A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
It might be September, but Silly Season isn’t over. This is the weirdest thing I have ever seen.
Last week, the Syrian Ministry of Tourism released a number of videos on YouTube. Entitled Syria: Always Beatiful, (note the spelling) they’re promoting tourism to Syria. SYRIA! War-torn, bombed-out, poison-gassed, ripped-to-ratshit Syria! It’s not exactly the place that comes to mind when one thinks: tourist destination. Especially since the people who already live there are fleeing for their lives. Rumour has it that U.S. Navy Seals don’t even go to there — it’s just too dangerous.
Frankly, I’m amazed Syria even has a Ministry of Tourism. Why bother? I haven’t tried, but I doubt very much if you can even get there from here — or from anywhere. However, let’s just think for a moment about the genius who thought a couple of YouTube videos might possibly convince somebody (anybody) to book a flight to Damascus. Whoever he was, he’s got to be the world’s biggest optimist.
And the video itself is a hoot. It’s taken at “Fast Forward” from the air, and it looks as if an Obama observation drone got loose and is being chased by a Russian bomber. One particular scene could almost be a strafing run from a J.J. Abrams movie. And the entire video is just the same seaside resort, filmed from a number of different angles — like nobody’s going to notice that. Then the whole thing is backed up by some really awful discount DJ music from before the turn of the century.
Anyway, good luck, folks! I can’t imagine what your slogan is going to be: “Come see Syria. You won’t get killed. We promise.”