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Re: [Gnu-arch-users] [OT] facism gaining ground in US

From: Pierce T . Wetter III
Subject: Re: [Gnu-arch-users] [OT] facism gaining ground in US
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2004 18:25:53 -0700

On Jul 21, 2004, at 8:25 AM, Frank T. Pohlmann wrote:

I live in England, my room mate is Pakistani, my
nationality is German, my wife is Indian. Our
frustrations with some USians are well known and
unfortunately, many Americans refuse to learn from
people who know something about the Middle East, like
those Iranists and academic Arabists Pierce despises
so much.

He made it abundantly clear that he doesnt want to
listen to his elders and betters although they might
have spent many decades studying, say, Egytpian
politics and the like.

  Not at all, let me explain.

 In short: I have more respect for what an Egyptian says about
Egypt, or what someone who has lived for a substantial period
of time in Egypt says, then someone who has "studied" Egypt for say,
50 years. My ultimate respect is reserved for someone who is
currently in Egypt trying to accomplish something. So I would listen
to the foreman of the person working on the Cairo water plant before
I'd listen to say, a newspaper reporter living in Cairo, and I'd
listen to either of them before I'd listen to some
"Middle Eastern Studies" professor.

 In long, or why I think that:

  There is a whole subculture of academia in the US of various
"Studies". These are always somewhat nebulously defined, and they
are always relatively "new" disciplines. So we have things like
"Women's Studies", and "Middle Eastern Studies".

 So my first question would be, why is this called "Studies"?
Why do they tell you you have to study something. Shouldn't that
be obvious? If you need to call it something, why
not "Middle Eastern History"? It seems to be a characteristic of
anything with "Studies" in the name that you don't actually
know what it is you're studying. "A little of this, a little of
that". Every single person I've met who _majored_ in anything
with Studies in the name has been one of these idiots who never
does anything, they just talk about doing things. They're all
theory, no practice.

 They're like people who watch nature programs all the time and think
that all wild animals are cute and cuddly, and then get surprised when
a coyote doesn't want to be petted and bites them.

 So while I don't have a lot of respect for the Edward Said brand
of "Middle Eastern Studies" professor because as near as I can tell,
they are held to no standards of accuracy at all. I have quite a bit
of respect for a professor of "Middle Eastern History", because they
are held to strict standards.

 Unfortunately, our government doesn't see it that way. While you from
outside the US see us as not taking advice from the experts, from inside
the US I see us taking advice from the _wrong_ experts. So the US
government will get advice from a mixture of people like Chalabi , and
"Middle Eastern Studies" professors who have probably never been to Iraq.

He doesn't understand that life
in other parts of the world can be just as rewarding
and democratic as that in the US.

Not true. Non USians seem to have this chip on their shoulder
that if I say the US is democratic, I'm somehow implying
their country isn't. I find my life in the US rewarding and
democratic. I find it even more democratic since I moved to
Arizona from California. There are 140? democracies in the
world now. That's pretty cool. On the other hand, it would really suck
to live in Iran right now.


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