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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31 Responses to It never fucking ends 2

  1. Jess says:

    PREACH

  2. Austin says:

    Is this thomas friendman in particular you’re going after or just the whole NYT culture? Either way, well lampooned.

  3. kwerekwere says:

    *slow clap*

    well done.

  4. J Raine says:

    Huzzah!

  5. jjf says:

    I thought this was a pretty mean piece until I read the original it was written in response to. Amazing, simply amazing, that the NYT lets its writers get away with that kind of inane bullshit.

  6. Amira says:

    You don’t know me, but I love you, Sarah Carr.

  7. Inès says:

    Bravo Sarah

  8. blacklisted says:

    Dear Sarah,

    As a professional explorer, I have spent many years flying to the Muslim World to spend a week in this or that capital city’s five-star hotel, and have had the opportunity to really get to know the Mohammedans and their ways. I have integrated into the Muslim World and consider many Mohammedans to be like those family members who occasionally shine your shoes and make your morning “shay,” which is the Arabics for tea.

    I will have you know that I myself met a Mohammedan family in the “souq” who was both willing to acknowledge my presence and had named their baby Susan. My personal anecdote serves as proof of a greater generalizable fact.

    Mohammedans are known for naming their children after things they revere such as Mohamed, after the Prophet (Peanut Butter Upon Him), who they really like, as well as the Egyptian couple who named their newborn baby Facebook in honor of the Facebook Revolution where Mark Zuckerberg directly caused the ouster of Hosni Mubarak.

    Also, when I was in an Egyptian city other than Cairo and Alexandria that has an exotic Arabic name, which I will pronounce by rolling my ‘r’ in an exaggerated manner that I have never used to say any other word, I went for my morning jog in my above-the-knee white guy shorts and was met with bssbsses and other such hostilities.

    We can only hope that the less polished Mohammedans in places like this learn from the more Americanized Mohammedans in Benghazi so that we can all have world peace.

    - Rod Nordland, Pulitzer Prize winner and NYT explorer

  9. Kyra says:

    Sarah just “writes about stuff” and it sounds a lot better.

  10. steph says:

    “illuminating article”, truly, unbelievable. It’s a pity that no comments can be posted on the original piece.

  11. Suzanne says:

    and Erm.. would that be Susan in Anglo pronouncation, transcribed into Arabic as Soozan or similar as a tribute to S Rice (do they lso get middle name Riz?), or the good old Arabic version & far from uncommon Sawsan? Which some Libyan mums might have called their daughters anyway… How many Arab girl newborns are being called Hillary?

  12. Steven Venick says:

    Amazing satire, although it probably would’ve been even more effective if you’d restrained yourself a little more so that the people with the perspective you’re targeting could actually approach it.

    Speaking of which, I took the time to send the link to Rod Nordland. His response was very brief, but I think he’s sensitive to your point.

    I’m puzzled by the fact that you didn’t take the time to send the article to Mr. Nordland yourself. I know that you’re writing for yourself and for a certain audience (myself included), but wouldn’t it be an added plus if you actually engaged in dialogue with the person/position that you’re critiquing? Isn’t that the point of writing a response?

  13. Sarah Carr says:

    And I’m puzzled by why you assume that I haven’t taken the time to send the blog post to Nordland. As it happens a friend sent it to his Twitter account and hasn’t got a response. Maybe he doesn’t check it regularly.

    In any case the point of this response, as with the last Friedman piece is to amuse myself and work out my bile. NYT MENA desk editors ignore criticism, as it patently clear.

  14. Richard Allen says:

    This is pretty clever, and the original that it is spoofing was pretty obnoxious, but let’s be honest; Middle-Easterners (Mediterraneans in general, really) do have a deep and profound love affair with their horns.

  15. Catherine says:

    Your satire is awesome – when I read the part, well actually like the first half of the article, my reaction was something like “What the, how could they, that guy has never, any Muslim country???” Point being, very coherently attacked this zift of an article.

    I think a better title for the NYTimes article would be “What We Americans Dream When Going to Bed At Night – That the Rest of the World Likes Us.”

  16. Anonymous says:

    Have you ever been to Libya Sarah? Does not sound like it.

  17. Dan Mahoney says:

    Rod Norland truly wrote a disgusting piece, but I wouldn’t write off the entire NYT MENA staff. Laura Kasinof and local reporters in Sana’a have done an exemplary reporting on the events in Yemen.

  18. Pingback: Quote of the Day: Mohamedian countries and elsewhere | Curious on the Road

  19. Mahdi says:

    killed it :)

  20. Jailan says:

    So did Nordland respond in the end?

  21. daliah says:

    hahahahaha thank you for this. hilarious as always. fuck the nyt and their bullshit

  22. Didi says:

    Ha! I remember reading that with the crack about espresso and I was like are you an idiot?!?!?!

    And also that Europeans got coffee from Ottomans and Arabs anyway….

    What’s really kind of sad here is the NYT is much better than a lot of other alternatives. Very. Very. Sad.

  23. falasteeni says:

    Nordland eh? I never read the NYT so I thought this was another jab at the other clown, the one with the mustache. Turns out they all write the exact same fucking way.

    Unless all the NYT’s correspondents are actually one straight Arab woman.

  24. Constant Reader says:

    Oh, Sarah, the NY Times is a lifestyle paper, its reporters have to write about pizza and coffee. The combo sounds awful, but the paper believes its readers are crazy about pizza or coffee, so why not combine them in a story about Libya. Local color and sounds? Is that what the writer was after? The kindness of strangers? The NY Times is in the know! Boundless complacency rules. The same mindset is shown in many of their stories, domestic and foreign, from local neighborhoods and abroad. I’m glad you puncture their pomposity….their lifestyle writing/reporting is unbearable, and it passes as news.

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  26. yet more tiresome times in ny says:

    Chris Hedges (former nyt foreign correspondent) zaps the ny times here:
    http://www.truthdig.com/arts_culture/page2/the_myth_of_the_new_york_times_in_documentary_form_20110706
    It ain’t satire, alas.

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