Mr. Smith Goes to Tel Aviv …

I will admit to harboring a borderline obsession with some of the American “journalists” who found their way to Beirut to cover the “Cedar Revolution.” Call it envy, call it law school fatigue, call it what you will … But these guys really do deserve a prize … Not a monetary though, as I fear their nameless “employers” have already supplied renumeration and a half for their gritty, investigative journalism into the padded bra that is Lebanon …

Taking first place this week — and barely nudging out Michael “I lived there” Totten, who has since returned to the United States but continues to explain how the intracies of Lebanon are perfectly aligned with US political interests — is Lee Smith …

With the war, Mr. Smith has moved his shop to Tel Aviv, so we can now conclude that where and when the pen fails, the sword swings into action … For those lucky enough not to be familiar with his work in Slate and other American periodicals, let’s just say he knows very little about Lebanon, and of most of that he is unsure … Fear not, however, as he is clever enough (a former literary critic for the Village Voice) to substitute actual knowledge of the history and politics of Lebanon with a surfeit of sexual-psycho-social babble that will dizzy and dampen even the starchiest of stuffed shirts plotting armegeddom from their desks in Washington … For instance, did you, fair reader, know that Lebanon’s inability to throw off its Syrian-Iranian yoke and join the American-Israeli embrace was both the cause and consequence of the false chastity of Lebanese women … Foolish me, as I had been busying myself chasing down the history of the modern Middle East, while all I really needed to do was chase tail from a bar stool down in Gemmaizeh …

“I AM SITTING IN A DELI with Natan Sharansky …” and so begins Mr. Smith’s winning entry: a wonderful discussion about how tragic it is that so few Arabs really understand the demands of democracy … Mr. Sharanksy, of course, is a well-known champion of human rights, unless of course they belong to those pesky Arabs or Palestinians …

If any self-respecting Lebanese/Arab/human being can continue past that opener and read the rest of the article by one of the biggest cheerleaders of the Independence05 movement, I salute your patience and tolerance and now truly believe the children are our future …

More to come as I can stomach it …


9 Replies to “Mr. Smith Goes to Tel Aviv …”

  1. … For instance, did you, fair reader, know that Lebanon’s inability to throw off its Syrian-Iranian yoke and join the American-Israeli embrace was both the cause and consequence of the false chastity of Lebanese women …


  2. but he’s obviously an idiot.
    like you said he didn’t do his homework.. Mr. i was there and i talked to a local so i know how it’s like.. he wants to be the next friedman or fisk..who is this guy anyway? and the bigger idiot is that totten guy. he has pictures so we have to believe him

  3. I was worried you did not understand I was being sarcastic … I was just re-reading his piece and it is worse than I remembered:

    “When Ahmed leaves with his girlfriend, there is only one woman left in the bar. She is Lebanese, and so is the guy she is speaking with. They are definitely together. Perhaps their relationship will now intensify thanks to the events of the last 24 hours; maybe they have plunged headlong into love. Maybe she will go home with him, assuming he has his own place, and give herself to him for the first time. Or maybe she already has. Regardless, I bet that come morning, she, like every other unmarried Lebanese woman, will rise early to hurry home before her parents wake, lest she scandalize them, their family, and neighbors.

    And this issue is, in fact, at the very crux of the matter that Israeli warplanes, gunboats, and troops mean to address right now. A society in which both youth and authority have tacitly agreed for the sake of an easy comity and false appearance not to upset the established order, a society where the young will steal hours from the vigilance and envy of their elders and yet don’t challenge them for the right to lie two hours longer in their lovers’ arms—that kind of society is by its very nature incapable of disarming an Islamist militia.”

    I cannot believe an editor let this go …

  4. As to your other comment about who might be the bigger idiot, it is really too close for me to call … An eye of the beholder kind of thing … I am quite sure however that both of their employers are agitating for a “New Middle East”

  5. Anyone who praises Fouad Ajami as a progressive thinker (or Irshad Manji for that matter) has just placed a giant neon sign on their head that blinks, with one letter missing, VA ANT.

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