Do Some Things Ever Change?

Editor’s Note:  Blackstar is  an international lawyer based in London

Last Saturday, Robert F. Worth of the NY Times published a long article on Hezbollah’s boy and girl_scout_camps.  Whilst I was busy mulling over my various reactions to this piece, Semi-Expert was busy producing a thoroughly accusatory post criticizing the article.  Semi-Expert’s does a tremendous job in pointing out the weaknesses of the article.  I would only add to his post that it would be interesting to compare Worth’s piece with previous articles published by the NY Times in its series on Muslim youth in the Middle East (This series is called “Generation Faithful”…). Here is one  published about a month ago about young Arab men flocking to the dizzying lights of Dubai, also critiqued by Semi-Expert.  The series epitomizes to me the NY Times attempts’ at painting a human picture of the Middle East, but inevitably degenerating into some kind of failed pseudo-sociological analysis.  One of Slackman’s periodic “Memos from Cairo” published last_summer for example, commits many of the same mistakes committed in his article on Dubai and by Worth in his article on Hezbollah, namely deriving overgeneralizing principles from a few glimpses of one sector of society.   The result of this is to basically offer a superficial, if not distorted, view of the subject of study.  Slackman’s Memo from Cairo for example, reduces the entire Egyptian population to one personality trait:  the inability to give accurate road directions.  Imagine a serious article published by the LA Times about New Yorkers making up road directions because they want to help, despite not knowing what they’re giving directions for. 

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