Category Archives: Blogroll

Blog Post Recommend: Breitbart–Whoops Breivik Edition

Mantiq al-Tayr has two new posts related to the right-wing Christianist massacre of children in Norway. It’s the Zionism, Stupid deals with the American media’s willful refusal to acknowledge the role of public islamophobes and other demagogues.

Also see Their Blood is Not Just on Breivik’s Hands.

Leave a comment

Filed under arabist, Blogroll, domestic terrorism, Stupidity

Two Blogs to Recommend

My best friend is Muslim. (


Ninjabi (

Found these through MujahideedRyder’s tweets.

and sorry, tried to link these but WordPress has insteaded changed the perfectly serviceable way they used to do hyperlinks and replaced it with something that I have yet figured out. Bravo, WordPress. Way to improve functionality right out of things.

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogroll

Yemeni Protests and Poetry

Dr Justice posted a short piece on Yemeni poetry as it synthesizes with the protests there.


And here we see the long history of Yemeni political poetry coming brilliantly to fruition in a sort of Gesamtkunstwerk of poetry, music, dance, and fist-pumping all in one, performed recently in Taghyir Square, outside the University in San`aa. You would have to go back to the Berlin of the Weimar republic to find any comparably excellent mix of artistry and insurrection. And even that is not really comparable, since Brecht and his buddies performed in the relative safety of fashionable caberets — not in the public square, surrounded by the police.

Dr. Justice has a neat video posted, and I don’t want to steal his thunder, so watch it there.

But on a related note, here’s what I’m fairly sure is the Yemeni national anthem. But it might not be. Anyway, there’s a guy wearing traditional garb, and it’s pretty cool.

1 Comment

Filed under arab, arabist, Blogroll

Uncontroversial Personal Opinion Somehow Scandalous

Dr Justice, who blogs at The World of Dr Justice, has a post today about a recent “scandal”…well, I’ll let him tell it. I’ll depart from my SOP and post the whole post here:

We really must keep away from politics on this site — lest, touching pitch, we be defiled: for no-one convinces anyone else, and the ensuing heat helps melt the ice-caps. But the escalating weirdness of the world compels attention. So from time to time, we’ll permit ourselves a strictly linguistic contribution to the debates. In particular, a semantic analysis of the dizzying spin which the media places upon events (or which they blandly pass on from partisan spinmeisters).

Thus, in today’s Washington Post (the print edition of which arrived unscathed on our porch, despite the morning’s downpour; kudos to the delivery-man, or to some thoughtful neighbor) the headline in the leftmost column of the front page, above the fold, reads:

NPR head outsed in wake of scandal

And that is as far as many readers will get, in our busy-busy age. Those who persevere to the smaller-print subhead learn further

Departure comes amid calls on Hill to defund public broadcasting

And now surely all but the most dedicated have been sucked up into the further frenzy of the workday. What impression will they take away?

Evidently that the NPR head was caught with her hand in the till, or in bed with a capybara. And that her scandalous behavior adds fuel to the (apparently bipartisan) calls on Capitol Hill to withdraw public subsidies from these miscreants.

The actual story — and this is not in dispute — is that a different guy, who happens to have the same surname as the ousted NPR head, and who was the chief fundraiser for NPR, did X — was outed, and promptly left the scene. So already the natural semantic implication of the headline is seen to be aslant to the facts.

Well, what was X, that it is labeled a “scandal”? No, he was not caught in bed with a capybara either (and had he been, he would doubtless be surrounded by defenders, in this “Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That” age. — Actually, I hear that capybaras are really sweet between the sheets.) Rather, he got caught in the old ploy we might dub the “Camel Trap”, familiar from the days of Abscam on down. Advice to Freshmen: If you are approached by some portly, pasty-faced fellows hiding beneath a keffiyah, presenting themselves as wealthy Arabian sheikhs (or Nigerian princes, for that matter), watch what you say.

