Saturday, April 25, 2015

#fargobus - an introduction

“Fargo”, marque d’un "bus", ou  precisement du "bus de Ain el Roumaneh" ou "bus du 13 Avril" qui fait partie de l'histoire collective des Libanais etant l’incident qui a fait eclater la guerre. "Fargo" est un projet qui met l'accent sur la culture pop comme un élément de pontage au Liban, un moyen de créer un trait d'union entre les gens qui soutiennent des sections politiques antagonistes au lieu d'un vrai livre d'être utilisé comme un manuel dans les écoles (qui n’existe pas encore parce que les politiciens ne se s’ont toujours pas mis d'accord ce qui est arrivé pendant la guerre). Il tente également de soulever la question de ce qui fait vraiment une identité nationale, en particulier en ces temps troublés.

 “Fargo”, a brand for a “bus”, or more specifically the “Ain el Roumaneh’s bus” or “April 13th bus” which has been part of the collective history of the Lebanese being the incident that launched the war to no return. "Fargo" is a project which focuses on pop culture as a bridging element in Lebanon, a way to create a hyphen between people who support antagonistic political sections in lieu of a real book to be used as a manual in schools (which still does not exist because politicians still did not agree what happened during the war). It also tries to raise the question of what really makes a national identity, specifically in troubled times.

فارغو، اسم لـ "بوسطة" أو "بوسطة عين رمانة و" أو "بوسطة 13 نيسان" وهي جزء لا يتجزأ من التاريخ الجماعي اللبناني. "فارغو" هو مشروع يركز على ثقافة البوب كهمزة وصل في لبنان، وسيلة لخلق صلة بين الاشخاص الذين يدعمون جماعات سياسية متنافرة عوضا عن كتاب تاريخ حقيقي لاستخدام هذه الصلة بمثابة دليل في المدارس (التي لا تزال تفتقر الى هكذا مرجع لأن الطبقة السياسية لا تزال لم تتوافق على نسخة واحدة مما حدث خلال الحرب). وهو محاولة أيضا إلى إكتشاف ما يخلق حقا هوية وطنية، وتحديدا في الأوقات العصيبة.


Friday, April 24, 2015

Eppur si muove: You cannot deny facts

"Eppur si muove" said Galileo Galilei.
"And yet it moves" he uttered as he stomped the ground after being released from house arrest for daring to suggest that the earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around.
Today it s an irrefutable truth.
Also today I will play the part of an organization I hate and despise, namely the SS but sadly the communication industry needs to be scourged from those who have no ethics, no values and are free riders pretending other people's ideas are their own, appropriating them, copying them, pretending they did the creative effort. But SS I shall be for it is "supremely" "sticky" (damn those initial again keep popping up!), to cleanse an industry I joined out of passion and commitment from being an engineer and economist.
You know who you are, and you cannot intimidate me.
You cannot accuse me of that I "slander", "defame" and "denigrate" you for you are doing a better job at this than anyone else can. After all, it is not me whose reputation is dragged in the mud, it is not me who copies ideas and layouts, it is not me who makes every client "guilty by association", it is not me whose name is synonymous to a joke in the market and only those who still not have heard of your petty acts still associate their reputation to yours.
Try as you might this article is not breaking any laws, it is not referring to you by name, it is not stating which acts you have done and still do. I am not a wordsmith for nothing. I can imply without recounting, you might learn a few tricks from me and become an honest advertiser.
But I am here, unwavering, steadfast, relentless in exposing your every ad copied, your every idea taken from someone else. Your sword of Damocles hanging by a horse's hair, ready to fall on you with every misstep, every lie, every fraudulent behavior.
You know who you are, and I am not afraid.
You cannot use your cheap tricks on me. Two can play this game. Of course, how can a person who feels no dignity feel indignation is beyond me, but it is "supremely" "sticky" to understand how you operate anyhow. For your have an illogic of your own, one that allows you to use pitched materials when you used to work at your former employer, one that allows you to look at student portfolios and borrow their ideas, one that allows you to use your previous material - sold or unsold - and recycle it again for newer clients still oblivious of your tricks.
The law forbids me to mention your name or refer explicitly to your moral traits, but still here I am - I will not back down, I will not retreat or shut up.
You screw up again and I will be here again.
You copy again and I will expose you again.
You appropriate other people's ideas and I will tell the world again.
Not just you, anyone else who does this.
Your mistake was to underestimate my commitment to my morals, a word whose meaning you do not even know.
Here I remain, your eternal nemesis. Your constant nightmare. Breathing over your neck waiting for you to repeat your pattern of behavior to - guess what - once more go public with your acts.
You cannot threaten me, you cannot put me into a corner.
The truth is on my side. The facts are on my side.
After all: "Eppur si muove".


