*
*
home why notanymore? world photos post your comments the archives * log in
*
*
*
  *
  Fri 15th, December 2017
*  
Increase/Decrease Size of Font reduce font size
Make notanymore.net your homepage?
Go to favourite place?
Favourite place photograph
*
Your latest comments
* * *
 
* Spinning Nepal's Tragedy
* An obituary for Edward Said.
* Reading Strauss scepticly
* Comments On the Einstein Freud letters
* Einstein and Freud
* Part Two - Freud's reply
 
*
Interesting links
* * *
 
* Afghanistan: Abuses by U.S. Forces
* The Hutton Report (excluding appendices 1.9Mb)
* The 'New Anti-Semitism'
Tht full unpublished EU report on anti-semitism (1.11 MB)
* The CIA in Iran
* An Interesting Day: President Bush's Movements and Actions on 9/11
* Jews against the occupation
* Behind the Invasion of Iraq - Research Unit for Political Economy
* The Iraq Crisis: Building the case for a new war.
* The Geneva Convention
* United Nations Charter
* Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein: The U.S. Tilts toward Iraq, 1980-1984
 
*
Important speeches 03/04
*   *
 
* George W Bush - Address to the United Nations- September 2002
* George W Bush - National Press Conference - March 2003
* US National Security Document - 2003
* George W Bush - State of the Union Adress 2003
* John Howard - Address to Australian Parliament on Iraq - 2003
* George W Bush - Address to the Nation - 17.03.2003
* John Howard - Statement to Parliament - 18.03.2003
* Tony Blair - Address to House of Commons - 18.03.2003
* Colin Powell - Address to AIPAC - 31.03.2003
* Tony Blair - Address to the Labour Party Conference - 30.09.2003
* George W Bush - Address to the Nation -08.09.2003
* George W Bush - Address to the United Nations- 23.09.2003
* George W Bush - State of the Union Adress 2004
* George W Bush - Address to the Nation - 13.04.2004
 
  *  
Search Op-Ed Database
*   *
 
Mind over matter
Louis Werner - Al Ahram - Thu 8th, July 2004
The news from investigative reporter Seymour Hersh that Jewish historian Raphael Patai's book The Arab Mind, a sex-obsessed cultural stereotyping of the Arabs, is considered a must-read by Washington neo-conservatives is not surprising. It is, after all, taught at the US Army War College, and its new edition has an introduction written by Colonel Norvell DeAtkine, director of Middle East Studies at the JFK Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, whose academic specialties are listed as terrorism, urban warfare, and "operations other than war".

So I suppose it is also unsurprising that the book was apparently used as a field manual by US Army Intelligence in Abu Ghraib prison, whose interrogators inferred the bizarre lesson from Patai's chapter on Arab sexual shame that recommends forced nakedness, transvestitism, and female-on-male sado-masochism as the best way to get Iraqi prisoners to cooperate and talk.

The book is of the discredited genre that was once called "national character studies", but is now dismissively called "diaperology" by anthropologists, for its laughably reductionist argument that culture can be explained by how a nation toilet trains and mollycoddles its children. Patai chooses to focus on the potty's shame factor, while other diaperologists have concentrated on its relation to childhood rebellion, resistance, and retention. It is difficult to write these lines with a straight face.

Patai was a Hungarian refugee and journeyman academic, who made an itinerant living in the USA, before his death in 1996, by editing Theodore Herzl's diaries, writing his own memoirs of life in the old country and Mandatory Palestine and churning out middle brow studies on such subjects as Jewish seafaring and folk tales. His interest in probing the "mind" of different peoples came from his urbane multi-ethnic European roots, from which he acquired both an amateur taste for Freudian analysis and an acute nose for racial typecasting.

But his penchant was not always for the mind's dark corners. Unlike his book on the psychopathology of Arabs, his treatise The Jewish Mind is a cheerful paean to his own people's mental health and cultural normalcy. His one book in which Arab meets Jew face-to-face is The Seed of Abraham: Jews and Arabs in Contact and Conflict, in which he claims that Arabs are "psychologically unable" to accept Israel. The usually bland review service Publishers Weekly gives it an uncustomarily harsh assessment, calling it an "apologetic screed likely to raise hackles".

The current edition of The Arab Mind features a foreboding cover of a blood red sunset over a black minaret and is published by Hatherleigh Press, an eclectic low-end publisher of body building manuals ( The White House Workout, Inspired by President George W Bush ), Fundamentalist Christianity-filtered American history ( The Spiritual Journey of George Washington ), and tongue-in-cheek guides to macho misbehaviour ( The Badass Bible ). For a genteel scholar like Patai, whose credentials from Princeton, Columbia, and the University of Pennsylvania are touted on the cover, this is indeed odd company to keep.

I remember first reading Patai's book as a college junior in a class taught by Bernard Lewis, whose own Arab-bashing bibliography is linked on Amazon.com to this very title. Lewis himself had a few Arab sexual anecdotes he would trot out in learned lectures for the amusement of his students. The one I remember best is that the Arabic word for revolution , thawra, comes from the verb thaara, meaning to stir up, but which he found to have an obscure secondary meaning, to become sexually aroused. Therefore, Lewis would say with his mumbly chuckle, the idea for an Arab revolution is to have an orgy.

One hears from President Bush that what happened in Abu Ghraib is "un-American", that it does not represent "who we really are as a people". But following the Superbowl halftime show, Britney Spears's career choice to go from "good girl" to "bad girl", and news that the temporary shutdown of the $9 billion per year pornography industry in California, caused by an HIV outbreak among its "talent", may affect the state's economic recovery, all this talk about "sex" and "who we are as a people" becomes confused.

Pity that Raphael Patai is no longer alive to write The American Mind. President Bush might have learned something from his analysis of Private Lynndie England and her dog leash, in which her skulking smirk is paired with Janet Jackson's faux horror while covering up her busted bustier, both now under the gaze of millions. Just wait until the Arabs put those images on a deck of cards.

The writer is an independent documentary film maker who works regularly in the Middle East.
Previous PageMake a Comment on this Article?Recommend this Website?Back to Top
 
  *  
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP
Legal Disclaimer
*   *
 

Opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of notanymore, nor is notanymore responsible for objectionable material accessed via links from this site.

notanymore may occasionally contain copyrighted material the use of which may not always have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. notanymore is making such material available in its effort to advance understanding of humanitarian, education, democracy, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, and such (and all) material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use any copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Some photography has been sourced from inertiastock.xchng003.

If you would like any more information about this website please send an email to: info@notanymore.net.

 
  *  
notanymore, copyright 2004 back to top