So I finally snapped out of my annual end of annus depression. Well, more like my depressed anus (scientific name: Lazy ass) was slapped out of it, and thankfully so.Anyways, back to business.
The Best of 2006 awards post was on a piece of paper in my back pocket, somehow it got wet and turned into one of these Rorschach inkblots which pretty much is a perfect depiction of 2006. I might attempt to recreate it, but first I must answer the question that is on everyone's mind:
What do Akil Bros, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Mayez El Bayyaa' have in common?
They all have banners with their signatures hanging in the streets of Beirut.
Why pay Pikasso for the use of their mostly illegal billboards when you can hang your own mostly illegal banner off your balcony, off the phone, the mostly illegal cable, mostly illegal internet, a laundry, or a high voltage electric line. Aside from serving as rest stops for migrating city birds (and where else could resting pigeons do their thing and wipe up in the same convenient place), Banners feature messages. Remember when it was the pigeons that actually carried the messages and the other way around? Anyways… while the messages may vary, the ropes and wires tangle is always the same.
Akil and his kin use banners to advertise 90% sales and/or remind passersby that the shop is 50m down the street. The Muslim Brotherhood and other religious fraternities constantly like to remind you about the virtues of religion since people in Lebanon aren't exposed to enough religious preaching. Politicians like Dory Chamoun and Kamal Shatila try to compensate for their lack of support on the streets with hovering banner support. As for the regular folk and Mayez El Bayyaa', they use street banners to kiss the ass of their Zaeem, dead , alive, or absent, in hopes of earning brownie points. The king of ass kissers, or should it be the queen, is a guy by the name of Wajih El Damerji. Unlike some amateurs cram multiple lines of brownnosing on their banners; Wajih El Damerji has perfected one-liner praise banner and spread it by the hundreds all over town. Damerji has actually taken it one step further, while 90% of his smooching is directed at one target, he made sure to reserve 10% of his kisses for other cheeks…just in case.
At the end of the day, street banners are another valuable free speech tool, albeit a free speech tool for those annoying people and singer whose speech you've always tried to avoid.