Thursday, April 23, 2015

BankMed rebrands - are "you!" kidding me?

If only every bank that rebrands takes a page from the Credit Bank book. The work they did was neat, efficient, smart, they did show the vibrancy, evolution, values, history and heritage, all while looking towards the future. Which makes the Bankmed effort sophomoric - not just in comparison - but in the absolute. First of all, if it ain't broke - don't fix it! The old logo was nice, credible, worthy of a deeply-rooted banking institution, inspired trust and frankly stability and steadfastness - plus the "waves" symbolism to refer to the Med (Mediterranean bit). So why change it?
The end result is juvenile, supposedly funky but ends up outright gauche, with a typeface that is all small caps and not very credible in shape which does not really make one want to put hard-earned money there. Please note I am not against banks not taking themselves seriously - Umpqua Bank being a prime example - except I only want that to happen when the end results is truly, truly, very cool and off-beat. Not when it pretends to be so and ends up like some over-botoxed sexagenarian thinking she can compete with the young and furious ones.
The worst bit is the new selling line - from the no-nonsense "understanding your needs" to the ridiculous "You! count" (yes with an exclamation mark which I am sure the board was led to be convinced that it is social media friendly).
Someone really did not know about counting - because it does not add up;

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Centennial of the Armenian genocide: I remember and demand

I grew up in what is arguably the only Armenian neighborhood in Achrafieh (right next to Surp Hagop and Azadamard club), so very early on (from elderly Armenian neighbours) I was exposed to the stories of the Armenian genocide which was still a very unheard of affair. But little by little, lately, a new voice has emerged - one that is shining a light on the 1,5 Million people who got killed on the hands of the Ottoman empire.
Above is the logo adopted throughout the world to commemorate the centennial of this tragedy, and in Lebanon - where the Armenian community is vibrant and very active culturally - it s frankly deployed massively with the headline used the world over "I remember and demand" (انا أتذكر واطالب) - a very concise yet powerful statement saying that time did not erase the memory and unless acknowledged by the perpetrators, this event will never have closure.
Armenian businesses are also putting it on their window shops and a specific campaign for Lebanon "we are all 1,5 Million" (كلنا مليون ونص) has been launched. I remember when my Armenian classmates at AUB did not show up for the Quizz II of the Biology 202 class which coincided with the April 24 commemoration, an event which shows how dedicated the community is to keep the date alive (anyone who was in Biology 202 knows that Quizz II is your make-or-break exam!).
You can always count on the incredible Sareen Akharjalian to best sum it up here!

Ziad Rahbani soon part of #fargobus

Intrigued? Good, there is more to come! A lot more with #fargobus - soon! The goods keep on coming and they are mind blowing.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Lotto: #Goodbyebadluck #helloidiocy

Sigh. If it ain't broke don't fix it.... The beautiful Monday/Thursday for the Lebanese lotto with the classic selling line "iza mich el taneyn, el khamis!" (if not Monday, then Thursday) are no more. Instead we have an incomprehensible, unfocused, bewildering, off-target, tone-deaf, hashtag-driven, western-flavored, dumb-as-f*ck campaign. And that's a kind way to describe it. The image above suffices to explain how the Lotto, which targets all Lebanese socio-economic classes (mostly middle and below), which should be in vernacular Arabic, geared towards aspirational or at least hopeful individuals, has been transformed into an entity which is repulsive, lacking in humour and frankly not engaging in any way. As I pointed out elsewhere on the blog, and according to Dr. House "miserable stays miserable, happy doesn't buy lottery in the first place." This ad gives one additional reason not to buy lottery.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

#Fargobus - the series

Soon enough #fargobus shall be revealed... In the meantime, discover the proposed series below.
Para”dies” flowers
Broken promises dipped in venom from political entities in Orwelian shifting landcapes where today’s allies are tomorrow’s enemies.
Les fleurs du mal
Promesses non tenues, poisons en calices dans un cauchemar Orwellien servi sans amour ni haine.

