After technical analysis and legal evaluation based on the catalog crimes of the law no 5651, administrative measure has been taken for this website (zynga.com) according to decision no 421.02.02.2009-272446 dated 02/10/2009 of “Telekomünikasyon İletişim Başkanlığı”
On a sunny afternoon in October, which the World Mothers Association (WMO) has decided to blame for their children’s overuse of deodorant, the auto-message above popped up on Joe Blow’s computer screen. How come, when all he wanted was to get his daily dose of shunning society by playing Farmville, a cyber agrarian experience?
Farmville is a Facebook application where you, the little blonde farmer guy, are expected to run a virtual farm. Basically, all you do is plant stuff, plow land and then harvest. As you earn money and finish levels by selling crops, the scope of available crops to plant expands. To look like more of a middle-aged American guy who would have to think about lots of things before he sleeps, you can also raise weird animals like elephants or strawberry cows and help other people achieve the ultimate aim of being human, socialization.
Joe Blow, on the other hand, is an imaginary character that I’ve created just two minutes ago. Readers of my column would have realized that in my column, I like to call my generation “our country’s hope for the future.” Well, I also would like to refer to Joe Blow as “one of the brightest minds of my generation.” In this respect, he looks very much like me. However, as you will realize throughout the story, we aren’t the same person.
To start with, he is an engineering student, but I’m not. He is a huge fan of Fenerbahçe, while little by little my interest in Galatasaray decreases, which by the way has nothing to do with our recent defeat. Also, he has read that book called The Secret, and I haven’t. However this is not the right time for me to make a critical comparison of us. Instead let’s just go with Joe’s story.
It all began back in the early 2000s, when I was spending most of my pocket money in Internet cafes over games like Counterstrike or Winning Eleven. In contrast, Joe Blow was very fond of some computer programs called ICQ or MIRC.
A few years later, after staring at those weird programs for a sufficient amount of time, NASA scientists announced in their spare time that it was okay for Joe to switch to Youtube and begin plaguing his friends with funny videos. They wouldn’t pay him for it, but Joe was okay with that. It only took a few days for us to call him an expert on Youtube. He knew who would like what kind of videos, when he should laugh or stop the video and repeat the joke. Those were the days when my relationship with many girls would take a turn for the worse because of my squeaky voice, while Joe would only laugh to that monkey video and therefore we wouldn’t actually know how he sounds.
Then again, after a given period, there came Facebook, a platform where I could spend the rest of my life if my basic needs were met. Joe’s relationship with Facebook is very much like any of yours, apparently not like mine, because I’m not a fan of my primary school friends or Farmville, only status updates. However, Joe seems to like the Farmville most. The reason is obvious, actually: Similar to any other typical average Joe, he has always dreamed of a two-story house with a garden where he could raise his own tomatoes and cucumbers. And his compulsive behavior of playing Farmville serves his aim at least for the short run. I might think that Farmville is the stupidest game (although I was once tricked into it by thousands of Facebook requests), that doesn’t necessarily mean I think it should be banned. I guess it isn’t really a surprise for a country where nearly 6,000 websites are banned. Some claim that it isn’t about the game, but the website-but who cares? It is a game that had more than 60 million active users this month; so people (in our case Joe) obviously like it a lot, and it is banned without rational explanation. And I know that this is neither the very first nor the last game to be banned. Tomorrow the victim may be one of those I like most, like Facebook, Gmail or Blogger. Or the Café World game, another application request I’ve just declined.
As a typical student who cannot concentrate on what is going on in class for more than 20 minutes, I found myself mocking a professor in one of last week’s classes because he had made a grammatical mistake (or at least I thought he did). Then my automatic self-evaluation system kicked in, which you can easily install, because it works like this: I try to pronounce “curriculum vitae” and if it works out, then I’m at a point where I should be. But if it doesn’t work out as I planned, I conclude that my Indian counterparts are more likely to get the position that I’m planning to apply at a company in the Netherlands. That very day, I’ve failed to impress myself for 16738th time in history and that’s why I’m going to talk about speaking English in this week’s column.
Speaking from experience, if you are going to talk about a phenomenon that the reader might find in an encyclopedia, something like the English language, a brief introduction to that phenomenon would look professional. (Isn’t it what the education is all about?) But whenever I try that, this is what it tends to look like: According to a movie, 10,000 BC, historical roots of speaking English can be traced back to, well obviously, 10,000 BC. However, Ronald Emmerich, director of the movie, doesn’t seem to be the most realistic guy on Earth, as can be easily seen by glancing at his curriculum vitae. (Hint: Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow and 2012.) For information that still tends to be open to question, I better not go into any detail about the history of the English language and wait for Ronald Emmerich and encyclopedia-writer guys to work things out. Instead, I will continue with the problem itself.
