A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Miss USA (You Remember: the Hizbullah Mole) is Fasting

You may remember the high weirdness that ensued when Rima Fakih, a Lebanese American, was chosen Miss USA/Universe last May. There were some utterly insane far-right Islamophobic posts suggesting she was some sort of Hizbullah plant (her father at least is a Lebanese Shi‘ite, though I get a sense it may be a mixed marriage), but since some of her cousins (in the usual Lebanese extended family) are alleged to have been Hizbullahi, the lunatic right decided she was some sort of Hizbullah plant to, um, take over our beauty pageants? Most Hizbullahis have tended to do well in pole dancing contests, after all. (And, as Hanin Ghaddar pointed out, it's not your average Hizbullah family, since the family home in Lebanon flies a big American flag. And also, the family celebrates both Christian and Muslim holidays, which is why I think it may be a mixed marriage.)

Now we are informed that she is, in fact, fasting for Ramadan, despite the fact that the Miss Universe Contest starts Monday. Ramadan Karim, Rima. (Why is this news? She can eat in the evenings. The photo below suggests she's not a big eater anyway.)

She's also modest, as noted in The Huffington Post:

Miss USA Rima Fakih talked to "Access Hollywood" about the Miss Universe promo shots, which will feature each contestant wearing body paint. Fakih said, "I love it. Oh my god. I've always wanted to do body paint and the fact that we get to do it with Miss Universe, that just shows you that there's going to be a lot of professional artists."
Some of the contestants offered to do it topless, including Fakih, but she will only be showing her back in the pics. "I told the [pageant organizers] I feel comfortable with beauty and with being unique. I'm known to standout and always wanting to do something different," Fakih said. She also mentioned the Miss USA lingerie photo controversy, remarking, "I think [people] need to look within what the pictures are trying to show, more than just what you just see on cover."
I guess if she's a Hizbullah mole, topless is okay as long as only your back is shown. And as soon as time permits, I will "look within what the pictures are trying to show." I obviously owe this to my readers.

If it isn't obvious, I consider the whole flap over her last May the stupidest story of all in the growing Islamophobia of the paranoid right. What, exactly, defines the alleged enemy? If a woman wears niqab, which the press will probably call a "burka," France, Turkey, and even Egyptian universities will ban it. Even hijab, the head veil only, is cause for suspicion. But then this young lady gets denounced as a Hizbullah mole?:

Okay, you guys, stop salivating. You just need to know the face (you are looking at the face, right?) of Hizbullah! (Though how she'd hide a suicide vest under the leopard-skin bikini is problematic.)

Now making fun of extreme Islamophobia is a bit unsporting since it's so easy, like dynamiting for fish at a dam, but if that young lady above is Hizbullahi, I'm converting. (Note if wife reads this: joke purely for rhetorical effect, dear.)

I don't pay attention to beauty pageants generally, and Miss Universe rarely at all, but this could be worth watching. (Umm, I mean entirely for its Middle Eastern resonances, of course.) And of course as an American, I'll root for Miss USA.


Michal said...

well, she might be a secret part of these commandoes ;) http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/11/25/the_militarization_of_sex

I am rather sure that many young guys willing to sacrifice themselves for the cause of the Resistance would little resist Miss USA :)

Bob said...

When Miss USA has a "terror baby" (at taxpayer expense), you will be singing a different tune - though to be believe Representative Gomer excuse me Gohmert, it will be twenty to thirty years too early.

Michael Collins Dunn said...


I assume from the Gomer/Gohmert joke that you mean this ironically, but while I have no respect for Gohmert, I must protest the insult to Gomer Pyle. As an Ozark hillbilly myself, I must note that it's the one part of the South that didn't hold slaves and generally doesn't give a damn about people's background. Gomer, I suspect (and of course there've always been rumors Jim Nabors is gay, which is fine with me), would probably not share Gohmert's views.