Feeling lucky?
Consolation prizes for those who did not win, ambulant merchants selling hope for those who still believed in a better tomorrow, a tomorrow that never came.
Des chiffres, des lettres, une chance, des prix de consolation, des espoirs en consummation.
Harlequin women
Somewhere between stereotype, delusions of grandeur, and the usual girly attitude stand phantoms waiting to fulfill their predicted roles.
Coquines, stéréotypées, émancipées, illusions de grandeur, mais prêtes pour assumer les rôles prédestinés, sous-estimé.
They entertained us, and brought smiles to us, and laughs, and longings, and soundtracked our lives.
Quand la musique est bonne, quand le rythme nous entraîne au bout de la nuit, quand le jour se lève sur des musiques au fond de soi.
Beirut Syndrome
Four hostages came to trust their captors in the famous bank robbery which brought the term, “Stockholm Syndrome” into existence. But it was never the Swedish capital, it was Beirut.
Syndrome de Beyrouth
Otages d’une ville bien aimée, adulée, qui nous captive alors qu’on lui procure excuses et alibis, rien que pour garder un semblant de maison.
Seven bound ribbons
An Estonian riddle which composed of 7 questions to help children memorize the colors of the rainbow, at the end of which there is no pot of gold.
Arc-en-ciel, arcs-en-ciel, arc-en-cieux, mémoires au pluriel, singulièrement singulières.
Silver screen quotations
Household names of untouchables embellishing living rooms like welcome but uninvited guests, as leading ladies and men of popular TV programs.
Tel(l)e(st) réalité
Telle est la réalité, non réelle, mais pas imaginaire non-plus, des invites dans nos salons, de semaine en semaine, d’épisode en episode.
…But you can never leave
“You can check out anytime you like but you can never leave” prophesized The Eagles,from the NTSC (Never Twice Same City) Hotel.
Pour toutes vos réservations
réservations de chambre pour actes sans réservations, on reste, on quitte, ne quittant jamais, a jamais condamnés a vivre dans des espaces louées a la journée, a l’heure.
Those were the best of times
Staged smiles for the camera, events and occasions anchoring us in spacio-temporal landmarks, just for the memory, the fleeting memory.
Et ils vécurent heureux
Des rires, des sourires, figés pour la camera, pour des instantanés, des Polaroïds, rien que pour commémorer des joies fictives.
Ne/on Ne/off
Places of the memory, with lights long extinguished, lonely tables with remembrances of laughs gone by.
Samedi soir sur la terre
Sortir, mais le sors est jeté, les endroits clos, les maisons closes, les clauses du destin, une fois que les clignotants sont éteints.
Past lives through colored lenses to reincarnate presents filtered through biased news and mass media all too eager to distort.
Des vies antérieures, intérieures, avant le fait, apres-coup, des passes revus, corrigés, dans des média biaises et voulant trop plaire.
Vero Modca
A mythical café closed not by war but the faux-peace or “non war” only to be replaced by a thriving clothing store, two faces of the same tossed coin.
Vero Modca
Un café sans clients que la “non-guerre” a tue, que la paix fictive a fini par le transformer en magasin de vêtements qui fait fureur.
What if things are not as straightforward as they appear to be? What if there is more than meets the eye? What if certain facets do not immediately get revealed? Meet the man who reads Playboy.
Qui sont ces hommes qui lisent ces magazines? Regardent-ils les images ou les femmes qui s’exposent? stéréotypes brises, mais facilement construits, apprenons à les reconnaître.
Precursors of more handy games, catalyzers of good times, and bond-generating boxes around which time has stood still, they may be tucked away but not forgotten.
Des ancêtres pas toujours venérés des jeux plus versatiles d’aujourd’hui, catalyseurs de liens, traits-d’union maintenant en entre parentheses.
Sweet dreams (are made of this)
Saccharine dipped stereotyped images, helpless women needing stronger men to lean on, but perhaps it is a man’s world – and it would be nothing without a woman.
Reves figés
Femmes en vitrine, stéréotypes qui n’attendent qu’ à se manifester, épaulées par des hommes, dont elles manipulent pour mieux être manipulées elles-meme.
Olive and Popeye
Hurry up, the numero is about to start, paillettes and strass, costumes and stress, and objectified women in an objectified city.
Olive et Popeye
Un Martini, une olive, des numéros, paillettes, strass, séduction facturée à l’heure, dans une ville qui ne tardera pas à payer l’addition des pots cassés.
Beirut nightmares]
Ghada Al Samman, a name forever linked to an adopted city she acutely understood more than anyone else. Nightmares still resonating deeply as the monsters still lurk under the bed.
Cauchemars Beyrouthins
Ghada Al Samman, encore et toujours liée a Beyrouth, passant la guerre au scalpel, avec des cauchemars à jamais se repentant dans un sommeil au réveil impossible.
When it’s love it never varies
Beirut couples in the memory Ghada Al Samman/Ghassan Kanafani, Georgina Rizk/Ali Hassan Salameh; because, as the famous line of the Dewar’s White Label ads says “when it’s love it never varies”.
Heloise et… Tristan
Ghada Al Samman/Ghassan Kanafani, Georgina Rizk/Ali Hassan Salameh; couples mythiques pour une ville aux mythes qui se détruisent pour laisser place aux réalités et aux potentiels non-realisables.
Beirut/NTSC (Never Twice Same City)
Never Twice Same City. Is sharing a memory a way of diluting it or multiplying it? And is a memory directed to the act itself or to the remembrance of it?
Plus jamais la même ville, un serpent qui ôte ses écailles pour rester en vie, une ville hermaphrodite qui ne s’aime qu’elle meme.
Beirut/SECAM (Still Endlessly Changing Against Memory)
Recounting a history that never was through rose colored spectacles playing smoke and mirrors with events real and imagined.
Lunettes roses pour des passes antérieurs, pour des futurs postérieurs, pour des postiches pour cacher les cranes chauves, les nuits chaudes, et les odes mensongères.
Beirut/Pal (Persistence And Longing)
Organized chaos based on a precise algorithm where chance and randomness rule.
Un chaos qui s’organise selon un algorithme precis mais avec la chance et le hazard qui figurant prominement.

