Comments: 3 Qutb -- America

perhaps he derived his views on jazz from adorno... or the white press, sections of which described jazz in terms not too different.

i have not read the book but if saying americans don't have family values and the chicks are hoes and jazz is savage is as bad as qutb gets in his travelogue, that's really pretty mild. no worse than many americans ahve said.... about america and about the savage lands.

Posted by drapeto at July 27, 2004 01:35 PM

I must agree, the description of Jazz musicians as "savage bushman" boggles the mind.

But then, I like jazz because it has an element of beauty in it (distantly related to the beauty of classical) but it is also full of improvisation, syncopation, and catchy tunes.

I am even more surprised at the depiction of American history. (The South was economically stronger than the North! I suppose that's why the Confederate Army had such an easy time supplying their soldiers with food, clothes, shoes, ammunition, etc.)

The most telling is his generalizations about Americans from single scenes: like the widow who was concerned about life insurance, or the man who mocked another in the hospital. (How do women from Islamic cultures behave when they care more about their family position than about mourning a recently deceased husband? Did Qutb never know jocularity among his friends and family, in either its harmless or spiteful form?)

Did Qutb ever talk to any Americans, and attempt to find a way to communicate around the cultural divide?

Posted by steve h at July 27, 2004 10:24 PM

drapeto --

Don't know if it comes across in the post, but I was a little surprised that the 9/11 Commission cited the "What I saw in America" essay when some of his other works demonstrate his vitriolic ignorance of the West far more systematically.

One difference between Sayyid Qutb and the American scolds is that the latter think the "hoes" -- at least the white ones -- have souls worth saving, if only they can get them to stop listening to that devil music. Qutb's condemnation is offered to show that Americans have no souls -- that they are equal to or even beneath animals.

In that sense, Qutb is much worse. Once you've crossed that rhetorical line, and denied the humanity of your enemy, anything is permitted.

Posted by Bill at July 28, 2004 01:42 AM

Steve h --

I think Qutb goes out of his way not to understand things.

I might quote some more from the essay -- his take on the American Revolution is also a bit of lunacy.

Posted by Bill at July 28, 2004 01:48 AM

Considering Al Qida's prime defector in the 911 report, before 911 happened, was economically impoverished and that OBL's business' seemed to hinge on the Sudanese stewardship that was launching a war as aggresive and as inhumane as the Holocaust. I dont mean to offend Jews in tis context. The inhumanity shows their quest for domination over the darker skinned Africans. Black also means slave in Arabic. Jihadists mean to dominate and not empower anyone( the racist and bigot included) and establish trade routes that go through hell and heaven here on earth. Their apparent urge to die for their families are all supported by some means of lofe insuance. I mean to say that their means are physical destruction of our symbols here in the west and establish an economy based on charities. For everyone from the destroyed structure will be dependent on their good will.

Posted by Frank at August 1, 2004 02:13 AM