After a gracious and very welcome hat tip from John Debyshire of the National Review I caught myself reading a piece by Mark Steyn poking fun at the Saudis. For neo-con's like Steyn the propaganda war against all things Arab or Muslim never ends. As though we need a timely reminder that the Muslims have nothing in common with us.
According to him Saudi women must deal with male clerks to purchase intimate lingerie. I have no idea if this is true but let's assume it is. Unfortunately Steyn just couldn't resist the temptation to end this priceless revelation with a crack about "Edible Thongs." Even for the new breed of NR writer this is pretty sordid. And appearing just a few inches away from some electronic shrine to William F. Buckley it seemed all the more so. I don't remember NR as a bill board for bathroom jokes. It used to be noted for a certain high minded, elegant prose. A bit prudish perhaps, but one sensed that this was not just the Catholic ethic of Buckley but a desire to be taken seriously by behaving seriously.
It seems to me that if we are in a war of civilizations we might as well fight like gentlemen. I see no point in needlessly defaming Muslims. They give us plenty of cause to censure them. I also detect as certain tendency of the defenders of Israel, like Steyn, to inflame Muslims while foisting loathsome images of Muslims at we who will bear the brunt of any future wars. It's too much like a game of let's you and him fight.
Steyn was a very amusing movie critic for the London Spectator before venturing into international affairs. I wish he would go back to what he knows best instead of acting as agent provocateur.