This weekend I am hosting my first guest from the US, a friend and colleague of mine from my days at UW River Falls. He and I will be venturing out into the desert and hanging out at Souq Waqif, so I won’t have time to blog about my very busy week—mostly a lot of work matters related to midterms coming up next week. Still, wanting to keep up my weekly ritual of blogging, I thought I would share something that I worked on this week: a very quick play scene about the hashtags related to the Qatar blockade. Oh, did I forget to mention that I’m part of a team developing a play?
One of my department tasks this semester is to help develop a play about the Qatar blockade. Last week, the play team met and chose roles. I asked to be one of the script writers and set designers. My choices were honored, and so I had to hammer out two play scenes this week: one scene involving pathos and one involving humor. Now, I can be funny in English, but I was worried that my sense of humor wouldn’t translate to a Qatari audience, so I tried to figure out a creative way to make something else do the “humor” heavy lifting in my scene. My shrewd idea: internet memes. Yes, internet memes, the new universal discourse for communicating opinions about all things.
I did some research about popular #hashtags related to the Qatar blockade and found some thread with funny posts, so I strung them together into a scene. It was no Bill Shakespeare move; however, in order to be topical, I had to err on the side of expediency. Thus, the genesis of this week’s blog post. Enjoy!
The scene opens with two young girls on opposite ends of the stage. The girls are in their respective homes: one is sitting on a bed; the other is sitting in a chair. They are communicating via their phones.
Girl 1: I have bad news.
Girl 2: What?
Girl 1: So my cousin in Saudi Arabia is getting married, but my family can’t go to her wedding.
Girl 2: That sucks.
Girl 1: Yeah. Her family is thinking about having the wedding in Kuwait. Inshallah.
Girl 2: Inshallah.
Girl 1: Ever since the blockade, this is how my family feels.
Girl 2: Where did you find that tweet?
Girl 1: I searched the hashtag #qatarblockade.
Girl 2: I try not to look at the sad tweets about the blockade every day. I like to see funny stuff.
Girl 1: Not all of it is sad. Look at this one.
[appears on screen]
Girl 2: That’s a little funnier. But I still feel bad for the egg that’s cracked in the dark.
Girl 1: What about this one?
[appears on screen]
Girl 2: Definitely better. Still, your tweets are for a grownup.
Girl 1: What do you mean?
Girl 2: Did you see the tweets for the hashtag #qataristomach.
Girl 1: No. What is that about?
Girl 2: Remember when that Saudi said that we wouldn’t be able to handle milk from other countries?
Girl 1: Yeah.
Girl 2: These are the memes that appeared.
Girl 1: Haha.
Girl 2: See? Isn’t better than newspaper cartoons?
Girl 1: You don’t like my political cartoons because you’re still a child!
Girl 2: I’m only 2 months younger than you, Mom!
Girl 1: Don’t say that!
Girl 2: KKKK
Girl 1: I try to read tweets in English, and I noticed that the foreigners and Doha are even making jokes about the situation.
Girl 2: What hashtag?
Girl 1: #dohaunderseige Check this out.
Girl 2: What does “eggactly” mean?
Girl 1: It’s an English pun. You know “exactly?”
Girl 2: Ugh. I hate puns. They are like dad jokes.
Girl 1: Yeah, but sometimes they are so bad that they are funny.
Girl 2: You would like dad jokes because you’re a mom.
Girl 1: Not funny!
Girl 2: KKKK
Girl 1: There’s a new hashtag that is pretty funny. It’s #wedemandqatar. Check this out.
Girl 2: I like Minions and Eid, but I don’t get the hashtag.
Girl 1: You know. It’s like a joke about the demands made for Qatar. Check this one out.
Girl 2: Haha. I get this now.
Girl 1: Check this one out.
Girl 2: I don’t get this one.
Girl 1: It’s from the American show Breaking Bad.
Girl 2: He kind of looks like a teacher in the Foundation Program.
Girl 1: He kind of does.
Girl 2: He also is the same age as your future husband.
Girl 1: I hate you!
Girl 2: KKKK
Girl 1: Here’s a meme about the blockade that sums up my feelings about you.
Girl 2: Haha.
Girl 1: Sometimes the only way to fight injustice is with humor.
Girl 2: True. Well, I hope that your family can go to your cousin’s wedding.
Girl 1: I hope so too.
Girl 2: I have to go now.
Girl 1: Ok. Take care.
Girl 2: Bye!