Archive | March, 2012


Birth of Sexology

In some “prefatory” remarks to his case study on Dora, even before the title character has made her first appearance on the page, Sigmund Freud openly frets that his work will be mistaken for a roman à clef aimed not at treatment but at titillation: Now in this case history . . . sexual questions […]


Quotable: Sir Ken Robinson

. . . at TED and calling for a revolution in education: Many of our ideas have been formed not to meet the circumstances of this century but to cope with the circumstances of previous centuries…Our minds are still hypnotized by them and we have to disenthrall ourselves. Watch Robinson’s previous TED talk on how […]

The Potato Pickers

1905: Les Ramasseurs de pommes de terre

From Art History Unstuffed: Louis Vauxcelles (Louis Mayer, 1870-1943), a conservative art critic, who was appalled by the brilliant colors, named [Henri] Matisse and his followers the “Fauves,” or “wild beasts.” Seeing the bright paintings of Henri Matisse, André Derain (1880-1954) and Maurice de Vlaminck (1876-1958), grouped in one room at the Salon d’automne, the […]


Friday Fun: Famed Couch

From Freud’s Couch, Scott’s Buttocks, Bronte’s Grave (University of Chicago, 2011): The couch is covered with the most luxurious looking Persian rugs, textiles woven by the women of a nomadic Qashqai tribe of southern Iran, with deep, warm reds and ochers, intricately patterned and exquisitely textured. My wife, the psychoanalyst’s daughter, captured the seduction of […]


Speak Egyptian

In the above video (Egyptian Arabic with English subtitles), teenage polyglot Timothy Doner, featured last week in The New York Times, talks about his own Arabic study and some of the different uses of formal and colloquial Arabic. While I personally don’t agree with his rigid division between the two, his abilities are impressive, especially […]


Arabic is the Best Language

At More Intelligent Life, Economist Middle East and Africa editor Josie Delap, sings the praises of Arabic: To a native English-speaker, searching for a language to learn and probably inexpert in the dark arts of grammar, the simple Romance languages with their common-sense syntax might seem obvious choices, perhaps even those of Scandinavia with their […]

Creative Lives - selected

Friday Fun: Abu Dhabi Book Fair

The Abu Dhabi Book Fair‘s coming up and my publisher will again be taking part. The best part? You can flip through my book, Creative Lives: Portraits of Lebanese Artists, and maybe even take home your own copy at Turning Point’s dedicated space on the Ciel Stand (12 M 17). To get a better idea […]

Freud - Five Lectures

Creativity and Neuroses

In 1909, Sigmund Freud made his sole journey to the U.S., having been invited, along with colleague (and then-annointed son and heir) C.G. Jung, to lecture at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. According to the book’s editor, Freud biographer Peter Gay, the lectures found an appreciative audience at the time, and they have endured as […]

Dragon - Arabic calligraphy

Origins: Arab Spring

I’m gearing up to do more Arabic-related posts on this blog and, by way of an introduction, I’d like to propose a new, additional meaning to the phrase ‘Arab Spring’. As it is, Arabs speaking in Arabic appear to prefer some variety of ‘Arab revolutions’ (??????? ???????) or ‘Arab uprisings’, even though “Arab Spring” may […]