Honolulu Lite


Monday, November 26, 2001

Taliban couldn’t
stop the tube

As soon as the Taliban was chased out of Kabul, television sets started appearing out of nowhere, a strong testament to the staying power of crass commercial programing.

Afghans hid their televisions, knowing that the day would come when once again, "Everybody Loves Raymond" would echo through the ancient dusty streets.

So does that mean the power of television is stronger than the power of extremist religious beliefs? You bet. The electricity hadn't been back on in Kabul 20 minutes before the sound of electric shavers filled the air and mounds of hair from previously mandatory beards covered barbershop floors. Radios blared, tape decks blasted music, and for the first time in five years, television sets, ubiquitous icons of Western decadence, were hoisted onto countertops, benches and rickety chests of drawers.

If a religious regime can't knock the TV monkey off the backs of a people it has controlled for half a decade, maybe that brand of belief ain't all it was cracked up to be.

Of course, as in everything else, the Taliban went about their radical indoctrination all wrong.

Anyone with children knows that the more you take away something, the more the kids are going to want it.

If Taliban rulers really wanted their vassals to hate television, they would have forced them to watch it 24 hours a day. If I had to watch back-to-back reruns of "Two of a Kind" for several days, I'd grow a beard down to my waist, arm myself with a grenade launcher and declare jihad on the Olsen twins and anyone else responsible for prime-time programing.

There are rumors that have been confirmed to be completely unsubstantiated that the Taliban was in the process of developing its own television shows.

Allen Lynde, a "Honolulu Lite" reader, sent me an e-mail with a list of shows allegedly under discussion, including "Husseinfeld," "Mad About Everything," "Suddenly Sanctions," "Everybody Loves Osama," "Allah McBeal," "Buffy the Yankee Imperialist Dog Slayer," "Afghanistan's Wackiest Public Executions," "Third Rock from Kabul," "Just Shoot Everyone," "Lifestyles of the Poor and Dusty" and "Who Wants to Be a Martyr?"

I suspect Allen may have snatched those off the Internet, but if he came up with them himself, bravo.

Since I'm expected to do a certain amount of heavy lifting in this space personally, I would add my own programing suggestions: "Fiends," "King of the Tunnel," "Antique Weapons Roadshow," "Dirtysomething," "Homicide: Life Under Sheets," "Who's the Mullah?" "Injustice Files," "Northern Alliance Exposure" and "Osama, Warrior Princess."

We might not have yet captured Osama bin Laden, but we've definitely captured television market share.

Alo-Ha! Friday compiles odd bits of news from Hawaii
and the world to get your weekend off to an entertaining start.
Charles Memminger also writes Honolulu Lite Mondays,
Wednesdays and Sundays. Send ideas to him at the
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 7-210,
Honolulu 96813, phone 235-6490 or e-mail

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