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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

It's Happening, Angry Arab!

Yesterday morning my wife somewhat triumphantly informed me that she had just seen an article in the NY Times in which a Middle East authority named As'ad Abukhalil is quoted. The article had to do with a scandal involving one of the royal princes in Saudia Arabia, or some such, and her satisfaction was due to having quickly realized that she knew just who this expert was, when otherwise he would have just been one more obscure name, But this name rang a definite bell, because I had mentioned this man so often in the past.

As'ad Abukhalil (that is a singularly cool name, I think) is the proprietor of the weblog, "The Angry Arab News Service," a site to which I have been a more or less regular visitor for a long time, maybe almost since I started up my own weblog here, an event that is now sneaking up on having been a full eight years ago. I don't recall what drew me to that site, unless it was out of an interest in trying out a place that would be the Arab equivalent of "Google News (because after all, we all need to stay on top on where our oil is going to come from, don't we, lest all civilization should begin to collapse), but once I started reading it I was hooked on a habit that persists to this day. I think it was the sheer quirkiness of this guy's posts, which are usually but not otherwise short, as befits a "news service," though in those days he kept what turned out to be a very uncharacteristic low profile, because he was badly "backgrounded" by his own site's comment section.

I have never seen a comment section like it, even while I inquire as to why do all comment sections all over the world seem sooner or later to degenerate into bilious, salacious messes if they are popular enough yet are left unmoderated. Can it be that people the world over are given to giving themselves up to quick cracks and the more obscene and narrow-minded the better, especially if the commenter need not even give a fake name but instead can hide behind the cloak of being called "Anonymous?"

Eventually things got so bad there, with all the nastiness of all kinds and knots of bitter feuds all tangled together like a pit full of insane snakes, that Angry Arab had to dump his commenters altogether, though I now think his his biggest reason was that that section overshadowed him so badly, because you had to read that site for a while before you could figure out who was supposedly rnnning things there. But not anymore, by a long shot.

Now Angry Arab, by his own testimony, which is meant to be imparted to us slyly and with seeming modesty, is big, and his opinions are highly sought after, and I can believe it, because he is nothing if not conscientious, in his attention to Arab affairs and in the conduct of his site, for in a world where regularity of posts is such a rare thing, not a day goes by that you don't see eight or nine new items up there, though he appears to be greatly helped along by numerous contributors. whom he always acknowledges by calling their names and saying, "Thanks (so and so).'

But he is also highly egotistical, so that it is easy to believe that his being cited in this NY Times article as a recognized authority, his shirt size must've increased by a couple of inches at least. He would probably concede the overwhelming prestige of the Times, even though his contempt for that publication seems to have no bounds, because he thinks it leans far too much toward being supportive of Israel.

Lebanonese (as he and his commenters used to like to say) by birth and upbringing, his utter contempt for Israel is such that regularly he predicts that that country's days are numbered, to the point where I definitely think that he himself would not be surprised and he would even be gratified, should the Lieberyahoos finally decide one day, as is their wont, to send the Mossad to bump him off. He has as much as said so himself, and, as if to underscore this point, he made a speaking tour of some presitigious British colleges a few weeks ago, and over his objections one of those universities, I think it was the one at Leeds, assigned some security to the event.

But, referring back to this article about the Saudi prince that my wife saw, Saudia Arabia and the House of Saud is just a notch below Israel in its placement at the very top of Angry's shitlist. So by that you can say that at least he spreads his contempt all around, even for the U.S., or at least various aspects of it. The U.S. is supposed to be his place of refuge and his home now, and he is a professor at a California school, though you get the feeling that he hangs out in the Middle East and other places so much that his students don't see much of him. This reflects the fact that there is plenty in the Middle East, and actually all over the world to be perturbed about, though I still think that anger is in no way a useful state of mind and efforts should be made to avoid it at all times, and I fail to understand why it is so commonly thought that dropping into that condition is such a smart thing to do.

But I can say that, can't I, because I have conspired to live on a road that is so lightly traveled that at certain points of the day -- and especially at night -- you could conceivably lie right in the middle of it for as long as an hour without anybody running over you.


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