Reel Bad Criticism


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His list includes The Battle of Algiers, the great 1966 film by Gillo Pontecorvo. Here the Algerian Arabs are clearly victims of French colonial policy and one sees them falling to the guillotine. Yet Pontecorvo does not hesitate to show the Arabs lovingly preparing their bombs and blowing up restaurants full of innocents.

Shaheen has some good things to say about Lawrence of Arabia, which falls short in realism on intra-Arab violence and atrocities by the Turks. Should that be doubted, consult Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia, the new book by Michael Korda. He calls the movie a “masterpiece” but notes that is not a completely accurate account of the Arab revolt. What the producers set out to achieve was “entertainment,” says Korda. One could say the same for many of the films on Shaheen’s TCM list.

Shaheen ultimately dismisses Lawrence of Arabia as a catalog of stereotypes, particularly submissive Arabs being led by a foreigner. The author of Reel Bad Arabs wants to see something like Faisal of Arabia, with Arabs at the forefront and Lawrence as an intermediary.

Arab filmmakers have not tackled the project, and aside from Moustafa Akkad’s Mohammed, Messenger of God have not produced for Mohammed what Hollywood biblical epics like The Greatest Story Ever Told did for Jesus Christ. Akkad, who also produced the Halloween movies, died in 2005 along with his daughter Rima in Amman, Jordan, victims of a suicide bomber.

In Richard Grenier’s novel, The Marrakesh One-Two, wealthy Arabs tap an American, Burt Nelson, to make a Mohammed epic. But Nelson can’t show images of the Prophet, which proves a major obstacle. And Islamic regimes are not particularly kind to cinema.

Post-9/11 movies, of which Dr. Shaheen is generally critical, have failed to take note of the more recent Islamic uprising in Algeria under the Groupe Islamique Armee. As Lawrence Wright noted in The Looming Tower, the GIA killed entire villages in midnight massacres. Their London publication Al Ansar ran headlines such as: “Thank God We have Cut 200 Throats Today,” and “Our Beloved Brother Beheaded his Father for the Sake of Allah!”

Gillo Pontecorvo, who died in 2006, stayed away from that battle of Algiers. But if any real bad Arabs exist, these might be the ones, along with those who flew hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. That was nearly 10 years ago, but it seems like just the other day.

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  • Loupdegarre

    Of course Black Hawk Down was anti-Muslim!!!! Who the hell did that idiot think was shooting at us?? Norwegian Girl Scouts??? TCM ought to play El Cid all week.

    • tagalog

      Yes, it was also quite faithful to the facts. I suppose if it were to be re-filmed to take a favorable stance vis-a-vis the Muslims (and, by the way, doesn't it seem like stereotyping to suggest that all Somalis are Muslims; after all, the Horn of Africa has been a place where all three monothestic religions co-exist), it would have to be favorable to the thousands of Somalis who engaged in what was essentially a masochistic exercise in self-flagellation for the sake of killing some Americans who were trying to help them.

  • http://eagleinnyc.wordpress.com/ Eagle in NYC

    How can anyone pose that Hollywood is biased AGAINST Islam when not one film has portrayed 9/11 itself in ten years? We can't even watch a true portrayal of the most significant event of this millennia because, in part, of liberals' misplaced sensitivities against hurting Muslims' feelings. That's not bias against Muslims, that's bias against Americans. And against truth.

    • ObamaYoMoma

      Of course, they can't make a 9/11 movie without exposing at the same time that the 9/11 jihad attacks would have been completely impossible without the millions of Muslim stealth jihadists with their thousands of mosques and madrassas already living in America as a fifth column. I imagine a few politicians and government officials would be more than a little red faced.

      • PlanetaryEulogy

        You live in a fantasy world untouched by reality.

        • ObamaYoMoma

          You live in a fantasy world untouched by reality.

          So according to you the 9/11 jihad attacks would have been possible without that large contingent of Muslim stealth jihadists already living in America as a fifth column on 9/11/2001? Can you explain how?

          Let's see…in response to 9/11 GWB like a Dhimmicrat on steroids created the massive Department of Homeland Security, the TSA, the immense National Intelligence Directorate, passed the Patriot Act, and in the process usurped our heretofore constitutionally protected freedoms of expression and speech and right to privacy, ostensibly to protect the homeland from Islamic jihadist attacks but in reality to create the false sense of security necessary to continue accommodating mass Muslim immigration with all its excess baggage. In any event, when have we in effect ever doubled the size of the federal government just to accommodate any other immigrant group?

