Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Time Magazine on the Mid-East

When you're in the magazine business you gotta sell magazines. Too much serious content, too much mental effort and you're SOL. So it comes as no surprise that Time online only mentions a couple of the blogworld's better sites with the story sexed up a bit.

Some otherwise serious bloggers have spent the summer fascinated by a niche in romance literature with its own fan website: Sheikhs and Desert Love. Eerie, a contributor to 'Aqoul, a blog mostly about news from the Middle East, noting a significant increase in the number of romance novels featuring handsome desert nomads, provided a helpful graph documenting their rise. Yin Shui Si Yuan dismissed these romance novels as "incredibly ill-informed, orientalist, romantic fantasies involving oil sheikhs." Political Animal's Kevin Drum and Abu Aardvark's Marc Lynch have found the subject an amusing distraction from the August doldrums.

I have been following the Aardvark for over a year but only discovered Aqoul last week. Such is the challenge of ferreting out quality content using the internet. If I were a grad student focusing on the subject some helpful prof would furnish me with a page of references, but out here in the world tracking hyperlinks takes more time. One thing is certain: pop magazines are very little help.

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