RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Women are driving in Saudi Arabia.
Not on the streets. That would be illegal. But on a recent episode of “Hush Hush,” a new comedy on Saudi state television, a lilac sedan comes to a halt and a woman climbs out of the driver’s seat. A group of goofy, lascivious men (three stooges in red-checked kaffiyehs) try to pick her up by offering to repair the car. From beneath a black hijab and opaque abaya, glints of the woman’s contempt show through. “Who says my car broke down?” she says coolly. “I’m waiting for my friend.” A matching Barbie-pink car pulls up and two women glide away, leaving the Saudi dolts deflated and agog.
It’s a fantasy, of course, a comic trial balloon. “Hush Hush” was created for Ramadan, the Muslim holiday season that ended this weekend, and the state-sanctioned sketch makes the case for female drivers in a jokey way that heartens modern-minded viewers without provoking traditional ones. The woman is never shown actually driving; the camera cuts away before she grasps the wheel. It’s the kind of ellipsis that American television once used for homosexuality; you didn’t actually see it but you knew it was there.Yeah, I'm sure that's exactly what it's like. And that comedy about Saudi chick driver and the group of goofy, lascivious men--do my ears deceive me, or does that sound like something that might have appeared on The Benny Hill Show, back in the day (without the burqa and with more cleavage, I mean)? But tell us, Alessandra, what else is on the tube during Ramadan?
Okay, I've changed my mind. I think Alessandra is on the Wahhabi payroll. I have a hard time believing anyone could churn out this piffle--a total whitewash of one of the globe's most repressive regimes courtesy its embrace of sharia--unless some Saudi moneybags was behind it. ;)