          Furthermore, what exactly do Muslim immigrants have to offer to America that makes all of this massive government expansion and excess baggage all worth while other than honor killings, female genital mutilation, institutionalized oppression of females, wife beating, spousal rape, child marriage, child sexual slavery, institutionalized prejudice against all non-Muslim dhimmis, including oppression of gays and bigotry against Jews and all unbelievers, riots against Israel, riots against Muhammad cartoons, riots against any and all criticisms of Islam, legitimate or otherwise, Islamic supremacism, a disproportionate amount of crimes committed by Muslims, especially the crime of rape, flat out refusal to assimilate and integrate, segregated no-go zones ruled by Sharia, backwardness, barbarianism, constant demands for Halal food, constant and incessant demands for ever more Sharia, demands for more and more work place accommodations for Islamic prayer and holy days, false and non-existent claims of discrimination, incessant false claims of victimhood, racism, and Islamophobia, subversion to remove all obstacles for the eventual imposition of Sharia, intimidation, threats of violence, and homegrown and foreign domestic jihadist attacks?

          Meanwhile, we are constantly informed that Islam is a Religion of Peace™ being hijacked by a tiny minority of extremists, but the truth is there isn't a Muslim majority country anywhere on the planet where Christians and all other non-Muslims citizens aren't violently oppressed and systematically persecuted when not outright slaughtered altogether. Hence, if Islam is a Religion of Peace™ being hijacked by a tiny minority of extremists, then why do Muslims violently oppress and systematically persecute when not outright slaughtering altogether all Christians and other non-Muslims unfortunate enough to live in their Islamic countries?

          Likewise, in country after country and everywhere in the world where mass Muslim immigration is occurring, the vast overwhelming majority of the Muslim immigrants flat out refuse to assimilate and integrate and instead form segregated Muslim enclaves that eventually morph into Muslim no-go zones ruled by sharia. Indeed, there are literally hundreds of these autonomous Muslim no-go zones sprinkled throughout Europe. Hence, why are Muslim immigrants systematically refusing to assimilate and integrate in country after country?

          Indeed, since you claim I live in a fantasy world untouched by reality, then I'm sure you are chomping at the bit to provide logical explanations for all of the above phenomena.

          • PlanetaryEulogy

            The 9/11 attacks were carried out entirely by foreign nationals operating without domestic support. Not even one person arrested or implicated in the 9/11 attacks was even so much as a resident alien, much less an American citizen, nor has anyone ever demonstrated so much as a SHRED of evidence that would indicate that the hijackers received any local aid at all. Not only is it entirely possible that the 9/11 attacks were carried out without "fifth column" support, the attacks WERE, in actual fact, carried out without that support.

            And you still live in fantasy land. Call me when you join the rest of the serious adults in the world of reality.

          • ObamaYoMoma

            The 9/11 attacks were carried out entirely by foreign nationals operating without domestic support. Not even one person arrested or implicated in the 9/11 attacks was even so much as a resident alien, much less an American citizen, nor has anyone ever demonstrated so much as a SHRED of evidence that would indicate that the hijackers received any local aid at all. Not only is it entirely possible that the 9/11 attacks were carried out without "fifth column" support, the attacks WERE, in actual fact, carried out without that support.

            If you don't believe that there is a SHRED of evidence that would indicate the violent 9/11 jihadists received assistance from stealth and deceptive non-violent jihadists already living in America as a fifth column, then I have a bridge for sale I need to sell you. Are you claiming they didn't go to mosque and didn't have any contact with stealth jihadists during the entire time they lived in America prior to perpetrating their attacks? Indeed, could the 9/11 jihad attacks have even been possible if Muslims weren't allowed in the country to begin with?

            Indeed, what are you, a taqiyya spewing Muslim or a leftwing Muslim apologist in the same vein as John Esposito and Juan Cole?

            And you still live in fantasy land. Call me when you join the rest of the serious adults in the world of reality.

            Really, if I live in fantasy land, then why couldn't you address the rest of my response to you? Surely you can try to deny those manifestations too or at least provide logical explanations?

          • PlanetaryEulogy

            If you don't believe that there is a SHRED of evidence that would indicate the violent 9/11 jihadists received assistance from stealth and deceptive non-violent jihadists already living in America as a fifth column, then I have a bridge for sale I need to sell you. Are you claiming they didn't go to mosque and didn't have any contact with stealth jihadists during the entire time they lived in America prior to perpetrating their attacks?

