulmiyyah (in the interview with LBC-TV) was bragging about his composions of musical scores for films. He said that he composed 7 or 8 socres. He was asked what was the most famous film for which you composed a score. He said: it was an MGM film starring David Niven and titled Passport to Oblivion. Personally, I am always suspicious of Lebanese claims to fame or fabrications of greatness. So I looked on the internet (which was invented by Lebanese deputy, Niqula Fattush--I am sure), and found that there was no film by that name but that the book with that title was made into a film with the title Where the Spies Are. I examined the credits to see no mention alas of Walid Ghulmiyyah. I was supposed to be grading and writing but the waste of my time on this yesterday was all worth it. Good night.