Tuesday, December 03, 2002

well it is morning, but almost afternoon. pay no mind to the time that the blogger assigns each of my posts; they are apparently wrong. the last one was off by three hours. i will fix this one day. note that there are no promises of speediness and such. i am due to scurry off to the lovely campus that is george mason university to communicate with some professors and give them long overdue materiels so that they can write recommendations for me. "jaime is a very promising student who procrastinates often. be sure to admit her to your program."

but first. considerations on the middle east. i make quite of show of being one who knows about the middle east, so people are constantly talking to me about the latest news there and such. reader, i must confess: when one is as obsessed with a region as i am with the middle east, and one doesn't bother to stay up to date on the latest news where said region is concerned, it makes one a moron in many ways. this problem mainly has to do with my laziness. it changes sometimes. sometimes i am a newsaholic and read the words and consume the information with the excitement of a five year old experiencing candy. but there are other factors, such as the depression that results from considering the actual status of the region, such as the sheer volume of news that is produced each day, the necessary texts that must be consulted in order to fully understand these events and people, the serious thinking that must go on once one is apprised of a matter. do i make this too complicated, or complexicated as our fearless leader w. would probably say? yes, probably. so i'll pick one topic and go with it.

israelines. an israeline is a 'helpful', usually daily email newsletter that the israeli embassy sends out to better aid folks in understanding and being aware of the current events in the state of israel. i used to read it with a skeptical eye, now i read it for the economic briefs and for shits and giggles. (at this point, ardent zionists everywhere are yelping at my comment that i read israelines, which include daily stories about victims of terrorism, for shits and giggles. to my zionist friends: i also read the news about the united states government for shits and giggles. at some later date i will make clear my philosophy on acceptance and love of states/events/peoples and criticism of said states/events/peoples, but not right now. also, see jane yolen's _the devil's arithmetic_ for my feelings on the role of laughter. it has a scene of jews laughing hysterically in a cargo train on their way to auschwitz, and when someone is outraged that they are laughing given the circumstances, they say, "if we don't laugh, we will cry.")

a single israeline is an interesting case study. you have the spinning, which is active and brilliant. recently, the term "suicide bombers" has become "homicide bombers." i read this and was stunned it took so long to develop this particular spin, feeling the same way i felt when there were finally cookie monster cookies for sale in grocery stores. so obvious, so needed, so consumer-oriented. you get these biographies of the terrorists and victims in one fell swoop. understandably, the bios of the terrorists are kept to a minimum, and the bios of the victims are generally painstakingly addressed. this is reminiscent of the post september 11th features in national newspapers which ran bio after bio, picture after picture of world trade center/pentagon/airline victims. you read about the words of the father at the funeral of his two sons: "do not be sad," he tells mourners, "do not cry; this is what the terrorists want." (perhaps a member of the likud party.) often there is a story about israelis abroad winning competitions in various spectrums. recently, a bunch of israelis kicked a culinary competition's ass. very human interest. economic briefs: an israeli company begins working very closely with an american company to work on developing bioterrorism defenses. an israeli company joins up with microsoft and intel.

for a while i just deleted israelines. now i actually read them. i'm slowly becoming an economist at heart. you can salvage the actual news from them, by filtering each one through chomsky and herman's factors in _manufacturing consent_. much like any other 'news' service, one has to simply know that what they are reading, on some level, is propaganda, and must read critically enough to decipher what actually occurred. for examples of this in the american media, as if they aren't everywhere, one should see last year's article in the washington post about g.w. bush winning the 2000 election. headline was something like, BUSH WINS ELECTION. subtitle something like, Gore Wins in 3 of 4 Scenarios, one of which happens to be if All the Votes Were Counted. reader, think about this.

just when you think you are sane, you realize some things about the world and are forced to wonder.

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