            How does "going to Mosque" amount to receiving "fifth column" support for terrorist activities? Is the last priest that celebrated communion with Anders Behring Breivik, a "fifth column stealth crusader?"

            Indeed, could the 9/11 jihad attacks have even been possible if Muslims weren't allowed in the country to begin with?

            It wouldn't have been possible without airplanes, either, but that's not a strong argument in favor of Luddism. Nor is it proof that a "fifth column" of "stealth jihadis" aided the 9/11 attacks.

            Indeed, what are you, a taqiyya spewing Muslim or a leftwing Muslim apologist in the same vein as John Esposito and Juan Cole?

            None of the above. Unlike you, I benefit from not being utterly insane and actually living in the world of reality.

            You're still living in that fantasy world. I suggest speaking with p-shrink there, buddy.

          • ObamaYoMoma

            How does "going to Mosque" amount to receiving "fifth column" support for terrorist activities?

            Study Islam and figure it out.

            Is the last priest that celebrated communion with Anders Behring Breivik, a "fifth column stealth crusader?"

            You're confused, Breivik was a Christian in spirit, but not in reality. In other words, he preferred Judeo-Christian values to moral relativism or Islamism. However, in practice he was agnostic.

            Moreover, you are stupidly equating Christianity with Islam, however, Christianity is a true faith-based religion, whereas Islam is a supremacist theo-political totalitarian ideology far closer to Communism than it is to religion, as just like Communism, Islam seeks world domination and the end result of Islam exactly like Communism is totalitarianism, poverty, despair, hopelessness, and lots and lots of misery.

            Finally, Breivik was a terrorist and not a jihadist. You are still conflating jihad with terrorism when the two things are mutually exclusive and entirely two different things altogether. You obviously are exceedingly confused and more than just a little blinded by political correctness.

            It wouldn't have been possible without airplanes, either, but that's not a strong argument in favor of Luddism. Nor is it proof that a "fifth column" of "stealth jihadis" aided the 9/11 attacks.

            Who supports Luddism? Indeed, you are confusing the 9/11 jihadists with the Unabomber, a terrorist, and then conflating the two again. Nevertheless, without a network of fellow Muslim stealth jihadists already living in America as a fifth column and a convenient support network, the 9/11 jihad attacks would never have been possible. In fact, if Muslim immigration with all of its excess baggage was banned and reversed altogether, zero Muslims living in America would equal zero jihad attacks.

            None of the above. Unlike you, I benefit from not being utterly insane and actually living in the world of reality. <.i>

            If I'm utterly insane and you live in the world of reality, then why can't you address any of the realities I presented to you in my first response that you deliberately continue to ignore? Indeed, why do you continue to dodge the issues? The truth is you continue to dodge those issues because you can't possibly rebut them.

            You're still living in that fantasy world. I suggest speaking with p-shrink there, buddy.

            If I live in a fantasy world, then why do you continue to ignore those inconvenient realities I presented? Obviously, it's you who couldn't be more delusional or blinded by political correctness. I suggest you follow your own advice dude.

          • PlanetaryEulogy

            Study Islam and figure it out.

            Oh, so we're back to the, "They're inherently evil because they're Muslim because they're inherently evil" line of 'thinking.' I know, I've got a suggestion, why don't you bone up on rational thought and logic, kid?

            You're confused, Breivik was a Christian in spirit, but not in reality. In other words, he preferred Judeo-Christian values to moral relativism or Islamism. However, in practice he was agnostic.

            He was a moderately active member of the Church of Norway, and given his level of devotion, would certainly been an even more active member had he not, you know, been a complete loon actually no-s*** living in his mother's basement.

            Moreover, you are stupidly equating Christianity with Islam, however, Christianity is a true faith-based religion, whereas Islam is a supremacist theo-political totalitarian ideology far closer to Communism than it is to religion, as just like Communism, Islam seeks world domination and the end result of Islam exactly like Communism is totalitarianism, poverty, despair, hopelessness, and lots and lots of misery.

            Because, obviously, Christianity consists only of its most attractive practitioners, while Islam can only be fairly defined by its vilest. How logical.

            Finally, Breivik was a terrorist and not a jihadist. You are still conflating jihad with terrorism when the two things are mutually exclusive and entirely two different things altogether.

            Well, obviously. I mean that would follow automatically when one keeps in mind the fact that the martyrs waging jihad are merely freedom fighters struggling mightily to defend Allah's people from exploitation and brutality at the hands of the Zionist and Crusader states of the so-called "West," while the "terrorists" are pathetically transparent Zionist operatives in the pay of the Mossad.

