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Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People (2006)

This groundbreaking documentary dissects a slanderous aspect of cinematic history that has run virtually unchallenged form the earliest days of silent film to today's biggest Hollywood ... See full summary »

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Jack Shaheen ...
Himself - Narrator (as Dr. Jack Shaheen)
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This groundbreaking documentary dissects a slanderous aspect of cinematic history that has run virtually unchallenged form the earliest days of silent film to today's biggest Hollywood blockbusters. Featuring acclaimed author Dr. Jack Shaheen, the film explores a long line of degrading images of Arabs--from Bedouin bandits and submissive maidens to sinister sheikhs and gun-wielding "terrorists"--along the way offering devastating insights into the origin of these stereotypic images, their development at key points in US history, and why they matter so much today. Shaheen shows how the persistence of these images over time has served to naturalize prejudicial attitudes toward Arabs and Arab culture, in the process reinforcing a narrow view of individual Arabs and the effects of specific US domestic and international policies on their lives. By inspiring critical thinking about the social, political, and basic human consequences of leaving these Hollywood caricatures unexamined, the ... Written by MEF

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How Hollywood Vilifies a People


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1 November 2006 (USA)  »

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Reel Bad Arabs  »

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$100,000 (estimated)
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Hollywood is gentle - imagine if they showed sharia law in practice
4 July 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Hollywood's treatment of Arabs on screen is actually often gentle and politically-correct, thanks to fear of protests like Mr. Shaheens.

If the depiction of Arab terrorists seems over-the-top in a dumb action-adventure, try looking at pictures of Islamic men about to decapitate a hostage or the carnage after a suicide bombing. Or listen to a Bin Laden video urging Americans to join his efforts to establish a new caliphate. And does Shaheen really want Hollywood to show daily life in Iran, where women have to make sure they are not seen in public with nail polish on their fingers lest they be sent home or even beaten by religious enforcers who roam the streets and shopping centers? How about the stoning of adulterers, or punishment of rape victims, or limb-amputation of petty thieves? Until Islam itself confronts and truly tries to stop the use of random violence against civilians and the application of medieval laws to modern citizens, it's going to have a problem getting good press.


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