July 16th, 2010

he's just a stereotype

The Arab Street

The Jersey Shore changed the rules not only for reality shows, but for racism. No longer would the task of putting forth negative, degrading caricatures of ethnic groups fall to outsiders; instead, it would be people from the group itself who would perform the vital function of making their entire ethnos look like shit. No more would WASPs be charged with making Italians look like shifty, loud, obnoxious, entitled, crass, piggish, vain jackasses; instead, it would be a new wave of proud young Italians, or in the case of three members of the cast, non-Italians pretending to be Italians, who would set the standards for shiftiness, loudness, obnoxiousness, entitlement, crassness, piggishness, vanity, and jackassery that future generations would follow.

Now, with the news that Asians will be getting their own chance at defining themselves as drunken, promiscuous, callow, boring morons, my thoughts naturally gravitate towards my own beloved ethnicity, as I wonder: when is OUR chance? When will a group of shallow, idiotic, substance-abusing, fashion-addled, over-privileged Arab-Americans get their chance to make total dicks of themselves on national TV?

Don't worry, networks: I've done the heavy lifting for you. In the spirit of The Jersey Shore, Party Down South and K-Town, I present to you: The Arab Street. The show will examine the lives of eight Arab-American 20-somethings living, loving and life-ing in the vacation paradise of Dearborn, Michigan. To earn their keep at the luxurious townhouse they call home, each member of the cast must work weekly shifts at a local shawarma stand, or else risk eviction and a return to the humiliation of pursuing a graduate degree in programming.

Let's meet the cast!

Age: 24
Hometown: South Patterson, NJ
Occupation: Cell phone sparkle applicator

Kerri is a sixth-generation Lebanese-American Christian, and, as she mentions at least once every episode, a third cousin of Rony Seikaly. An outspoken political conservative, she practices memorizing talking points from the National Review in front of the mirror every morning to annoy her housemates.

Age: 23
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Occupation: Sculptress

Roxana is not, in fact, Arab-American, but Persian, as she informs the rest of the cast in withering tones at least four times a day. Known as the "Ice Queen" for her chilly personality and hobby of making abstract sculptures out of blocks of ice. Fashion-forward Roxana prides herself on her dignity and royal lineage, when she is not vomiting cherry schnapps out a window.

Age: 28
Hometown: New York, NY
Occupation: Cab driver

Syrian-American Yasser calls himself "The Experience" due to his claim that everything you need to know about life, you can learn by giving him a blowjob in a toilet stall. Goes through three bottles of Armani Acqua di Gio cologne per week. When not partying or driving his "street prowler", he can be found yelling constantly in Arabic into a Bluetooth earpiece so small it looks like he's talking to himself.

Age: 21
Hometown: Kenosha, WI
Occupation: Barback

Despite her first-generation immigrant status and Palestinian parentage, adorable, eating-disorder-afflicted Snukhi remains completely unaware of the Israel-Palestine conflict, believing it to take place somewhere in Africa. Her entire experience of Arab culture consists of once having heard a D12 track produced by FredWreck in a club.

Age: 25
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Occupation: Rapper/waiter

The third son of a family of Assyrians who immigrated to Chicago in 1892, Sam nonetheless became inexplicably radicalized after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. He hosts a local cable access show that is a confusing blend of Pan-Arabism, slam poetry and advocacy of street racing. Claims that Iraqis are the "most vital .01% of the U.S. population".

Age: 24
Hometown: Washington, DC
Occupation: Photocopier technician

Born of an Egyptian mother and an African-American father, Shabron nonetheless spends several hours a day napping in a tanning bed. Announced on his first day in the condo that "all y'all women gonna get with me" before falling down a flight of stairs, as a result of which he spent most of season 1 in a neck brace. Has developed his own proprietary blends of Ecstacy and Rohypnol.

Age: 26
Hometown: Buffalo, NY
Occupation: Unknown

Yemeni-American Rania got her nickname from the sharshaf she wears. Raised in a highly traditional household, Rania is considered the "mysterious one" of the cast, since she refuses to allow herself to be filmed, or to be in the room when any males are present. A reference she made during the audition to her father's habit of chewing qat has given rise to a rumor that she eats cats.

Age: 25
Hometown: Aurora, CO
Occupation: Medical student

Coming from an upper-middle-class family of Saudi professionals who immigrated to the United States in late 2000, polite, studious Muhammad is the "quiet one" of the group, preferring to spend his time studying, reading the Qur'an, and keeping up with various community-oriented internet message boards. He does occasionally cut loose with flying lessons and hints about his "big plans for the future".

Checks may be sent to me via PayPal. I predict nine seasons and a spin-off clothing and cell-phone-accessory line.

By the way, in researching (yes, I research even my joke articles) this, I discovered how truly dire Wikipedia can be. The entire section on Saudis consists of terrorists or terror suspects (which I used as a joke, but is pretty fucking shameful for an actual resource), and if you go to the "Arab culture" page, you will note that there are six paragraphs under the heading "Religion", seven under "Terrorism", and six under "Violence". You will also note that, among others, the headings "Business", "Publishing", "Women", and the entire "Critique" section are blank.