Edmonton Sun | October 17, 2001 | Orest Slepokura
Letters to the Editor

Hollywood has gotten away with this for 100 years

RE: "THE West would never get away with this," Mindelle Jacobs, Oct. 13. Media critic Jack Shaheen's book, Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People, was published this summer. A product of 20 years of labour, Shaheen chronicles a century of Hollywood films and looks at over 1,000 films where Arabs were shown conforming to ugly stereotypes as fanatics, terrorists or just sleazeballs.

Here, for example, is how famed Jewish writer Leon Uris sums up the plot of the 1934 John Ford movie, The Lost Patrol: "The patrol was surrounded and hemmed in by a pack of slithering, unseen Arabs whose sharpshooters picked off the Brits one by one." Note the reptilian ("slithering") innuendo.

According to the late Mordecai Richler, Jews both "invented" and continue to "run Hollywood." Perhaps that's why Arab people have had to endure buckets of celluloid filth being heaped on them for a century. Hollywood (read: "the West"), to paraphrase Jacobs, has gotten away with this for 100 years.

Orest Slepokura

(Sun editorial comment: Excuse me, but this has nothing to do with her column.)