Using Quotes Makes It Better (!)

Last month, the New York Times ran a story titled “Arabs in U.S. Raising Money to Back Bush,” which was critiqued on this blog (and, a few hours later, on Slate.) Now it seems the editors are being a little more careful: The New ‘Arab’ Playwrights is about American playwrights of Iranian (Layla Dowlatshahi and Kayhan Irani), Palestinian (Betty Shamieh and Najla Said), and Lebanese (Kathryn Leila Buck) ancestries. But this being the Times, there is talk of putting “a human face on Arab identity.” I loathe that expression–it connotes that which it seeks to undermine. I wish people would stop using it. And while we’re on the subject, I’d love it if book reviewers refrained from using the word “Scheherazade” every time they review an Arab woman’s book. You read The One Thousand and One Nights, we get it.