Saudi Arabia Is Lightening Up

By Bill Maher

Wahhabism is Saudi Arabia’s dominant faith. It’s also Arabic for “no fun,” so the kingdom has no movie theaters and music is frowned upon. But now younger Saudis have taken to YouTube to post funny videos satirizing their uptight culture. One video, a Bob Marley parody titled, “No Woman, No Drive,” has over 12 million views. And one of the king’s sons recently paid a visit to UTURN Entertainment, the company that made this and other videos, to give them his official approval. 

As satire, it’s pretty tame. They’re not criticizing Islam, they’re just trying to have a little fun in their lives. They go online and they see what the rest of the world is doing and they want a piece of it, too. Why can’t Saudis make videos of cats falling off sofas like the rest of the world?

OK, so it’s not exactly the Saudi Spring, but a few years ago even joking about women driving cars would have gotten you a stern talking-to, followed by a stern finger-severing, so let’s mark this down as progress.