Before you get all "Hey wait just a dang minute," no, I am not talking about Beirut.
I am referring to pop culture, actually. Yes. Lebanon. And pop culture. It's really there.
My first submission is one singer named Shakira. "But she sings in Spanish" you say. "She's Hispanic, from one of those Hispanic countries, you know, Hispania." Au contraire! Shakira is in fact an Arabic name, meaning "thankful." Yes, she is from Colombia, according to her biography. My private source insists that she exhibits heavy Lebanese influence. The way she shakes her...um, assets, is not this grand new and unique provocative dance, but is in fact derived from Arabian Belly Dancing, an art taught to her by her grandmother. (Dude, the most exotic thing my grandma ever taught me was how to crochet blankets while listening to Ramon Ayala.) And yes, she does speak Arabic, along with about four other languages.
My second submission is one actress named Salma Hayek. "No, Sleepless Mama, surely you jest. Just listen to her accent!" She is from Mexico, born and raised, but (and she freely admits this) her oil-executive father is what she calls "Lebanese-Mexican." According to my source, the Hayeks are one of the richest families in Lebanon. Salma is Arabic for "peace." And Hayek is no Mexican name that I've ever come across. Ms. Hayek herself speaks fluent Arabic, and three other languages besides.
These women do not lie about their Lebanese heritage. But nobody makes much about it. The focus is always on their Latin-American heritage. I think this makes them more...acceptable to North American audiences. I suppose that should tell you something about North America.
Just who is my mysterious source? Now why would I want to go and tell you that? Suffice it to say, he's from Lebanon.
One more thing my source has to say about Lebanon: the people there do not know how to cuss properly. You remember that move Bad Boys, starring Will Smith and that short dude, what's-his-name, Martin Lawrence? In that movie is a convenience store scene in which the cashier pulls out a weapon and screams, "Freeze, mother-b****es!" Yeah, that's actually how people in Lebanon curse. In fact, that particular phrase became quite popular there after the release of that movie.
This concludes your Cultural Corner for the day.