- Paperback: 198 pages
- Publisher: Olive Branch Pr (January 30, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1566566843
- ISBN-13: 978-1566566841
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #467,370 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Guilty: Hollywood's Verdict on Arabs After 9/11 Paperback – January 30, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
In this meticulously researched book, Shaheen (Reel Bad Arabs) spotlights anti–Muslim and Arab stereotypes and probes the intersections of popular culture and foreign policy. The author investigates the close ties between Hollywood studios and Washington and recounts how, historically, the strategic stereotyping of populations has been used to garner popular support for governmental policies, citing the career of Leni Riefenstahl and speeches by Lenin and Goebbels to illustrate film's long history as a propaganda vehicle. In an index of more than 100 post-9/11 films, the book depicts and debunks the most prevalent stereotypes of reel Arabs—exotic camel-riding nomad, oppressed maiden, corrupt sheikh, terrorist. Dehumanizing portrayals of Arabs have real consequences, according to Shaheen; he draws correlations between the media's depiction of Arabs and the massive support for the invasion of Iraq, the wanton killing of Iraqi civilians and the escalating number of hate crimes against Arabs (or people who look like Arabs) in the United States. Unfortunately, after his superbly readable historical survey, Shaheen's list of solutions—entertainment summits and sample pro-Arab film treatments—seem disappointingly prosaic. Still this book's scope and its impassioned delivery make for an insightful and rewarding read.
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"Jack Shaheen is a one-man anti-defamation league."
"Dr. Jack Shaheen does it again. Guilty is a fascinating social study on the relationship between racism and cinema, and ultimately, how popular entertainment has the power to propagate damaging images of misunderstood cultures or destroy them."
In this meticulously researched book, Shaheen (Reel Bad Arabs) spotlights anti???Muslim and Arab stereotypes and probes the intersections of popular culture and foreign policy. The author investigates the close ties between Hollywood studios and Washington and recounts how, historically, the strategic stereotyping of populations has been used to garner popular support for governmental policies, citing the career of Leni Riefenstahl and speeches by Lenin and Goebbels to illustrate film's long history as a propaganda vehicle. In an index of more than 100 post-9/11 films, the book depicts and debunks the most prevalent stereotypes of "reel Arabs"???"exotic camel-riding nomad," oppressed maiden, corrupt sheikh, terrorist. Dehumanizing portrayals of Arabs have real consequences, according to Shaheen; he draws correlations between the media's depiction of Arabs and the massive support for the invasion of Iraq, the "wanton" killing of Iraqi civilians and the escalating number of hate crimes against Arabs (or people who look like Arabs) in the United States...superbly readable historical survey...this book's scope and its impassioned delivery make for an insightful and rewarding read. -- PW 3/31/08 "Publishers Weekly March 31 2008"
Top customer reviews
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To much of the surprise of moviegoers like myself, many of the box office hits and critically acclaimed films of the post 9/11 era contain negative and often stereotypical images of Arabs and Muslims. Despite the dissmal track record of hollywood on portraying Arabs, we do have balanced and or postive images of Muslims and or Arabs like Syriana and Kingdom of Heaven.
For those who wish to explore the stereotypical images of Arabs and Muslims in hollywood post 9/11, this is an excellent resource.
His new book, Guilty: Hollywood's Verdict on Arabs After 9/11, not only describes the prejudicial depiction of Arabs in movies, but is also filled with factual information which will enlighten readers, especially those interested in stereotypes and in the Middle East.. For example, Shaheen points out how the terms Arabs and Muslims are used interchangeably even though "only one-fifth of the world's 1.3 million Muslims are Arabs."
This book goes a long way to counter the spreading of Islamophobia in the U.S. as well as other parts of the world. At the far extreme we have the Gainesville, Florida pastor, Terry Jones, whose recent burning of the Koran resulted in violence in Afghanistan thus further endangering our troops.
The prejudicial portrayal of Arabs in Hollywood has been and continues to be a major contributor to the wide-spread ignorance in this country regarding Arabs and Muslims.
Shaheen has presented us with an even-handed, thoughtful and passionate analysis of this timely subject. His book is must-reading for every individual who is willing to be better educated on a vital culture in our society.
With this in mind, Professor Jack G. Shaheen--described by veteran journalist Helen Thomas as "a one-man anti-defamation league" because he's devoted much of his adult life to persuading Hollywood to be fair in its portrayal of Arabs and Muslims--has penned his latest book, Guilty: Hollywood's Verdict on Arabs After 9/11.
According to Shaheen, author of the bestseller Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People, "Arabs remain the most maligned group in the history of Hollywood. Malevolent stereotypes equating Islam and Arabs with violence have endured for more than a century...Arab=Muslim=Godless Enemy." In fact, Shaheen argues, the entertainment industry's vilifying of Arabs and Muslims helped prepare the American public, as well as our fighting men and women, to go to war in the Middle East.
Shaheen makes it clear that the U.S. government has had a hand in ensuring that Hollywood sends the public a negative image of this part of the world and the majority of the people who live there. "Filmmaking is political," he explains. "Dehumanizing stereotypes emerging from the cinema, TV, and other media help support government policies, enabling producers to more easily advance and solidify stereotypes."
In Guilty, Shaheen covers a new aspect of Hollywood's misrepresentation of Arab and Muslim Americans living among us. Before 9/11--as far as Hollywood was concerned, at any rate--they were invisible. Now, however, they are portrayed in movies and television programs as members of sleeper cells, waiting to receive the call to become active terrorists and do harm to their neighbors. Since 9/11, Shaheen has found, more and more prime time TV dramas include the theme of out-of-control Arab and Muslim terrorists.
Shaheen's book is a valuable resource on a subject he knows better than anyone. Quoting well-known sources to reinforce his already strong argument, he then attempts to suggest tangible solutions to this pressing problem--leaving this Arab-American reader with a sense of hope. Finally, as he did in Reel Bad Arabs, he has compiled a list of the films that have been produced since 9/11 for the reader to use as a guide. The list--which now exceeds 1,150 films--includes not only offensive movies, but also those in which their makers attempted to present a more balanced representation.
This reader made good use of this section of the book. I was thinking of renting the film "Young Black Stallion" for my 7-year-old son after noticing that the back cover of the DVD box had pictures of Arabs with their horses. After reading Shaheen's assessment of how negative the film is toward Arabs, however, I know not to go anywhere near the movie. On the other hand, Shaheen's review led me to rent Roberto Benigni's "The Tiger and the Snow," which is set in Italy and Iraq during the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. Besides being a warm, moving and funny movie, it presents the Iraqi people as just that--people.
This, after all, is what Professor Shaheen and the majority of the world's Arabs and Muslims desire: simply to be seen in an objective light, no better, no worse than anyone else. It really isn't that much to ask--is it?