Lebanese Decadence

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General Facts:

1) Lebanese society is one of mutual imitation.

1.1) In Lebanon, everybody is observing you and you are observing everybody else.

1.2) In Lebanon, people don't go out to have a good time - they go out to show the community that they're having a good time.

1.3) In Lebanon, people don't buy goods because they like them, but because they think other people like them.

1.4) In Lebanon, fashion and collective hysteria coincide.

1.5) In Lebanon, incapacity to keep up with your neighbors' level of consumption relegates a human being to nothingness or otherness (see Hegel on otherness).

1.6) A Lebanese will go into debt to buy something he doesn't need in order to impress people he doesn't like.

Civil Wars:

2) Some historical Lebanese civil wars: The I-have-a-more-expensive-cellular-than-you wars, The I-have-more-Sri-Lanki-maids-than-you wars, The I-have-a-new-Mercedes wars, The My-Leather-Jacket-is-better-than-yours wars.

Lebanese Contributions to Ethics:

3) A Lebanese has the right to break the law if he sees others breaking the law.

3.1) A Lebanese has the right to throw garbage out of a car window if he sees others throwing garbage from a car's window.

3.2) A Lebanese has the right to smoke in a non-smoking area if he sees others smoking in a non-smoking area.

3.3) A Lebanese knows that it is acceptable to bribe officials when he sees others bribing officials.

3.4) A Lebanese has the right to run a red light if he sees others running a red light.


The Lebanese Constitution:

4) A politician will always pass power to his eldest son.

4.1) A politician will always give his family and his followers government jobs.

4.2) Because of an outside conspiracy unrelated to 4.1, Lebanon has the highest rate of useless public servants in this part of the universe.

4.3) A politician has a duty to enter into conflicts of interest.

4.4) A Lebanese will always vote for a candidate from his village even if he knows that he is a corrupt idiot.

4.5) A Lebanese politician will always promise to fight corruption.

Lebanese Modern Culture:

5) Lebanese modern culture is about conformity to Western ideals and the careful removal of every bit of national originality.

5.1) A Lebanese feels superior to other Lebanese if the goods he consumes do not come from Lebanon.

5.2) A Lebanese has an inherent contempt for everything his country produces.

Poverty and the Class System:

6) In Lebanese society, contempt for the poor is metaphysical.

6.1) The Lebanese class system is fluid and based on the monetary worth of the individual, as a result:

6.2) The Lebanese differentiate themselves very rigidly from those they consider as being part of the lower class.

6.3) In courtship, a Lebanese man will use a woman's poverty as a bargaining chip.

6.4) A Lebanese woman feels insulted if a poorer man asks her out.

6.5) Lebanese society has a caste system in terms of nationalities: Sri Lankans are somewhere on the bottom level, but slightly above garbage, whereas the French are slightly below God.

6.6) A Lebanese will treat a world-renowned Nobel winning Pakistani astrophysicist as garbage and will kiss the foot of a French imbecile (if he happens to have a nice Parisian accent).


7) Every single thing wrong in Lebanon is caused by an outside conspiracy.

7.1) A Lebanese is not responsible for the massacres during the civil war even when he was the one doing the shooting.

7.2) Members of Lebanese society will condemn confessionalism as practiced by other confessions, while cheerfully practicing it with other confessions.

7.3) It is always their fault.

Lebanese Superiority:

8) The Lebanese are superior.

8.1) Did you know that Shakespeare was actually Lebanese? (Sheikh Zbeir)

8.2) Did you know that the Lebanese invented the alphabet (and not those slightly-above-garbage morons from the Indian sub-continent)?

8.3) The Lebanese have an inborn knowledge of every single subject in the universe, including medicine and philosophy.

8.4) Every single Lebanese is a board-certified doctor.

8.5) Any Lebanese will prescribe you antibiotics, anti-depressants and sleeping pills if you ask them nicely.

8.6) Because of an outside conspiracy unrelated to 8.5, Lebanon has one of the highest rates of medicinal drug addiction in the world.

8.7) A Lebanese becomes a philosopher after he reads "The Prophet" by K. Gibran.

8.8) "The Prophet" is the second greatest book in history just after the Bible. Did you know that Gibran was Lebanese?


9) A Lebanese man will never marry a woman if she is not a virgin.

9.1) A Lebanese woman will never have sex with a man if she thinks that he is marriage material.

9.2) Unrelated to 9.1, all Lebanese men's wives were virgins before marriage.

9.3) The marriage of a woman is the affair of the whole extended family and of the neighbors.

9.4) Pressure on a woman to get married is applied by the whole extended family and the neighbors.

9.5) An unmarried woman with a Ph.D. is a failure.


Laughing at ourselves:  Above was the content of an email I have received.  I later discovered that it was written by Ralph Hajj.  Of course, we can not paint every Lebanese with a wide brush and we can not stereotype.  Nevertheless, plenty of what mentioned above has little bit of truth to it and I want to commend the writer for his brilliance.



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