August 29, 2005

Authenticity and the Islamists Many

Authenticity and the Islamists

Many admirers of this humble “weblog” may also read a daily paper as an alternative source for news. Sure, in a perfect world readers would get all their information about what’s happening on planet earth from “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly.” But, without Al Gore in office, we are very, very far away from this perfect world.

We mention all this, dear reader, because some of you may have noticed a curious thing about your newspapers that we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have also discovered. With our usual sass and frass, we like to refer to this as “The Anglicizing Osama Sweepstakes.”

What, you may be asking yourself, is that? Well, perhaps you have noted that sundry American newspapers, monthlies, fortnightlies, and quarterlies offer different spellings for the collective name for Osama bin Laden’s loveable cast of followers.

Some media types, that is to say, simply refer to “Al Qaeda.” As far as we can determine, this was the original way to put this Arabic group’s name into English.

Clearly, however, media types—ever interested in demonstrating their own multicultural bona fides—would not let one simple Anglicization for Al Qaeda stand. Just as “Mao Tse-Tung” became “Mao Zedong,” “Al Qaeda” would need to have a suitable number of variants.

That way, journalists’ reporting on the group could be typically fatuous, but readers would feel as if the authors of such hackwork were sensitive scholars in-tune with the Muslim world.

Accordingly, the average American taking in the news has seen more variations on Al Qaeda than on the rock-n-roll group Jefferson Airplane. And, just as is the case with Jefferson Airplane, they’ve al been ugly. And we mean “We Built This City” ugly.

As a result, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are dedicating today’s humble “post” to determining which of these variant spellings of Al Qaeda is the most dubiously authentic. Which one says authenticity in the way that Tariq Ali does? Or, for that matter, in the way Tariq Aziz does?

It’s a darn good question, if we must say so ourselves. Forthwith, therefore, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” present:

“The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” Official Judging of Dubiously Authentic Anglicizings of “Al Qaeda”:

Fourth Runner-Up: al Qaeda (A few style points for the lower-case “a”)

Third Runner-Up: Al Qaida (Looks fairly authentic, does it not?)

Second Runner-Up: Al-Qa’ida (We’ve got no idea why the apostrophe is there, but it simply screams authenticity to us)

First Runner-Up: Al Q’aïda (That looks wonderfully foreign; it’s enough to make Salman Rushdie run in fear like a schoolgirl)

Winner: Al Sharpton

Posted at August 29, 2005 12:01 AM | TrackBack