Friday, April 17, 2015

#fargobus Original Soundtrack

Todauy marks the launch of the #fargobus soundtrack.... What is #fargobus? You will soon find out, below is a list of the tracks included....
Al iza3at Houwayda - Mum21 - Paul Jardin - A la volette - Tamara Hekmat Wehbe - Barilla - Anais Anais Cacharel - Stimorol - Abanderado - Fawazir Cherihan - Dewar's White Label - Do you love me Bandali - El Mal3ab Sammy Clark - Exotica - Falcon Crest - Farfouille des Soldes - Fun deodorant - Gantous w Bou Raad - Gimme a break - Al ja2iza al koubra Grand Prix - Grendizer - Hakawati - Jazirat al kanz - Jonger - Junal Hameda kif - Kellon 3andon sayyarat - Khabbaz - Knight Rider - La vache qui rit - lakki7ou atfalakom la yanfa3 al nadam - Lama bimshi 3al rasif Michka - Leo Parachute - Liza Liza Elias Rehbani - Loulou Cacharel - Love Boat - Magnum - Maktab al tahrir Sawt Lebnan - Mala3eb al sighar - Max headbroom - Miami Vice - Mind your language - Nescafe - Pampa - Fame - Marie Brizard - Yes 3 bi 1 - Ramek - Re O Vac - Salade du chef Marwan Rehbani - Signal 2 - Sindibad - Dukes of Hazzard - Greatest American Hero - Tic O Tac - Finger Cadbury's - Vog - Pacman - Week End clothing - Yalla n3amer ya ashabi - Yan Yan - Yes Abou Fouad - Kassatly - Yplon - Zahar - Zeina w Nahoul - Transtel Cologne