Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Lots to say

Just finished writing a paper about Virginia Woolf. She's pretty much my hero. I love her style. I love what she has to say. I love having some money and a room of my own. I am so grateful for the independence I have, for the fact that I grew up in a time where I can chose to do what I want, even though it may not always be all that easy.

On another note (I think I use that phrase too often) I just came across this article. Go read it, it's good read and a fast one too. It was kind of nice to get a Mormon shout-out, but I can't help but think about something else. It must be lame to always be known for your more wacko elements. When some crazy polygamist gets arrested for raping little girls, nobody pickets on temple square and talks about the evils of Mormonism--not really that I can think of. But in the case of Islam, the stories of terrorists and extremists paint our every day perception of a religion many Americans know nothing about, and then our representatives go on jihad (ha ha) to expose the dangers of Islam or something. Extremism in any religion or political orientation is dangerous, but somehow Muslims got the raw end of the deal on that one. There's a lot I don't understand, and there's also a lot I don't know. I'm just trying to figure it all out here.

And this is part of the reason I've decided to embark on my next project. I am VERY excited about this.

I've gotten the permission to take a camera with me to France, and I have started preliminary work on a documentary (how much I can get done will dictate how long it is) about the integration (or lack thereof) of Arabic populations in France. Of course, with a culture so intimately tied to Islam there will be discussion of Islam and how modern-day Muslims mix religion and work, school... I'm still working on focusing down my topic.

I just feel that this would be very relevant to Americans because we're at a point where we're wondering how to live with this unique culture in our midst--people are scared, don't know, maybe don't understand... In France, there has been a large Arab population for decades--the last number I heard was that France had a 13% Muslim population, and that was several years ago, I'm sure it's grown quite a bit since then. The cohabitation has not always been smooth, and there are many issues that I hope to explore, but I think it would be enlightening for any American as well to see how Arab populations have transitioned into a very western culture. I think that this topic is extremely relevant given what we see in the news every day right now, and looking at how the transition was made in France could give us perspectives on how it will, perhaps should or shouldn't, happen here. My intent is not to pass judgment on a religion or a culture but simply to observe how it's being lived in a country not so different from our own.

Anyway, that's my big project for the summer. I just hope I haven't bitten off more than I can chew. I may just come out of it with a few two minute news stories, and maybe I'll get a half hour out of it, but either way it will be very interesting and a great experience. And maybe, just maybe, I can pull this off and it'll be amazing.


  1. LYDIA. I want to interview you on the show. Dead serious. Tomorrow's already filled - maybe Saturday or next Thursday?

  2. I'm reminded of this article from several years ago:

    It was written before the riots of 2005. He doesn't seem to think there has been much of an actual transition to Western culture there. Are you going to take your camera into "la Zone"?

  3. Thanks for the article. No, I will not be marching into the Cités with just my camera and myself. I have a bit of rationality left in me and would rather be alive after this trip. What I do plan to do is look at a wide variety of people. I had a few Arab friends growing up and they were relatively well adapted, but there were also the guys that heckled me on my way to and from classes. I've definitely experienced the "malaise," and I will absolutely cover that as well. My hope is that the picture that comes out of all of this isn't entirely condemnatory or hopeless either.

  4. my point is to look at the cohabitation and how it works and also doesn't work