Viewing posts tagged jack shaheen
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 ...