originally published June 3, 2013

Sometimes I really hate humans.

What started out as a jocular journey through the goofiness of North Korean barbershop propaganda turned remarkably dark and sinister, and suddenly I was watching a dime-store Mickey Mouse knock-off get beaten to death by an Israeli interrogator. You know, for the kids.

Propaganda can cut through the truth like a lightsaber through a Hostess Ding-Dong. It’s a universal comfort to believe that such a thing as objective and impartial reality exists, and that we can access it via the people in charge. Alas, for many leaders of faith and flag the truth is but a 1.6mm flathead screwdriver in the tool-belt of public dissemination. Obfuscation, indoctrination and manipulation are in there too, and sometimes those tools see a lot more action.

I like to think of myself as a tolerant, compassionate, and when the light glistens just the right way on the beer froth clinging to my beard, a ruggedly handsome man. I pledge my allegiance to no specific religion, yet I wish them all the best with their vows and beliefs, so long as they don’t infringe upon my world. But fuck these guys. This is just evil.

Meet Farfur the Mouse. If your first thought is, “Hey, that looks a bit like Mickey; I wonder if Disney is pissed,” well you aren’t alone. Disney was pissed, but not just because someone crapped all over their trademarked character. No, Farfur is something decidedly more heinous than a copyright violation.

Farfur appeared on the Hamas-run Palestinian children’s show Tomorrow’s Pioneers. The program is sort of like Barney & Friends or Sesame Street if the focus was placed more on hatred of Americans and the righteous killing of Jews than on the letter ‘K’ and how many cookies Cookie Monster can shove in his gullet. This show marks the absolute rock-bottom of human depravity and puke-brewing lunacy on television. It makes Keeping Up With The Kardashians look like Shakespeare by comparison.

Saraa Barhoum is the show’s host, an affable-looking young Muslim woman who landed the gig after winning a singing contest. Saraa is the anchor for the show’s myriad of life lessons, like don’t cheat on school tests, remember to drink your milk, and the Jews will destroy your family because they’re Jews. I wish I was making this up. I wish there weren’t parents in the world so irresponsible and consumed by the vitriol their leaders have splashed in their faces since they themselves were infants that they’d allow their kids to feast on such a diet of death and negativity.

Much of the show is dedicated to a phone-in segment in which actual children aged 9-13 dial up Saraa or her hate-spewing rodent friend and discuss… I don’t know, Islamic supremacy and fashion and stuff. Rather than focus on the positives of their culture – which perhaps they do, at least for part of the broadcast – they instead dwell on brainwashing young minds into hating the world outside their culture. Here, if you haven’t recently dined on anything you’d rather not puke up, have a look at a clip from season 1 of the show.

That’s a still from the above clip. It shows Farfur as he is murdered by an Israeli interrogator. Yes, the twist in the final episode of season one was that Farfur becomes a martyr for his cause. A bit of a far cry from when Mr. Hooper died on Sesame Street and kids were taught about grief, love and finding strength in sharing a painful experience with friends and family.

Farfur lasted five episodes, from April to June of 2007. He was replaced by Nahoul, his bumblebee cousin. Nahoul made it through six shows before he fell ill, but was unable to travel to Egypt for an operation because of (spoiler!) the Jews. He died and was replaced by this delightful character, a bunny named Assoud.

Yep. This is the state of religious extremism in our world today, and the filthy assholes in charge – whether it be Hamas, the Westboro “Christians”, or the militant, Arab-hating Jews – know that the only way they can keep the hatred flowing like bitter nectar is to cram it as fact into young minds. Logic and reason won’t work. Snagging young people after they’d had a chance to think for themselves and evaluate the state of the world won’t do the trick.

Israel and America – not to mention the people at Disney – have naturally spoken out against Tomorrow’s Pioneers. Many prominent Arab and Palestinian voices have as well, because this show is not a question of right and wrong, morality, religion or interpretation of faith. This is about smearing the purity of children’s minds with hate. If the foundations of your cause are so flimsy and dependent on brainwashing the weak and indefensible, then maybe you need to re-evaluate how you’re spending your time and spiritual energy. You live in a world where there’s beer. And key lime pie. And five tremendously entertaining seasons of The Wire. Maybe lay off the hate for a while and enjoy some of the magnificence of life.

Oh, and Assoud the Jew-eating bunny dies at the end of season three. So there you go kids – drink up the death and bring your scowl and sorrow to sweeps month.

Here’s the article I was going to write, back when I thought propaganda TV was going to be a fun topic. It’s a North Korean show called Let’s Trim Our Hair In Accordance With The Socialist Lifestyle, and it’s about… well, they don’t exactly bury the lead on this one. The lesson of the show is that hair length can affect human intelligence, and that a man who allows his locks to creep beyond 5cm in length (that’s two inches) cannot possibly be expected to perform his societal duties properly.

This was not a one-off special. The producers would set up hidden cameras in Pyongyang to catch scruffy slobs, then they’d interview them in regards to their lifestyle choice. It was decided that 7cm hair was acceptable if a man was old enough and attempting to cover up baldness.

You see? I started out my research with a laugh this morning, only to spiral down the funnel of darkness and hate that inevitably forms when people begin to take themselves too seriously. Sometimes it’s really hard not to hate humans, given what we’re capable of doing to one another.

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