I don’t feel wrong when I call speaking English a “pervasive problem.” If asked how he feels, my 10-year-old brother, who claims his English is nearly perfect, goes through a fluctuating vocal cycle. (I hope that doesn’t mean anything special in artistic jargon.) It doesn’t require any special skills to hear him saying, “I am,” but then as his voice level gradually decreases, the only thing you get to hear is him murmuring, or in other words, groaning in pain. On the other hand, I, as a brother 11 years his senior, am no different than him in speaking English. Frankly, my generation, the country’s hope for the future, is even worse at it. In the classes where we are expected to give recitals in English, you would have realized the supposed “interactivity” that every instructor promises at the very beginning fails by the time he begins his lecture. The only thing us students might wonder turns out to be “what is written on the board next to x?” That is because when I’m talking to a professor or doing a presentation, my classmates look like giant TOEFL achievement certificates to me.
On the other hand stands tourists and exchange students. Us Turkish guys, who have always complained about English classes and questioned its importance to daily life, lose our marbles as we see a mouth-watering, ready-to-talk foreigner. In such a case, thanks to delirium, I put on the fakest accent on earth as Jennifer Coolidge did on Friends (in other words, I try to sound like Chris Martin), and go teach a good lesson to that foreigner about speaking English. (When I tried that method on our editor, she found my accent “so thick.”) This might sound familiar to you, because this is what you have experienced while imitating Barney Stinson by calling stuff “awesome,” which you would think sounds cool.
So what is it the solution? Some people suggest that I should spend a summer abroad “working and traveling.” Others think I should insist on speaking English in class and some, by which I only mean my parents, think I am already speaking English flawlessly. I might not suggest a direct solution (neither does anyone else I know), but as someone who has spent his 7 years on Present Perfect Tense, I’m not so sure if W&T will help me improve it. I really miss Eng101-102 classes though. Those were the days when my instructor, God bless him, had to stand me speaking for at least 15 minutes. Those were the days I was graded on my speaking skills. Those were the days that debates existed. “Those were the days, my friend, we thought they’d never end.”
PS: According to my best friend (Google), “curriculum vitae” is a Latin phrase that I’ve chosen to test my English. Was learning English the best decision I’ve made?
PS: Some of you might have noticed that Bar?? Uygur also mentioned “Speaking English” in his column last week. However, by the time I wrote my column, Uykusuz wasn’t released yet, so this subject has nothing to do with it.
By the time you think you have had enough of popular culture, a long lasting search inevitably begins for something else, something that would differ from what you have been exposed to everyday, something left off the mainstream, something that today’s teenagers would call “indie.” On the other hand, your obvious indifference toward the latest summer hits might not be welcomed by your best friend who has recently become a fan of Britney Spears on Facebook. He might even go so far as to call you emo or hipster. Luckily, at least for Antony Hegarty, this is worth it.
We have seen enough disbanding to make sure that what is harder than forming a band is to stay loyal to the brotherhood in it. (No, I’m not referring to Oasis.) However, when it comes to a member of the band singing individually, there arises nothing but a feeling of anger inside us. Aware of such a disadvantage, Antony and the Johnsons honestly acknowledge the very sharp distinction between the leading vocal and the rest of the band by the band’s name. When the unjust judgments we have against transsexuals added to this, British-born and American-raised singer Antony Hegarty seems to be too weak for the burden on his shoulders. (Fortunately, we don’t need to take sociology classes to realize that prejudices are no good.) As you listen to him, you would easily realize how much stronger Antony is than he might appear at first sight.
Antony has a smooth, silk-like, divine voice and a tremulous body to go with it. When he is on stage, despite his powerful voice, you can still feel the fear inside of him; not only from the lines “Hope there is someone/Who will take care of me,” but also from the way he acts as he sings. This unexpectedly huge, depressingly white and childishly vulnerable diva-dude looks as if he belongs to another era, where people like him would have sung ballads.
Hollywood’s teenager-oriented movies’ “If I were a boy” cliché (body-swapping comedies), which is also frequently used by singers like Ciara and Beyoncé (You might unintentionally expect it to be used by Rihanna soon), is what Antony experiences without any kind of accumulation of interest. Besides his inborn “otherness,” his God-given talent makes him a lot more vulnerable than most of us as he puts out in his own words: “I need another place/Will there be peace/I need another world/This one’s nearly gone.” Living in a world where everyone must have a dream-a reason to live if you will-I have my own, too. I also need another world where we don’t have to worry about the environment, where prejudices don’t exist, where people like Antony sing more.
The torch singer Antony and his band, Antony and the Johnsons, have released two albums so far: I Am a Bird Now (2005), which they have won a Mercury Prize for, and The Crying Light (2009). Antony has also collaborated with some diverse artists such as Lou Reed, Boy George, Björk, Mark Almond, Rufus Wainwright and sung for movies such as Animal Factory, V for Vendetta and I’m Not There. If you would like to listen to him, I’d recommend you to begin with Cripple and Starfish or Another World. (For those who like Beyoncé, Antony covered her Crazy in Love.)
(Photo by flickr user Simone Pelluconi)
“ama şey. alışmak.”