Dear NYT

Posted by sepoy on June 01, 2006 · 2 mins read

What in tarnation is wrong with you? Forget the whole Clinton marriage thing that you just "covered". Forget even the earth-shaking headline today, "Terror Fears Hamper U.S. Muslims' Travel". No Duh! Just explain to me this piece by Katherine Zoepf which is so over-the-top with inanities that the only response I have is a blogrant:

Look at the opening lines: "There was a time, not long ago, when the idea of jet travel in the Persian Gulf countries conjured up images of white-robed sheiks accompanied by cages full of squawking falcons and of European oil executives lounging in first-class luxury — of a frequent-flier population more at home with a large entourage than a humble rolling suitcase."

Dear Ms. Zoepf, when was that magical time? During the Abbasid Caliphate? On Aladdin's flying carpet? Because I have flown in and out of the Persian Gulf since 1975 and I don't -EVER- recall any abundantly garbed sheikhs with falcons. Have you been watching one too many re-runs of Lawrence of Arabia? And then you go on and find a quote from someone who, supposedly, does travel in Arabia.

David Bender, a graduate student in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University who often travels throughout the Arab world, said that while in Damascus during Ramadan last fall, he had been surprised to see billboards over the Syrian capital's main traffic circles advertising special fares to the United Arab Emirates for Eid al-Fitr, the holiday that marks the end of the Islamic fasting month.

"It's been interesting to see advertisements encouraging people to spend the Eid in Dubai, on vacation; this suggests that there must be a middle class who can afford that kind of thing," Mr. Bender said."

It suggests to Mr. Bender that there might be some kind of middle class that might, you know, need/enjoy/desire/consume that kind of thing. Because, lord knows that Mr. Bender in his travels throughout the Arab world has not seen anyone besides sheikhs, their falcons, and Mr. Hammond from Exxon.

WHERE do they find these people!??

Yeah. I stopped reading after that. Do let me know if the parade of Orient's indelible imagery ever stopped.


Baraka | June 01, 2006

*sigh I love Orientalism.

chanad | June 01, 2006

ill be honest with you. i do recall seeing a falcon on a plane in the gulf once or twice. but it was just a single bird tethered to a perch... not "cages full of sqauwking falcons". if you want to see some more Orientalism then check out this beauty: (via abu aarvark )

antje | June 01, 2006

it would seem that Ms. Zoepf is referencing that NYer article a while back which made the claim that *because* of [insert forgotten Middle-East-based airline here]'s extensive drop-down menu of titles (including, but not limited to: Dowager, Sheikh, and Rear Admiral (Upper Half)), its passengers must be accordingly worthy of such-ranked designation. she does not, however, seem to have made it to the conclusion of said article, in which it was also noted that Amtrak, too, boasted a remarkable myriad of honorifics (including suffixes!) in the ticket-sales portion of its website.

saud | June 01, 2006

That westpoint link is really damn scary. Hmmm....CTC sure sounds a lot like CTU...Art reflecting life or is life reflecting art? Maybe we need to hire some moorish academics to study this phenomena. Ah, my favorite:

sepoy | June 01, 2006

chanad: i did see the link off of Abu Aadvark and even had picked up choice quotes to mock...and then I realized that mocking NYT is one thing. Mocking US-Army. Well.

Farangi | June 01, 2006

She does say "the idea" conjures. Doesn't that sort of buttress Said's thesis, and by extension, Sepoy's? Also, let's not be too hasty. Without Orientalism I would have no sexual fantasies of any kind. Humbly yours,

PDCS | June 02, 2006

Yo Sepoy, you game mockin Pakistan army! and that's cool, right. skin color aside, same blood flow everywhere! orientalist. why blame poor NYT reportress?

chapati mystery :: Know Thy Enemy | June 03, 2006

[...] Well. There you have it. [this entry is for pdcs.] [...]

babu | June 03, 2006

as i lay on the floor with my country at war i wish i could care but my liver's too sore... okay, not true. f&*k, F**K F*&^%&&%CK these f*&^*%%&ing f%$ks. sheikhs too. would rant more, but i gotta go attend to my arranged marriage...

elizabeth | June 04, 2006

...odd, too, because this is the same k. zoepf who's done some good and sensitive reporting from syria in the past, esp. on the kurds; as well as probably the only article on the issue of the assyrian christian minority in southern turkey that i've seen in the mainstream US press. also she was a college classmate of dear S., who has said nice things about her. lord knows what prompted the above-quoted flights of fantasia, but she's not just some dim orientalist on a two-week press junket in dubai.

sepoy | June 04, 2006

You know, I did google around for Ms. Zoepf and found nothing as inane. Hence, I addressed my rant to NYT. That paper is losing its mind.