Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I’m Big in Uzbekistan?

© 2011 Leighann Lord

I’m not a social media maven. I’m on the big three: LinkedIn, Twitter and FaceBook. Technically, I’m still on MySpace because I just don’t have the heart to delete the account. I completely ignore it, which is probably worse. Believe it or not, there are still quite a few folks on MySpace. They’re arguably not the most trendy lot, but Luddites like good comedy too. My Mom, the lead Luddite, who is not computer savvy at all conflates MySpace and FaceBook, calling it MyFace. This is wrong, of course, but it might also be disturbingly prescient.

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My Mom’s lack of tech savvy aside, I sometimes forget how global social media really is. I was reminded when someone from Yzbekistan started following me on Twitter. (And yes, my Mom calls it Fritter.)

Yzbekistan? Geography is not my strong suit so I have no idea where that is. I asked Google, and Google said, “Did you mean: Uzbekistan?” Probably. “Y” and “U” are right next to each other on the Qwerty keyboard and my new follower – “Mr. Stan” — probably set up his profile like many people do: late at night after a glass or three of wine, hoping to wash the taste of MySpace out of their minds, and start their online life anew. This might understandably lead to a typo or two. I’m sure there are a few folks on Twitter who claim to be from Bew York.

According to Wikipedia, The Republic of U/Yzbekistan is part of the Stan family: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Turkmenistan. My respect for Mr. Stan grew as I realized the how badly he could have spelled the name of his home country. U.S.A. seems easy by comparison.

As tickled as I am by new Twitter followers, I was also a curious. Is comedy in general, and my style in particular, big in U/Yzbekistan? I didn’t know I had a following there. Does one guy constitute a following? Maybe not but in a population of only 27 million, one’s not a bad start. Maybe I should include them on the world tour: Amsterdam, London, U/Yzbekistan.

How would folks in the part of the world even know about me? Do they get Comedy Central? Are the U/Yzbekis buying the “Def Comedy All Star Jam” (Season 7) DVD from Amazon? Did they stumble upon my YouTube page? Looking at Mr. Stan’s tweets were no help. Most were written in Uzbek. The easiest thing might have been to go to the source. Follow back and ask Mr. Stan himself why he’s following me, but that seemed a bit rude. I’ve never interrogated my UK, German or Aussie followers.

Sadly, I don’t know much about Mr. Stan’s corner of the pale blue dot. I’ve been to Afghanistan (performing for the troops in 2002) but I never left the Khandahar Airport. At that time it served as a very bullet-ridden Marine Corps base. If you judge a place solely by its airport, no one would ever come to New York. There are parts of JFK International that make Greyhound Bus terminals look cutting edge and elegant.

I’ve read “The Kite Runner” and “A Thousand Splendid Suns” but again that was about Afghanistan and Pakistan, not U/Yzbekistan. And while well done, I think the airport rule applies. For example, not all Black women are waiting to exhale. A bout of childhood asthma notwithstanding, some of us are breathing just fine.

I saw a documentary once on the National Geographic channel about Kazakhstan. They have an interesting court ship custom. The male members of the groom’s family steal the woman he wants to marry. The women in his family then spend hours convincing her that this is a good idea. We in America call that kidnaping and unlawful imprisonment, but it does alleviate the pressure of having to come up with a well-crafted e-Harmony profile.

Aside from my lone Twitter follower, the people of U/Yzbekistan are a mystery to me. But while we probably laugh at different things culturally, the need to laugh is inherently human. French writer, Romain Gary said,
“Humor is an affirmation of human dignity, a declaration of man’s superiority to all that befalls him.”
So maybe in U/Yzbekistan, a country often criticized for its domestic policies on human rights (according to Wikipedia), the people there need as much comedy as they can get. In this they share a common bond with us here in America. As my Mom would say, thank goodness they have access to MyFace, Fritter, LinkedUp and CrudeTube.

Join The Urban Erma on Facebook or follow on Twitter. You can listen to the podcast on Podbean or subscribe on iTunes. Leighann Lord is a stand-up comedian, who's style is best described as "Thinking Cap Comedy." If comedy were music, she'd be Jazz. Check out her upcoming shows @ Join her on FaceBook. Follow her on Twitter.

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