| I recently read an article about a specific country in the middle east that is attempting to ban outward signs of what they consider corrupt western culture. They have enlisted a squad of police to go around seeking out and apprehending the moral criminals for imprisonment and prosecution. Some of the things being banned are stuff that I would have easily guessed were on the list of stuff that the powers that be might consider intolerable, like clothing on women that reveal any flesh whatsoever and T-shirts with pictures of western pop stars or athletes on them, but some of the items they consider crimes against culture are rather surprising.
One of the biggest no-no's that the culture police are told to look out for is necklaces on men. Not just stuff that Elizabeth Taylor might have worn, but also any simple chain or woven thing that guys tend to wear. I'm not a huge fan of men in necklaces, but, really? Have these guys seen the members of the Saudi royal house? They flash plenty of bling. Not only that, but if ancient carvings are to be believed, the Persians, who commanded one of the greatest empires in history and created a culture of great influence and learning definitely liked their personal decoration.
The police are on the lookout for women wearing pants that are short enough to show their ankles. They can't sit and cross one leg over the other or climb anything that might cause their dangerously corrupt ankles to peek out. That isn't easy to pull off. Frankly, I was kind of surprised that they were allowed to wear pants at all even though women have been wearing them in the East for countless centuries.
Men cannot have fancy hairstyles. I found this dictate a little ambiguous until I read further in the article. Evidently, a fancy hairstyle is anything that looks like it was done by someone who knows what they are doing. If your hair looks anything like the hairdo of any movie, music or television star from the west, the police can take you in for questioning. If they detect product of any kind in your hair, mousse or gel or hairspray, you are in big trouble. The police have been told to be on the lookout for anyone sporting a hairstyle that looks remotely like the 'do' of that young man in the popular vampire movies and to instantly arrest anyone wearing it. My son's hair looks like that every morning when he gets out of bed for goodness sake.
The one thing that is considered a western cultural related crime that totally blew me away was dog ownership. Really? Owning a dog is a sign of western culture? I'd get it if they were talking about English Bull Dogs or French Poodles or Newfoundlands, but any dog? I just can't figure out how that applies in terms of cultural identity and I certainly don't get how owning a dog is a sign of corruption. Ancient man has domesticated dogs in every culture in the world from cavemen in Timbuktu to Toronto. Many anthropologists consider the domestication of dogs to be one of the major turning points in the evolution of man. Dogs helped man hunt and feed himself. Dogs helped protect homes and families. Dogs cleaned up any dropped food on the floor of the cave. Dogs are man's best friend! I could understand it if you want people to stay away from hot dogs or corn dogs; I avoid both those things. And I get it if you think that it's ridiculous to take little dogs, dress them in stupid outfits and lug them around like a handbag, that's kind of nauseating. But dogs as pets? Dogs as companions? How is that a sign of western culture? The Egyptian Pharaohs had dogs. You can find them painted on the walls of tombs. Africans had dogs, the Chinese had dogs, everybody had dogs! What the heck?
The article went on to say that enforcing the dog ownership as corruption edict hasn't been working out too well, and I'm not surprised. I personally know people who would risk imprisonment rather than give up their dogs. Do the authorities really believe that they can eradicate all dogs from the entire country? More importantly, aren't they a little afraid that forcing people to hand over their dogs might be the straw that breaks the camel's back? Or the dog's back...or whatever? I can see people going to the streets and starting a revolution over dogs. It could happen.
You can do away with dog-leg turns, dog days of summer, dog-like devotion, going to the dogs, dogged pursuit, and everything else that sounds like it came out of an English phrase book that includes dogs, but I don't think you want to deny people their canine companionship if you know what's good for you. There will be blood. Let loose the hounds!