            Who supports Luddism? Indeed, you are confusing the 9/11 jihadists with the Unabomber, a terrorist, and then conflating the two again. Nevertheless, without a network of fellow Muslim stealth jihadists already living in America as a fifth column and a convenient support network, the 9/11 jihad attacks would never have been possible.

            Right, because they couldn't have just come to the US on student visas (you know, just like they did in real life), slipped through the cracks because of run-of-the-mill bureaucratic inertia (you know, just like in real life), then carried out their attacks without needing to compromise operational security through close contacts with local populations thoroughly penetrated with government informants (you know, just like they did in real life)…

            In fact, if Muslim immigration with all of its excess baggage was banned and reversed altogether, zero Muslims living in America would equal zero jihad attacks.

            Forcibly deport 2 million people, most of whom are citizens of the United States, either by naturalization or freakin' birth? Now there's a workable solution!

            If I'm utterly insane and you live in the world of reality, then why can't you address any of the realities I presented to you in my first response that you deliberately continue to ignore?

            How is one to address the ravings of someone in the throes of delusion? You haven't presented any realities yet, only regurgitated back the half-digested remains of mindlessly consumed paranoid propaganda.

          • ObamaYoMoma

            Oh, so we're back to the, "They're inherently evil because they're Muslim because they're inherently evil" line of 'thinking.' I know, I've got a suggestion, why don't you bone up on rational thought and logic, kid?

            Obviously you are completely oblivious of Islam. Thus, like the gullible useful idiot you are, you feel you must intervene to apologize for something you don't have the first clue about like an unhinged loon.

            Anyway, since it is obvious that you believe the nonsense that Islam is a Religion of Peace™ being hijacked by a tiny minority of extremists, then by all means why don't you point to just one Islamic country anywhere in the world where Christians and all other non-Muslim unbelievers living in those Islamic countries aren't violently oppressed and systematically persecuted when not outright slaughtered altogether.

            Indeed, while you are at it also point to just one country in the world where mass Muslim immigration is occurring and where the majority of the Muslim immigrants actually assimilated and integrated and matriculated into becoming productive and contributing citizens instead of forming segregated Muslim no-go zones ruled by Sharia in direct contravention to the laws of the states in which they reside. Good luck!

            He was a moderately active member of the Church of Norway, and given his level of devotion, would certainly been an even more active member had he not, you know, been a complete loon actually no-s*** living in his mother's basement.

            Pure utter BS! He plainly states in his manifesto that he is not a believer in God, but he nevertheless believes in Judeo-Christian values. It was only leftwing propagandist newspapers like the New York Slimes that tried to smear all Christians. Apparently like a loon you were gullible enough to swallow their garbage. Not surprising!

            Because, obviously, Christianity consists only of its most attractive practitioners, while Islam can only be fairly defined by its vilest. How logical.

            Actually, if you weren't so mentally handicapped, you'd already know that Islam is not even a faith-based religion like Christianity and as a result you'd stop embarrassing yourself by equating it to Christianity, and why only Christianity? Don't bother, we already know!

            Well, obviously. I mean that would follow automatically when one keeps in mind the fact that the martyrs waging jihad are merely freedom fighters struggling mightily to defend Allah's people from exploitation and brutality at the hands of the Zionist and Crusader states of the so-called "West," while the "terrorists" are pathetically transparent Zionist operatives in the pay of the Mossad.

            Dude the more you post the more you impress me with your stupidity. Muslims have been waging jihad against unbelievers for the past 1400 years perpetually. Muslims aren't freedom fighters you gullible loon. Indeed, look inside the Muslim world, there is no freedom anywhere to fight for, because Islam is a supremacist theo-political totalitarian ideology that masquerades as being a religion to dupe gullible useful idiots exactly like you.

            Indeed, Islam's sole purpose and main goal is to subjugate the world into a very draconian form of Islamic totalitarianism via the imposition of sharia. Hence, Islam is not defending itself from anyone, not the Crusader states or the Israelis. However, Islam is waging jihad perpetually against the unbelievers in the West, the Jewish unbelievers in Israel, the Hindu unbelievers in Kashmir, Jammu, and India, the Buddhist unbelievers in Thailand, the Christian unbelievers in the Philippines, the atheist and Orthodox Christian unbelievers in Chechnya and Russia, the animist and Christian unbelievers in Cote D'Ivoire, Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Kenya, the Orthodox Christian Serb unbelievers in Bosnia and Kosovo, and against any and all unbelievers around the world. Just how mentally handicapped and narrow-minded can one individual be all at one time? Damn…not quite 10 years after 9/11 and you are still totally oblivious.

