December 16, 2013, - 2:30 pm
**** SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATE ****
Peter O’Toole would be a nobody if the West didn’t foolishly gush over a movie celebrating the Westerner who pioneered the Arabist Middle East.
Yes, I know, Peter O’Toole was a great actor. But let’s face it: he is known as a great actor primarily because he played a Western Arabist who helped unite the most dangerous forces of Islam together against the Turks. If O’Toole had never played “Lawrence of Arabia,” I doubt he’d be the big deal, lamented worldwide, as he is today, dying yesterday at the age of 81. And the West constantly gushes over O’Toole’s star turn movie, not because of O’Toole, but because the West loves to dabble in the “exotic”–in pandering to Muslims.
I tried to watch “Lawrence of Arabia” many times and struggled to get through it. I don’t understand why it is regarded as a masterpiece (other than, as I said, for Westerners who like to think themselves “sophisticated,” “intellectual,” and better people for helping Muslims acquire power to harm the West in the long run). It is four hours long, boring, and a tribute to, ultimately, the unified power acquisition and radicalization of the Muslim Middle East with the leadership of a noblesse oblige Englishman, T. E. Lawrence. That’s a mistake the West makes over and over again. It isn’t some magnificent tale to be lavished with respect and gushing. (Chaim Weizmann, Israel’s first President, wrote that T.E. Lawrence supported the idea of a Jewish state in Israel because he thought the Jews would help the Arabs advance in various arenas. But I find that doubtful, and others have noted that Lawrence was anti-Zionist. Arabism is inherently anti-Semitic and anti-Israel because a key component of it is that all of the Middle East is Arab land. Regardless of which is the case regarding Lawrence and Zionism, it does not matter because his ultimate contribution–Arabism–was and remains, to date, a disaster for all concerned and for all of us in the West.)
The movie critics and self-appointed cultural observers who applaud “Lawrence of Arabia” are the same ones who have no problem with a Muslim immigration problem and doubling of the Muslim population and corresponding number of mosques in America since 9/11. They are the idiots who tell me and others that 9/11 wasn’t the achievement of Arab Muslims, but some nondescript group of men who may have “hijacked a religion.” They are the Lawrences of America and 10 Downing Street and Buckingham Palace who bend over and let themselves be the carpet that is stepped on by the descendants of Lawrence’s Near Eastern buddies. (That includes the Lawrence of the White House who, today, thinks he is Lawrence of post-Persia and the Ayatollahs.)
Wouldn’t the West be better off today if the Turks had continued their hegemony over the Muslim Middle East (not Israel) to date?
Not today’s Turks of the Mavi Marmara HAMAS Flotilla, but the Turks of Ataturk and the outlawing of hijabs? Yes, I think we’d all be better off. 9/11 and Fort Hood and all the others wouldn’t have happened. And a Saudi billionaire prince wouldn’t co-own and propagandize the West via FOX News. He wouldn’t be a prince, nor would he be a billionaire. He’d be some inbred dude on a camel in the desert somewhere herding goats and ingesting sand. So would the 25% of 9/11 hijackers who came from Saudi Arabia and the other 75% who came from other Arab nations. None of these nations would exist, but for the Arabism spawned by this blue-eyed Western schmuck, Lawrence. They were artificial creations of the United Nations and world community after T. E. Lawrence pioneered the art of Arabism.
Frankly, the only things I think of–other than the disaster spawned by Lawrence’s long-term “contribution” to world geography and politics–when I think of “Lawrence of Arabia,” are the two porn movie names I figure were probably in Bin Laden’s porn stash at the world’s junkiest “mansion” in Abottabad: “Whorence of Arabia” and “Lawrence of Her Labia.”
And so, I’m not among those gushing over Peter O’Toole, mostly because I know his stardom and the gushing mostly come from Lawrence of Arabia, which is a movie I don’t celebrate. There needs to be a reality check here.
Yes, an actor is not necessarily his starring role. But often it is. Or often it is the reason he is sung and glorified by the conventional wisdom. Yes, O’Toole was good in “Good-bye, Mr. Chips” and sundry other roles. But he was also a drunk whose acting career was quickly on the precipice of death not long after it started. He had a kid out of wedlock with some model, well before this was fashionable and accepted. Yup, he was “leading the way!” And so on. Nothing spectacular about that. In fact, his personal life and behavior was the epitome of Western mediocrity.
Some might point out that O’Toole twice acted in Israel for ABC miniseries about Masada. Big whoop. Talk about a tribute to Jewish annihilation. Today, I have no doubt that O’Toole would be among those many English Islamophiles who refuse to perform in Israel. Many of his surviving contemporaries in the English bard take that tack. And those just a few generations behind, like that prune Emma Thompson (who plays the Mary Poppins creator in a new Disney movie debuting on Friday), are proud of their radical anti-Israel chic.
And, so, while I recognize that Peter O’Toole was a masterful British actor, I also recognize that the lifetime of career gushings and now-posthumous tributes are tainted inseparably from his over-rated role in an over-rated movie documenting how one non-visionary man, as it turns out, Lawrence, created an unfriendly Middle East for centuries to come and ultimately a West that will die because of the threats from that Arabism he forged.
An actor who is exalted in life because of glorifying the modern founder of Arabism must be taken down a peg in death for it.
Ask yourself: 50 years from now, will we be gushing over and lamenting the actor who played Osama Bin Laden–or his Western “visionary” Adam Gadahn Al-Amriki–in a favorable film?
G-d, I hope not.
**** UPDATE: T.E. Lawrence a/k/a “Lawrence of Arabia” called for the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Jerusalem and the rest of Palestine and said Jews should be “assimilated” by the Arabs.
Tags: Arabism, Chaim Weizmann, Islam, Lawrence of Arabia, Ottoman Empire, Pan-Arabism, Peter O'Toole, Peter O'Toole Islam, Peter O'Toole Israel, T.E. Lawrence, Turks