Volume 11, Number 8
8 November 2004

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This Week

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Have you ever heard anyone complaining about the anger expressed in the lyrics of an arabesk song? Most of these complaints seem right to me. Any careful analysis will show that the lyrics of such songs include lots of anger, an anger that is directed toward the "beloved." This paradox may be the consequence of a very interesting process. Let's start the story from the beginning.

If you could talk to a man from the 18th century and tell him that it’s very easy for us to talk to someone overseas, he would be amazed at how lucky we are. (Don't worry, I'm not going to get into that "we are so lucky to have advanced technology" thing.)

In principle, inventions aim to make our lives simpler. This simplification is accomplished by replacing some part of our lives. I am not opposed to this, in fact I think this is inevitable and necessary for progress. A case in point is the invention of the telephone, which caused people to write fewer letters. Back when we were little kids, people complained about this "loss." They thought that writing letters was an important part of life that should continue to exist. Our primary school books included sections telling us that a letter was much more special than a telephone call.

But as we can see, the telephone abolished that "holy" patience of waiting for weeks for a reply. It became a matter of minutes for a person to be able to pick up the phone and talk to a friend who lived miles away. Naturally, this new thing caused people to be afraid, because being far away had lost its "mystery" and "melancholy." It may seem ridiculous, but this melancholy was an important part of people's lives before long-distance telephone calls became routine. Are you asking for proof? Just read any novel written at least fifty years ago. You'll see it there, if you look for it. People "loved" to miss others.

Let's be honest: we don't miss people anymore. We miss their faces. We miss going shopping with them. But we don't miss a friend in the absolute sense. We can communicate with a friend via telephone or internet no matter how far away he/she lives. It's not that tragic to be far away from someone you love these days. What's tragic is that when a friendship gets old, you can't blame the distance anymore. That's why we all tend to blame each other. That's why friendship is liable to turn into anger so easily nowadays.

İsmail O. Postalcıoğlu (POLS/II)


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