Anyhow, what he did say was … well what exactly he did say was not reported, but the way the paper put it was, he “disparaged Republicans as ‘anti-intellectual’, and tea party members as racists and xenophobes”. Given the realities on the ground, that is rather like accusing the Pope of being a Papist, or disparaging bears for going number-two in the woods; but let that lie. Assume that the opinion thus expressed is seriously at variance with the facts; it remains an opinion, expressed in what the sucker assumed was privacy. (“Um, what are those microphone-like objects dangling from your necks?” “Amulets. It’s a Muslim thing.”) Now, how — semantically, pragmatically — do we classify such an utterance?

Traditionally, there was no word for it — just something you disagreed with, or that was an outrageous thing to say, or whatever — though you would “defend to the death his right to say it”. (Remember that one? In memory still green…) Then the media invented a new term to characterize a statement made deliberately and in public, and widely known to be essentially true — but impolitic: a “gaffe”. This already was a mind-muddling assimilation of one category to another, as though we were to start calling both sheep and goats “goats”. Well, the kernel of truth to the move is that perhaps the speaker should have been more distrustful of what the spinmeisters can do with such statements, and the docility of their audience. — Next came a further extension, more dubious still, to apply the term “gaffe” to a statement made in confidence, which then is leaked. Here the only fault of the speaker was to have failed to obey what is increasingly becoming a wise piece of advice: Never say anything to anybody, ever.

And now the Washington Post has gone the media one better (or one worse), calling the leaked statement, not a gaffe, but a “scandal”. And a scandal, mind you, against the speaker, not against the operatives who falsely represented themselves and who leaked statements made in confidence.

O tempora…

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogroll, language, Stupidity

Right-Wingers Rushing to Demonize Muslim Brotherhood

The right-wing propaganda machine got cranked up to 11 in the hopes of demonizing the Muslim Brotherhood among Americans, presumably to damage President Obama’s reelection chances, since Americans sure can’t vote on the new Egyptian government.

So a couple poor interns are having to expand their rarely-taxed brains and learn the difference between the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Jazeera, just for propaganda purposes. Up until now Al Jazeera has equaled Al Qaeda in their atrophied minds. I hate to look, but undoubtedly they’ve been all over the MB entry at Wikipedia, adding made-up quotes and figures. Be prepared for some previously-obscure Christian pastors to say some really, mind-bogglingly stupid stuff about the MB in the coming days.

To see a couple brand new hit jobs on the MB and Obama, check out these two posts at

Fw: Obama wants radical muslim brotherhood in new egyptian government
and Fw: Obama advice

The latter is a cartoon. And stay and look at the rest of the archive. You sure won’t think racism is dead in America after that.

Leave a comment

Filed under bigoted idiots, Blogroll

Very Trippy Blog

You ever think to yourself, what if a mathematics-linguistics genius with a playful writing style had a blog? Wonder no more. It’s The World of Dr Justice, and it does not disappoint.
If you’re like me, reading this stuff is like trying to sip from a fire hose, but no doubt I’ll end up the smarter after reading the blog daily for a year.
Oh yes, Dr Justice updates his blog every single day, so you never have to wait.

1 Comment

Filed under Blogroll, miscellaneous, off-topic

OH NOES! A Scary Name is Popular

I found a lovely blog today, Mail Watch, which I’ve barely looked at so far but which seems to do a valuable service: exposing sensationalist journalism. How I wish I had the time and patience to run a similar blog.

The article I stumbled upon, while researching stories about Muslim taxi drivers who refuse to take guide dogs (which is not all Muslim cabbies, obviously), is about recent (and also old) news about the popularity of the name Muhammad in England.

Please go over there and read it. Here’s an exerpt:

■It’s a crap trick. Adding together 12 variations of a name and saying the official list has Mohammed at number 16 without pointing out that the official list doesn’t add any variations of names together is just a bit dishonest.

■As is not bothering to mention exactly how popular a name Mohammed is among Muslims.

■Or that altogether, boys named every variation of Mohammed made up around just 2% of all boys. Actually, the number of boys named all variations of Mohammed actually took a slight drop since last year, but you didn’t mention that either.

■It’s an old crap trick. I was mentioning it on my blog back in 2007, when the trick made it look as though Mohammed was the second most popular boy’s name.

UPDATE: ha! Tabloid Watch has an even funnier takedown here.

This one is less funny, has more statistics.

Yet another way of looking at the facts here.

