Green trees and illegal activities

I don’t have a story to report because I haven’t actually DONE anything recently. That’s about to change, but in the meantime, please accept some bits and pieces:

Last night I watched Midnight Express for the first time. It took me two tries to download it because the first copy I got was gloriously and absurdly dubbed by one Russian dude who spoke all the parts REALLY LOUDLY over the still-audible-but-barely soundtrack. But I got an unadulterated copy downloaded in time to watch before bedtime.
I’d like you all to learn from my experience and not watch Midnight Express before bedtime. Especially if you are an ex-pat in Turkey, or planning on being an ex-pat in Turkey, or thinking about visiting Turkey, or have ever smoked hash. It’ll give you the serious heebies and you’ll spend the next few hours desperately trying to scrub your brain out with 30 Rock and Modern Family but it won’t work and you’ll have weird dreams.
That said, it was fun to see shots of Old Istanbul and compare them with the new Istanbul in the few scenes that weren’t inside a jailhouse or a courthouse. It occurs to me that this movie might have something to do with the fact that half my friends from America are still convinced I’m living in an Arab country. Everyone’s hot and dusty in every scene.
In fact, yesterday was the first time since November that I’ve left the house to go to work WITHOUT MY COAT. I kept startling throughout the day, like, “oh my God I forgot something something’s wrong!” And then I would realize that no, I didn’t leave my coat on the bus. I left it in my closet. Okay. Carry on. Today was even warmer and nicer. I left the house without a coat OR a scarf, and I took off my cotton cardigan as soon as I got to work. The sky was blue. The trees were green. It was like my home, my bus route, and the street where I work had all been magically transported to a much nicer climate.
It’s been a ghastly spring, everyone agrees. April was one long slog through cold, damp rainy days punctuated by half days of partially cloudy weather where you would feel so grateful to partially see the blue sky you wouldn’t mind the biting wind so much. It’s hard to get out of bed after a while.
But today, today was glorious. People were even complaining about the heat! Oh God, how I missed complaining about the heat! It was a perfect day for the protest in Taksim, which I had to miss because both of my students, despite the perfect playing-hooky-weather, showed up on time for their classes, but which I desperately wanted to attend. The Turkish government is proposing a bill that would allow them to choose with impunity which internet sites are legal in Turkey. Not that they don’t kind of do that already, (see the blogger debacle of a few months ago) but I guess it would give them the legal wherewithall to go farther and faster.
It’s a bad precedent.
“But it’s so easy to get around to ban,” I said to a coworker today.
“Yes,” he said, “but the ban would make it illegal to go around it. It would effectively be illegal to watch porn or whatever.”
So perhaps in a few years we’ll be seeing Midnight Express II: the Sarah Perrich story: the Girl who wouldn’t stop checking out Blogspot sites.

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1 Comment

Filed under Daily Life, Turkish Culture

One response to “Green trees and illegal activities

  1. Paul_D

    You should be pleased to know (whilst you’re in Turkey) that the plight of Billy Hayes was far less brutal than Alan Parker’s snuff epic. While Hayes’s imprisonment was rough, there was no forced man-love or biting of any kind, and the insanity ward was sparsely occupied, on a seperate island (where Hayes actually made his escape).
    Also dubiously left out was that Hayes got caught while making his fourth hash run out of Turkey.

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