1. Dr. Jack Shaheen has written for many years about media stereotyping of ethnic groups and how these stereotypes can, and have, hurt innocents, whether they be blacks, Latinos, Jews, Native Americans, Asians, or Arabs. He considers himself to be a “committed internationalist and humanist.” Having grown up in Pittsburgh, PA, Dr. Shaheen holds degrees from the Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Missouri. His books include Nuclear War Films; Arab and Muslim Stereotyping in American Popular Culture; The TV Arab; and Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People. He has also contributed to Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. He has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, Nightline, Good Morning America, 48 Hours, and The Today Show. He has served as a consultant for Dreamworks, Showtime, Hanna-Barbera, and Warner Brothers and has worked on David O. Russell’s Three Kings and The Lucy Show. The DVD presentation of Reel Bad Arabs runs for 60 minutes and is directed by Sut Jhally.[return to page 1 of essay]

3. Much of contemporary neoconservativism derives from ideas of Leo Strauss. Strauss was a formerly liberal professor of political science at The University of Chicago from 1949-1969 who rejected a progressive approach to politics after World War II, declaring that liberalism can only lead to relativism or nihilism and could facilitate the rise of the totalitarian extremes of fascism and communism. Instead, a return to traditional values wrapped around a nationalist mythology could restore a sense of national purpose that liberalism supposedly had undone.  A new nationalism, however, would require an enemy against whom the national identity could be defined. This profoundly Manichean worldview would constantly pit the U.S. against a foreign (or sometimes even internal) threat. The Soviet Union was the most obvious antagonist for a good vs. evil pairing during the Cold War. This Manichean worldview would influence the Reagan administration’s hawkish attitude toward the Soviet Union since his administration would be the first to include many students of Leo Strauss including Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. International terrorism (particularly Al-Qaeda) has become the antagonist for this “us versus them” bifurcation since 9-11. See the BBC documentary series The Power of Nightmares for a more complete articulation of these ideas.

4. Sidney Lumet’s film The Pawnbroker (1965) is a notable recasting of the Jewish pawnbroker in a more sensitive role.


6. Ebert, Roger. November 25, 1992 review of Disney’s Aladdin. Appeared in The Chicago Sun-Times. [return to page 2] http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/

7. Interview with William Montgomery Watt.

8. Edward W. Saïd, "Islam Through Western Eyes," The Nation April 26, 1980, first posted online January 1, 1998, accessed December 5, 2005.

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