You may know that American “comedian” Bill Maher said stupid nonsense about this “alarming” naming trend a few days ago. So while I’m at it, I’ve always wanted to know, is there a woman alive who doesn’t get a creepy vibe from Bill Maher?

1 Comment

Filed under bigoted idiots, Blogroll, names

Blog Recommend – QusayToday

Got a comment a few days ago from Qusay and visited his blog, Qusay Today. It’s really nice, really slick. It’s a feel-good blog about Saudi Arabia, the kind of blog that drives home the point that Arabs are not exotic strangers who are completely different from Americans. It makes me smile.
Check it out here.

1 Comment

Filed under arab, arabist, Blogroll

Bathroom Signs Around the World

Keith Massey has revamped his blog and has a new post over there about bathroom signs around the world. It’s funny and there are a lot of pictures. The male and female bathroom signs from Qatar are fairly different from what we’re used to seeing here. Instead of one silhouette in trousers and the other in a skirt, the Qataris primarily use the color scheme to differentiate on their restroom signage.

I hope Keith’s going to post more often, because his stuff is always a mix of funny and fascinating.

UPDATE: Okay, I got chided for not having pictures of the bathroom signs here, so here they are:


On another note, here’s my first-born inspecting a basil plant on one of the most beautiful days of the year.

Enjoying the autumn weather

Enjoying the autumn weather

and her little sis practicing stealth

and her little sis practicing stealth


Filed under Blogroll, miscellaneous

Blog Recommend

Lawrence of Cyberia. I have visited this blog before, but not regularly. Today I followed a series of links and ended up on some very interesting blog posts.
There’s this one: Lost in Translation, about how the media chose the most inflammatory (and inaccurate) translation possible for a Palestinian politician’s speech (this was back in 2004):

OK, so now we know that Arafat isn’t randomly exhorting the Palestinians to go out and blow up Israelis, he’s actually finishing his speech with a quote from the Qur’an. (Though that verb “terrorize” is a very 21st century/War on Terror kind of vocabulary to find in the Qur’an, isn’t it?). Now, here’s the strange thing: I tried to look up that quote in the Qur’an, to see the whole verse in context so that I might get a better idea of what Arafat was saying by citing it. I was pretty sure I would find it quickly by searching for that damning verb “terrorize”, but when I looked it up in four of the most popular English translations (Yusuf Ali, Pickthall, Khan and Shakir), I couldn’t find a single instance of the word “terrorize” appearing anywhere in the Qur’an. So finding the verse in context wasn’t as easy as I thought.

and this one: They Hate, We Don’t, full of counterexamples to the usual old arguments that Arabs hate Jews:

In other words, I don’t look for the worst examples of extremism I can find and pretend they are representative of the whole culture, just so I can smear an entire religion as “a religion of hate” or a whole race as “not quite people like us”.

It is indefensible to incite hatred of Jews. It is yet more reprehensible when children are your target audience. But it is also reprehensible to want to cherry pick the worst examples of extremist behaviour, and to pretend it is representative of an entire people, just because it fulfils your own prejudices about what kind of people “they” are.

Everything You Know About Iran is a Myth

2. He wants to wipe Israel off the map! That’s what we were told in our news media’s hysterical reporting of Ahmadinejad’s speech to the “World Without Zionism” conference in Tehran on 26 October 2005. Except it turns out that, when correctly translated, he didn’t really say that Israel must be wiped off the map, but that “the occupation regime over Jerusalem should vanish from the page of time”, which is not a threat of war or annihilation, but an expression of hope for regime change. Ahmadinejad isn’t a Zionist. He doesn’t believe that the Muslim-majority land of Palestine should be forcibly transformed into a Jewish state, and his speech is an expression of confidence that Zionist rule over Jerusalem will come to an end just as surely as other once-powerful regimes (he cites the examples of the Shah in Iran, the Communists in the Soviet Union, and Saddam’s rule over Iraq) all came to an end. If you look at the Middle East through a Zionist perspective, you might not like to hear that, but it doesn’t give anyone the right to pretend that he’s threatening to launch nukes at Tel Aviv or drive the Jews into the sea, as the “wiped off the map” language would suggest.

Adding to blogroll.

1 Comment

Filed under arab, arabist, Blogroll