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In Heather Havrilesky Essay

In Heather Havrilesky’s article entitled Beseiged by “Friends”, her main idea is that Hollywood has formed an unrealistic image of Arabs in the minds of all. She discusses a documentary called “Hollywood in the Muslim World,” but maintains that even this does not get the bottom of the stereotyping. However, the document does show how American media is creating Americanization of the Muslim world. She also points out the fact that our media coverage at any given time tends to mirror our foreign policy.

In the very first paragraph Havrilesky jolts the reader by using some very harsh stereotypes, such as depicting the Middle East as a place with dust and camels “and angry terrorists running around, looking for stuff to blow up”. She jolts us with these stereotypes just to prove how much are brains are poisoned by media influence. She then begins to point out the various media influence in the Arab world, like McDonalds and Starbucks coming from American movies.

She supp[orts these ideas with various quotes from people in the Muslim world, and the reader certainly gets the idea that many Muslims consider it “cultural pollution” to be able to receive all these American movies and such. She points out the conveniently American media coverage of events changes as American foreign policy does and gives the reader specific examples that make good sense. For example, media coverage of the Arab world has been different during World War II (used to promote hatred but using all the old stereotypes) than it has during the wake of 9/11 (turned much darker and more foreboding).

She ends this article by stating that the cultural identity of the Muslim world has been taken hostage by the media. The statement that really rang true was the one that equates patriotic with xenophobic. She uses examples, quotes, and powerful language throughout the make her points. I completely agree with this author. Many Americans who have no idea what Islam really is or understand the tenets of the religion at all get their ideas about how they should feel from the media.

Movies like The Siege do nothing to dispel stereotypes. In fact, they promote the idea that all Muslims are terrorists. Being patriotic today does mean looking down on those “evil” forces around the world, even if we are totally wrong.

Works Cited Havrilesky, heather, Besieged by Friends, Global Policy Forum, 2003. Retrieved November 28, 2007 at Web Site: http://www. globalpolicy. org/globaliz/cultural/2003/0715friends. htm.

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