Expanding upon a quip I made about Saudi Arabia and The United States being such good friends and allies, I'd like to submit for your approval this article: Cinema Comes To Riyadh For First Time In Decades.
Yes, that's right, ladies and gentlemen, a movie was actually shown in the capital of Saudi Arabia for the first time in decades. Now, before you throw your hands skyward in thanks for such a momentous cultural breakthrough, no women were permitted at the screening (girls up to 10 years old provided they were accompanied by an adult male).
Frankly I don't give a rat's ass what they do in Saudi Arabia. Or Dubai. Or the U.A.E. Really, it's none of my business how a culture wants to do things. It isn't my care or cause for concern that women have no rights in the Middle East...it's just not. They live by a different system of values and beliefs and I thought we were supposed to be "enlightened" and "open minded" enough (that's a little joke there people) to understand that each culture was unique and wasn't required to embrace the canon of Western liberal values...that they were fit to conduct their affairs the way they saw fit no matter how backward our assessment of those values might be. Yet there are those on both sides of the political dividing line that would have us believe it is our moral obligation to bring Western Enlightenment to these cultures because our way of life is naturally superior. They are meddling do-gooders with their heads up their asses.
No my biggest objection is the fabrication of a fiction in which the United States and Saudi Arabia (in particular, but substitute any of the moderate members of OPEC) are valued friends and allies. Do you really think I was made with a finger? There is only one thing that links our cultures and one thing only: commerce. They have oil; we have dollars. If they didn't have oil, do you honestly believe anyone in the West would give a good goddam about the Arab world? Be honest, now. Aside from scholars, historians and art history professors, no one would give a rat's ass about the Middle East. Ask yourself, how much you have in common with the average Arab in the street and after you get beyond the basic human traits of eating, sleeping, excreting, etc...there isn't a lot of commonality. There just isn't and this tirade isn't about increasing the strains between two very different cultures, but let's not lie to ourselves about our level of involvement. Perhaps if we start telling the truth at the most basic level then perhaps that might lead to the beginning of an honest relationship.
So stop selling me bullshit and keep my gas prices within reason.