Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Hey, You With the Magic Marker! You Missed One!!!

Lucky is one of my favorite magazines. It is a virtual monthly smorgasbord of colored, slick glossy pages inundated with photo after photo of the newest shoe, bag and clothing styles. Unlike all the other fashion magazines on the newsstands, Lucky is specifically geared to whet the appetite and hone the senses of true shopalcoholics!

In a prior life, my old life, the one I had before we moved to The Sandbox, I knew I could depend on one day a month that I would leave the office after a long day, head home and be able to kick off my stilettos and curl up in a chair with a glass of wine and the newest monthly edition of Lucky. Truly this was one of life’s simple pleasures. Not anymore.

In my new life… I no longer spend my days at an office, can curl up in a chair anytime I want, sans glass of wine [yeah, right!], and peruse my monthly copy of Lucky at my leisure – or so one would think – but I am “lucky” if I receive my magazine on a monthly basis – heck, I’d be happy if I received it on a semi-monthly basis – quarterly, even! But I don’t, so at this point I have canceled my subscription. I am not going to pay the international cost of a periodical that I cannot receive regularly – instead, paying an astronomical amount to receive something that otherwise I would have no way of obtaining in The Sandbox, but ultimately paying for something that others are enjoying at my expense.

The entire frustration encompasses much more than my receiving only sporadic issues of a MONTHLY periodical – and I do not blame the publisher – as I would be willing to wager a bet that my subscription was being sent to me on a timely basis, and monthly, as well. The blame, as far as I am concerned, for my NOT receiving regular monthly delivery has to be placed squarely on the shoulders of the Powers that Be [“TPTB”] here in The Sandbox who not only choose to keep every other or every two issues of Lucky but deface and destroy the occasional magazine they allow me to have.

Page after page after page has been laboriously colored with a dark blue magic marker by TPTB to ensure that the pureness of my mind and thoughts are not contaminated or titillated by any little amount of bare skin showing on the models on the pages of my magazine. Or perhaps, to ensure that my DH does not catch so much as a mere glimpse of cleavage or too much thigh if he walks behind me as I am flipping through the pages. [I am of the opinion that when the day comes that I find my DH standing over my shoulder as I slowly turn the pages of this fashion magazine I need to confront a problem much larger than the thought of him glancing at the models showing a bit of skin!]

Certainly if there appeared to be any amount of consistency, then I would know to expect that certain pages are going to be deemed to risqué for my eyes, but instead the “coloring” is obviously done at random: On one page the cleavage is colored – on the next it is not; on one page the
thigh is colored and on the next it isn’t. Is there something about the one knee of the model in this photo on the right, that it is not colored but her other leg is – as are both legs of the model next to her? And, is it really necessary to use a marker so dense then it has to bleed through the pages?!?

Worse, still, is when the pages are torn out of the magazine – and not even neatly so that this would go unnoticed! Not just a page, but a couple pages at a time, even… You can count on this happening with ALL of the magazines, here, not just a select few!

I have yet to purchase ANY magazine that pages have not been removed for some unknown reason – regardless of the genre – and as “Murphy’s Law” would have it, whatever article you have started reading – the one you most wanted to read – has been continued and is gone because it is on ONE OF THE PAGES THAT HAS BEEN REMOVED!!! – or you find a recipe in a food and decorating magazine – it looks delicious – the ingredients are all listed but when you turn to page umpteen the cooking instructions are NOT there because there was something that TPTB determined would be unacceptable for me to see and the entire page is missing.

On a whim, a couple months ago, I purchased a magazine published for local women here in Saudi, Arabia Woman. As I glanced through the pages, I thought to myself, “How odd. These models have black t-shirts on under all of these dresses, including Nicole Kidman and Miss Europe!” It was then that I realized that of course they are not wearing black t-shirts under their dresses and under these wedding gowns! Duh!!! Every photo in the magazine of a woman has her in an outfit WITH a black t-shirt which has been printed on before publishing so as to spare TPTB the work on singly and individually taking their colored magic marker to the pages.

With what is available on television through various outside means, it seems more than just a little ridiculous that somewhere in some cushy office a “local” has been charged with the responsibility of going through magazine after magazine after magazine to color the flesh of models WEARING various items of clothing… And, by my referring to a “local” having this position, my goodness! You can’t possibly think that an outsider could be entrusted with such responsibility! Oh, no. I would have to venture a guess that this is a coveted position and one of the twenty-two recently reserved that MUST be filled by only a “local” to effectuate the eventuality of Saudization. Umm, yeah. Just a guess…


  1. I had such a delicious laugh at the thought of these guys poised with marker in hand, hoping that their aheeem!!! sprouting to attention libido (one mustn't be too graphic) not ne detected by their minders, because I am sure they do have a few Mutts in attendence. Oh yeah! such fun they must have! And how coveted a job this one must be! As most Saudi males deem themselves too grand to soil their so delicate constitution with physical labor of any kind, this must be the such a desirable sinecure of a desk job, what with its luscious 'fringe benefits'.
    I especially loved the concept of the painted on T-shirt, so much insipid effort lavished on censorship has got to deserve a very special place in the annals of dumb human behaviors.
    Thanks for the chuckles!

  2. That's amazing that there's that much censorship. What happens if someone sent you the magazine in a manila envelope, do they open your mail?

  3. As usual I enjoy your commenst.

  4. I love the black T shirt story. I'm in the UAE and I haven't seen the infamous black T shirts but I'll start looking.

  5. LOL - somewhere in the Kindom of Saud there is a fellow with a very hard grip on his little blue sharpie, if you know what I mean...

  6. I often wondered what the Saudi's did with all their graduates with a BA/BS in literature. Now I know. They hand em' a magic marker! But it drives the obvious question. How can the religious police allow these folks armed with the markers to view what they cover up?

    I suspect though that this is one reason journalism is such a popular major ... no censorship ... cause you are the censor!

  7. "destroy the occasional magazine they allow me to have."


    and yet, in the USA, we are getting the same treatment with the news.

    the L_MSM has marked everything in the most slanted manner.

    pulling pages from important stories, fabricating issues, to undermine the Republican or Conservatives they oppose...

    the metaphor is quite plain for this poster to see.

  8. OMG, OMG, OMG!!! A Victoria's Secret SALE catalog made it through with my last order!!! It is a very, very first. And, now I know Victoria's Secret: In order to get a catalog here, order sweatshirts not "undergarments."

  9. Wow, how can you possible live there?? Will you be there forever?


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