Viewing posts tagged islamophobia
Yes, I use the Oxford comma. I use it because it is sensible, stylish, and clarifying.
Oh, and this is Part 2 of Shabcast 23, featuring the continuation of my latest chat with Daniel Harper. I think the title is pretty much self-explanatory.
That's my thing now. Self-explanatory titles. And Oxford commas. They're my thing too now. And irrelevant commentary on my own style.
Self-explanatory titles, irrelevant commentary on my own style, and Oxford commas.
See, they're nice aren't they? If that comma hadn't been there, before the 'and', it could've looked like I was saying I now make irrelevant comments about my own style and about Oxford commas.
And clearly I would never make irrelevant comments about Oxford commas.
By the way, here's a link to Rebecca Watson's video (referred to in the Shabcast), in which she mentions (in passing) that a guy tried to chat her up in a hotel elevator in the wee small hours, and that, guys, it's probably not a good idea to do that. That bit starts around 4:30.
Further to the discussions about ...
NOTE: This article has been amended to correct factual mistakes and clarify arguments.
Iron Man (2008), starring Robert Downey Jnr. and directed by Jon Favreau, is objectively one of the most evil films ever made. Possibly the most evil, actually.
I’ll get around to justifying that opening statement in a bit. But first, I just want to say… ahem… fuck Tony Stark. Seriously, fuck him. The arrogant, smug, privileged, sexist, immature, selfish, capitalist prick. The rich, preening, self-satisfied asshole. The callous, self-involved, vainglorious, narcissistic wanker. This guy isn’t charming or funny or lovable. He’s scum, masquerading as humankind’s best friend. He’s the 1% as saviour of the world, at a time when the 1% are directly and knowing destroying the world. He’s the smiling face of the anthropocene (or rather capitalocene) extinction. He’s genocidal imperialism as (lone) humanitarian intervention. He’s neoliberal capitalism and neoconservative foreign policy as a series of bad-boy quips. He’s private capitalist industry as heroism. He’s mega-wealth as heroism. He’s white male privilege as heroism. He’s militarism, imperialism and American exceptionalism as heroism. He’s the War on Terror as heroism. He’s everything sick and twisted and rotten and filthy and evil and insane ...
The three winners have all been sold as complex, nuanced productions that don't shy away from hard truths about US foreign policy. And liberal audiences can't get enough of them. Perhaps it's because, alongside the odd bit of self-criticism, they are all so reassuringly insistent that, in an increasingly complicated world, America just keeps on doing the right thing. And even when it does the wrong thing – such as, I don't know, torture and drone strikes and deadly invasions – it is to combat far greater evil, and therefore OK.
The utility to Western imperialism of depicting Arabs with the kind of culturalist discourse of modern vs. pre-modern, secularism vs. cultish religion, democracy vs. theocracy, civilisation vs. medievalism, rationalism vs. fanaticism (translated out of code: good Westerners vs. bad Arabs) that followed in the wake of the "war on terror" is obvious.
This way of constructing Arab and/or Middle Eastern cultural identities in Western art, literature, media and ideology, is very old.
Edward Said's seminal book Orientalism outlines the way in which the West has constructed the East as an exotic, romantic, cruel, sensuous, decadent, fanatical, inscrutable Other. (...though it is occasionally weakened - in my presumptuous and insignificant opinion - by the problems underlying Foucault's notion of 'discourse', which Said utilises.)
Jack Shaheen's book Reel Bad Arabs reveals how Hollywood has vilified and dehumanized Arabs. Here's a great short documentary demonstrating his thesis. It's central message may not come as a surprise to you, but it's still salutary to see the evidence collated and concentrated.
Such representations of Arabs pop up in the Doctor Who story 'Pyramids of Mars' (1975) as part of the show's tactic, at that time, of raiding the motifs ...
We've all seen him. He's swarthy, usually (though not always) with a dark beard. He's often wearing a fez (no, I'm not going to say it) and robes of some kind.
|A fanatic. And friend.|
Sometimes, he leaves his home desert and comes to England. He may be dressed in Western clothes and live in a house with Western furnishings, but he's got a secret room, or a shrine, or a sanctum behind a billowing curtain, in which he keeps his infernal idols amidst clouds of suffocating incense.
(cue dramatic music)
...the Egyptian Fanatic!
When he comes to England, he becomes the mirror image of the English Explorer Who Has Just Returned from Egypt (henceforth, the Explorer). This man goes to Egypt for the love of antiquities and discovery, and comes back enchanted and bewitched by the place (by the place, mind, not the people); filling his big, wood-panelled home with Egyptiana. The question of whether the Explorer has any right to this Egyptiana is raised only by the Egyptian Fanatic in England (henceforth, the Fanatic).
The Fanatic has come to England from his native land in search of something, some inscrutable justice ...