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"Five axiomatic propositions of Canadian Nationalism vis-a-vis the Americans:

1. Boy, we hate Americans.

2. We really do.

3. Really.

4. I'm not kidding. We really hate them.

5. So how come they never pay us any attention?"

--Will Ferguson, Why I Hate Canadians, Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1997, p.105.


Monday, March 18, 2002

Fisk-ally irresponsible. British "reporter" Robert Fisk has a new article out, in which he relates that Cheney is hearing from his Arab hosts that they don't support an attack on Iraq. The real problem, of course, is that New Jersey-sized country. He gleefully describes how "Even in opinion poll suggests that more than 40 per cent of its citizens are hostile to Washington's policies." Naturally, Fisk sees this as prima facie evidence of America's sins; Victor Davis Hanson sees it differently.

The article isn't as bad as most of Fisk's, but I think this is only because it is shorter than usual. It does include this corker: "Saudi press were not so polite [to Cheney].One newspaper carried a front-page article condemning US policy in the region – almost unheard of in the kingdom."

Saudi newspaper articles critical of US policy in the region are almost unheard-of? I guess this is the exception that proves the rule (dated 9/28/01, according to this site). And this, too, must be another exception that proves the rule (dated 10/10/01). And also this January article is but one more of those oh-so-rare events, an article in the Saudi government-controlled press that is critical of U.S. policy. And....

How can the "reporter" Robert Fisk get so many facts wrong? Well, I guess that's why he's a "reporter" rather than a reporter. I hereby coin a new term to describe such sloppy, factually-challenged writing: "Fisk-ally irresponsible."
Arggh! I've been meaning to link to some choice articles by Orson Scott Card for the last couple of weeks, and now, because I frittered away my time on things like watching TV and eating bon-bons, Charles Johnson has beaten my sorry carcass to the punch.
Geography as political diatribe. The Association of American Geographers (AAG) holds its annual conference this week in Los Angeles. If you're in the area on Wednesday morning, March 20, you can attend this session: "4221. The Middle East Today." (Matt? Ken? Charles? How about it?) The Wiesenthal Center has protested to the AAG that this session looks a lot more like anti-Israel propaganda than a session on geographic issues. The AAG disagrees. You be the judge. The five-paper session includes the following three:

Jonathan Lu (U Northern Iowa): "Arab-Israeli Conflicts: A Biblical Solution." From the abstract: "The Jews claimed their rights to the land based on the promise God first gave their ancestor Abraham. The Palestinians claimed their rights to the land based on their historical residence on the land, while the Jews were absent living in Diaspora.... This research looked to the Bible for a solution: calling the people to learn from their history and obeying God's commands.... Success or failure of this solution depends on the willingness of both sides, with divine healing and help, to forgive and forget past bitterness, to accept the fact of needing to live in peaceful coexistence, and on the willingness of the Israelis to obey the commands of their God."

Mohameden Ould-Mey (Indiana state University):"Zionism is Back to Square One: From the Jewish Question in Europe to the Israeli Problem in the Arab World." From the abstract: "The paper examines the failure of Zionism to (1) achieve its core objectives, (2) continue to fabricate and/or re-write Middle Eastern history, and (3) realize and recognize the necessity for the de-Zionization and democratization of the State of Israel. First, the paper argues that though Europe and the Arab World paid a heavy price for the conception of Zionism in Europe and the creation of the State of Israel in Palestine, Zionism failed to solve the Jewish Question, achieve normalcy for the State of Israel, or erase Palestine and the Palestinians from the map. Second,...."

Ghazi Falah (University of Akron): "Blaming the victim: representation of the Palestinian Intifada in selected daily newspapers in North America." From the abstract: "In this paper, I look at the heading, pictures and texts published in various newspapers in Canada and the U.S. concerning the ongoing bloody conflict between the Palestinian civilians and the occupying Israeli army. I attempt to explain the causes underlying the inherited biases towards Palestinians and point out patterns of misrepresentation of the Palestinian struggle for liberation and resistance."

I always thought that geography studies would deal with cartography or environmental issues, or maybe the location of industrial development. But for these academic pretenders, it's really an outlet for political rhetoric, and sloppy political rhetoric at that.

Here's another paper from the same session. I wonder how this scholar is going to feel about being lumped in with these bozos.

Jeffrey A. Gritzner (University of Montana): "Patterns of Environmental Change in Levantine Antiquity." From the abstract: "This paper explores patterns of environmental change in the Levant during the late Pleistocene and Holocene epochs. In doing so, it variously draws upon analysis of solifluction, fluvial geomorphology, flora, fauna, the archaeological record, and literature."

What's next? A session on Israeli oppression at the next Computer Science conference ("A Batch Approach to Bandwidth Constraints, and the Problem of Israel")? A session on the evils of Zionism at the next Astrophysics conference ("The Sun Also Rises Over Palestine")?

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