The following is a satirical piece
Bardo – bar, Beirut, LEBANON
Review – 1-star (terrible)
By – SaidDisciple_1948
There are no character limits on U.S.-backed travel website TripAdvisor’s comments section, but it has been proven time and time again that the company’s systemic discrimination against reviews written by non-whites specifically target lengthy ones. As if the imperialist apparatus’ ratings system wasn’t colonial enough: not only does it refuse to apply the Hindu-Arabic numeric system for its ratings, but it also brands itself as “universal,” all while compeling its users to abide by European values such as “hygiene,” which is a term whose ontological expansion was applied by defenders of scientific racism to normalize ethnic apartheid.
You’ll have to excuse the form of my review, then, as I openly defy the unspoken consensus set by the website’s board to silence opinions articulated by the people Martiniquais revolutionary, Frantz Fanon, once called the “wretched of the Earth.”
I will now transcribe my initial review of infamous Beirut gay bar Bardo, which I (unfortunately) visited as part of the fieldwork I’ve been doing for my upcoming book, “Faggotry, or the Cancer of Colonialism.”
The first thing that annoyed me at Bardo was the dense stench that assailed me before I could even cross the bar’s threshold; you know, the kind you smell in a putrid locker room. To be completely fair, one of my sources had warned me that Friday night was prime time drinking for middle-to-upper class “gay” men in Beirut.
After I retreated to the terrace to suck in a breath of clean air, I finally entered the tediously decorated room and slipped into the crowd. There, I noticed a group of young
Arab men standing near the restrooms, giving me the sort of commiserative look one needs the rest of one’s life to shake off. Clearly, the U.S. embassy had tipped off its native informants about my arrival. After all, this bar was Gay Internationalist Arab (GIA) territory, the space in which they generally convene and profess their theoretical illiteracy.
The GIAs had probably wiretapped the entire place, with the help of the CIA, no less. But I was ahead of the game. When Professor Joseph Massad, revolutionary fedayeen, author of highly acclaimed book “Desiring Arabs”, disciple of the 20th century’s most brilliant intellectual, Edward Said, walks into Western liberalism’s Levantine headquarters, one should expect the ruthless Empire to take much-needed precautions.
I scuttled around the establishment and safely traversed the dance floor towards the bar. There, in the shadow of a pole, I ordered a glass of arak. The bartender told me they didn’t serve “that.”
Now, before academic opponents accuse me, once again, of promoting nativist identitarianism, I’d like to point out that the bartender advised me to get a “cosmopolitan” instead. My study of subject formation under colonialism came into full play at this moment. Not to use this as an opportunity to congratulate myself, BUT you have to admit the bartender’s proposition is a laughably, typical GIA move. Cosmopolitans were rendered popular by that neocolonial channel, HBO’s hit series “Sex and the City,” which is particularly beloved by “gay” Western men.
Lest clients of Bardo forget, their enjoyment of said cocktail is the result of the modification of their subaltern taste buds and assimilation into a process of Western “gay” subjectivation. This is Foucauldian bio-politics put into practice, comrades. If I view the inclusion of arak on the bar’s menu as imperative, this does not make it a nativist claim towards authenticity, but rather a championing of every day instances of anti-colonial resistance.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, I eventually ordered a glass of Lebanese red wine, and asked the bartender why the owner chose the name “Bardo.” Was it in homage to Zionist French actress, Brigitte Bardot? “It might be,” he said in a low voice laced with indifference. I told him it was further proof of the importance of exploring how the colonial regime of power and knowledge dictates cultural signifiers perceived as “gay-friendly” by postcolonial Arab subjects, to which he replied: “honestly, this is just a bar where gay men have fun.”
See, I won’t have it – agents of Euro-American imperialism are in dire need of training their employees. Frankly, the bartender reminded me of that overrated French philosopher, Jacques Derrida, whom the master Foucault once accused of practicing “terrorism of obscurantism” and whose refusal to see Israeli racism and settler-colonialism caused him to whitewash the massacre and occupation of Palestinians by Zionists. European guilt towards the Holocaust stripped Derrida of any intellectual agency, not unlike the Gay International, whose imposition of sexual identities and epistemologies stripped the Bardo bartender, and practically every employee and client of the bar, of theirs.
I was at Bardo for less than an hour before deciding it was time to leave. I had to postpone my mission, for reasons of survival: the colonial violence to which my brown body was subject in this space had awakened traumatic memories I was not ready to openly deal with at the time. It also seemed like my presence, and inherent state of alterity, was interrupting the clientele’s understanding of self through a universalized European ontology and epistemology disseminated by way of imperial channels, which I wouldn’t normally mind, but would rather interrupt in the context of a classroom, you know?
This gay bar was a cesspool of colonial discursive realization, really. All these predominantly Lebanese Christians with Western names – their kind has historically been the quickest to adsorb, and subsequently normalize, the productive qualities of colonial discursive power – nauseatingly shaking their butts to white trash starlet, Britney Spears’ “Toxic” were just pushing my buttons. They were actors in the theater of the absurd that is Bardo. I say theater, and therefore invoke fiction, because there are no gay men in the Arab world. The epistemic collusion was total.