It never fucking ends 2

Here is another installment by the New York Times in its series of illuminating articles on the Arab people and their customs.

SOMEWHERE ARAB: Frustrated at having to be in the vicinity of a New York Times writer, the young man, fatigued, was leaning on the horn of his picturesquely war-damaged but sturdy American car in an attempt to drown out the shrillness of the drone being emitted from the mouth of the journalist next to him.

The horn made a foreigner in the car next to him wince, because first world-ers have a superiorly-developed, delicate, inner ear structure, the product of centuries of listening to chamber music by gentle streams. Denizens of the Mohamedian countries lack this. Up until colonialism rescued them with pizza and espresso, they spent their time being centuries ahead of the west in the fields of medicine and mathematics, and thus had no time to develop a refined appreciation of silence which is why now they like to bang saucepans together just for fun and are not bothered by cacophony.

Then came one of those NYT moments.

“America no. 1. White man very good,” said a man with fresh dramatic injuries on a motorbike, providing excellent copy.

Americans and, for that matter, all Westerners are treated in these here parts with a warmth and gratitude rarely seen in any Mohamedian country, in that they are not eaten alive by braying savages.

It is that oddest of oddities, an Arab war zone that a NYT reporter has the privilege to enter and cover a historic uprising for NYT readers. Instead, he talks about himself.

Here, there must be a mention of a taxi driver because we’re discussing Arabs. Also let’s talk about translators, because this article is the journalistic equivalent of sitting down to watch a film and then discovering you’ve loaded the “making of” DVD. Here goes: A big problem for non-Arabic speaking journalists is that it appears that sometimes they do not fucking get it, but that’s OK because the NYT will still publish their simplistic bullshit.

In some restaurants, they seem almost reluctant to accept a foreigner’s money. This means they worship me as a liberator. I worship Espresso, and was surprised to find that Arabs stop scalping foreigners long enough to make a pretty good Espresso. While no one would confuse it with our first world coffee, it is pretty good for a region which serves either instant Nescafe or that thick brown shit – or a variety of other coffee-based drinks at Costa and Starbucks (but I wont mention that here).

I will deign to eat the pizza here. This will allow me to use food to suggest that over four decades of colonialism (during which nearly half the country’s Bedouin population were killed by the occupying military) was beneficial to the country. Remarkably, I will say this either as a tasteless witticism or actually mean it. Even more remarkably, the NYT will publish it.

One may wonder how it is I have the time and inclination to grasp my stupid little espresso cup and ruminate on pizza while in the middle of an uprising but there we are.

Then I will return to my central theme, and reflect on the natives’ adoration for the United States and our flag for two paragraphs of straight jingoistic froth.

What popular Arab movement has ever flown the flags of the US, the EU, NATO, Italy, France and Qatar all at once I will ask, without also asking whether there is any other country that has been similarly fucked by these countries all at once.

Many Libyan parents with newborn girls are reportedly naming them Susan, in honour of Susan E. Rice and the most important word in this sentence is reportedly, the key to a million kingdoms of bullshit.

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Peggy Swords | Frank Kern

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