Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mulsim* (for Muslim*)

In a moment of lassitude the other day, with seemingly nothing better on the tube, I decided to kick back and watch Sex and the City 2, despite some decidedly mixed reviews. In this sequel to the 2008 movie Sex and the City (itself a sequel to the popular HBO series), four female friends, three of them solidly married by now, decide to escape the monotony of their upscale Manhattan lives and take an all-expense-paid trip to Abu Dhabi. (Samantha's apparently doing business with a sheikh.) Of course, it's 100%, Grade A, over-the-top fabulous, even for Abu Dhabi. But then it's still "Sex and the City" and therefore still all about sexual freedom and shoes. Frankly, the film is more than a little silly and trades in certain stereotypes, but its feminist heart is definitely in in the right place: "I am woman, hear me roar..." the ladies belt out one night in an Arab karaoke club. While many women in the Middle East sadly still have a long way to go, there's heartening evidence that a growing number of them might be willing to give Carrie & co. a burqa-covered wink and a nod—just like they did in the movie before introducing our girls to an underground "book club." (This appeared to be a reference to Reading Lolita in Tehran, although in this case the work under discussion was the latest Suzanne Somers bestseller). While some critics were offended by SATC2's sort of simulated version of Muslim society, others will see it as a fun-filled shout-out to women everywhere, no matter what they're wearing. Today's typo comes courtesy of a friend who sent along the misspelled Gawker headline (now corrected): "Innocence of Mulsims Director Jailed, World May Never Hear What He’s Got to Say for Himself." There were 15 cases of Mulsim* (for Muslim*) in OhioLINK today (although nine of them were mentions of MulSim, a "multiprocessor simulator for Unix systems"), along with 69 in WorldCat.

(Muslim girls at Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta posing in front of the camera, February 26, 2006, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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