Saudi Arabian blogger, Ahmed al-Omran quoted in “A Rebuke for Saudi Morals Officer Who Chastised Woman Wearing Nail Polish” via NYTimes (via sharquaouia)
This actually reminds me of something I read in Nothing to Envy: Inside the Lives of North Koreans. There was this one small section that was about certain defectors (none of the main six characters) and the moment they realized that the state propaganda was bullshit.
For one guy, he was an army officer and so occasionally had access to foreign goods. He had this nail clipper one day, and it said Made in America. He clipped his nails with it and admired the clean, smooth edges and the economy and efficiency of a simple tool like that. And then it occurred to him: if North Korea couldn’t even make a pair of nail clippers as nice as the American nail clippers, how could they build anything - like bombs, airplanes, etc - that competed with American goods? That was the glass-shattering moment for him. (And this is from the 90s when local manufacturing in NK was just absolutely, abjectly terrible.)
For another person, he was looking at state propaganda of a terrible dirty commie socialist from South Korea. But the man depicted as a terrible dirty commie socialist wore a zippered jacket and had a ballpoint pen clipped to its outer breast pocket. And in North Korea at that time, you could only access either of those items - the jacket and the ballpoint pen - if you were fabulously wealthy and had the connections to get it imported.
The third guy was another army officer. He was on a boat and they had a radio to listen to news and communicate with the mainland. His radio picked up a comedy program on South Korean airwaves where two women were arguing over a parking space. At first he thought it was completely outlandish, a total joke, because in North Korea the vaaaast majority of folks didn’t even have a car, much less worried about a designated place to park it. And then he realized that not only was it an actual program and not a joke, but that in South Korea, they had cars a-plenty, women also drove them, and there were legit spaces for all of these cars.
IDK. This quote just reminded me of that. To say the least, the situation in Saudia Arabia is fascinating right now, as more and more people challenge the status quo and call the government on its crap, especially after those new laws were passed about not harassing women, etc, etc.