            Right, because they couldn't have just come to the US on student visas (you know, just like they did in real life, slipped through the cracks because of run-of-the-mill bureaucratic inertia (you know, just like in real life, then carried out their attacks without needing to compromise operational security through close contacts with local populations thoroughly penetrated with government informants (you know, just like they did in real life)…

            Moonbat…you are still living in a pre 9/11 world. You couldn't be a bigger or more gullible useful idiot.

            –continued

          • ObamaYoMoma

            Forcibly deport 2 million people, most of whom are citizens of the United States, either by naturalization or freakin' birth? Now there's a workable solution!

            It may sound like a far out solution to an unhinged loon like you because you are so far behind the curve, but to other people not totally blinded by political correctness and multiculturalism the same way you are, banning and reversing Muslim immigration is the only logical solution, as the only other alternative is subjugation into harsh and degrading Dhimmitude, as Muslims never ever migrate to non-Muslim countries to assimilate and integrate, but instead only to subjugate and dominate in order to make Islam supreme via demographic conquest. Now becoming a persecuted dhimmi living under the ruthless yoke of Islam may seem rather appealing to you, but please don't automatically assume that all the rest of us are as mentally deficient as you unhinged self-hating leftists.

            How is one to address the ravings of someone in the throes of delusion? You haven't presented any realities yet, only regurgitated back the half-digested remains of mindlessly consumed paranoid propaganda.

            If I'm so delusional, how come you are completely oblivious to the violent oppression of Christians and all other non-Muslim unbelievers that takes place systematically in all Islamic countries? Why are you so oblivious to the obvious reality that in country after country where mass Muslim immigration is occurring the vast majority of Muslim immigrants just like clockwork always flat out refuse to assimilate and integrate and instead form segregated Muslim enclaves that inevitably in due time morph into Muslim no-go zones ruled by Sharia? In fact, can you point to just one country anywhere in the world where mass Muslim immigration didn't turn in time into an unmitigated disaster for the host countries involved? Indeed, if I'm the one that is so delusional as opposed to you, then surely you can demonstrate all of the above to be untrue. Sure you can!

  • david patton

    TCM, thanks to that liberal idiot Ted turner has now joined the team of Political correct garbage! I boycotted TCM that week. What a waste of time! Im sick of this crap!

    • tagalog

      Ted Turner has been P.C. since at least his Jane Fonda days, if not long earlier.

  • William_Z

    The problem with this whole thing is not all Muslims are Arabs and vice versa, but be prepare for sweaty-panic-pronouncement from the left about—Arabophobia—anytime now.

  • Moshe Pupick

    Th., 08/25/11 common era

    I think that CAIR should bankroll a film about its predecessors' collusion with Nazi Germany during World War 2. It could be titled "Going Mein Way?" Or what about The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem's tour of Auschwitz ("I Like Eich(man.)") Sorry for the sick jokes.

  • Ghostwriter

    I saw "Reel Bad Arabs" at my local library in the weeks after 9/11. I read it a few times but later it disappeared. I can see Shaheen's up to a point. The Muslim world has never really been a particularly friendly place for Americans and quite possibly been very hostile to us as a country and as a people.

  • trickyblain

    It's "Team America: World Police" (not "Secret Police")

    It makes Arabs look really bad. Along with Germans, French, Canadians, Liberals, Koreans, Conservatives, Hollywood, politicians, musicians….

    • tagalog

      …and Matt Damon!

  • Indioviejo

    Shaheen is just another one engaged in stealth jihad. Ted Turner is a tool.

  • http://vnnforum.com DeShawn

    Jews control Hollywood. Jews make Arabs, the people they oppress, look bad. Any questions?

    • Ghostwriter

      I've got one for you,DeShawn. Don't you ever get tired of saying stupid things? The Jews may have founded many Hollywood studios but they don't control them anymore. It's a shame. Maybe if they did,Hollywood would be in much better shape. And maybe if the Arabs and other Muslims actually condemn terrorist attacks against Americans instead of cheering them,they might not look bad. Or maybe if they attempted to live in peace with Israel instead of trying to wipe it out,they might not look bad either.

      • Phil Defler

        The Jews don't control Hollywood anymore?? That's pure BS!