Tuesday, March 14, 2006


I got an 88.75% on my Arabic midterm, and that makes me mostly happy. Yes, I'm the type of person who would much prefer an A, but when I saw that the class average was 61% I found those silly needs for academic superiority sated.

We're finally learning WORDS, and GRAMMAR. I can ask QUESTIONS! Yes, they're adolescent (Mommy yours works at?), but communication is possible. I can even count to TEN.

I finally learned how to roll my Rs, too.

But I took Arabic mostly for that gorgeous script and the glorious calligraphy. I got no problem with the workable Roman alphabet--but c'mon, it's obviously hewn from wood and stone and ice. Simple, carved, efficient but artless (the grass is always greener, eh?). Arabic script climbs the tendrils of incense smoke, evokes the weaving of pulled wool into magnificent patterns, suggests the tail ends of constellations and the shifting landscape of the whispering dunes. The veil and barely visible eye...

This is of course the exact sort of exoticism loathed by Edward Said. But indulge me.

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