Thanks to the

               Votaire’s Dr. Pangloss, seen here, is the foundation stone for this very special award.  

The Pangloss Award is bestowed upon three individuals each year for their contributions to the art of intellectual bungling.  The Award is conferred by a committee formed within the Syrian Perspective constellation of scholars who regularly participate in discussions, forums and symposia concerning the Middle East.  The requirements for nomination include the following categories:

1.  A spirited pretense to special knowledge available to all ordinary people;

2.  A willingness to display opinion no matter how fanciful or unrealistic;

3.  An insistence on patriotic causes no matter that they might lead to self-destruction, national humiliation      and wasting of treasure;  

4.  A quickness to display smug expressions; glib rejoinders; dilettantish indifference to obvious fact; obsessive attention to cameras; slavish adherence to the announced positions of paying principals, minders or handlers;

5.  A general predisposition to lie without shame or remorse;

6.  A tendency to leave in the mind of the listener a gnawing sense of suspicion.  

While this award is usually dominated by English scholars and nincompoops, this year, American competitors swept all assumptions and presumptions aside with absolute suavity and finesse. 


Fouad Ajami, seen here, smiling smugly for the camera.  His hoary hirsuteness only hints at the farrago of lies he is about to unleash on the American public, usually during dinner hours when U.S. citizens are most vulnerable to suggestion and indigestion.

Ajami is not really of Arab descent.  His family originates in Tabriz, Iran, and came to Lebanon during the reign of the Ottoman Sultan Abdelmecid I (1839-1861).  This is a particularly interesting time historically because it was under Abdelmecid that the Gulhane Edict was pronounced and the system of radical reforms was promulgated in what became known as the “tanzimat”.  It was a time of liberalization with the Sublime Porte doing its Turkish best to convince the white man in the West that the Ottoman Empire was not what Tsar Nicholas Romanov called “The Sick Man of Europe”.  But, how the good Tsar could not have known or contemplated the sickness that was to infect Turkey under the Riff-Raff regime of Recep Tayyip Erdoghan.

Fouad Ajami has a Ph.D. and now misguides another generation of Americans at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.  It would be nice to think that Dr. Ajami is involved in something as harmless as selling vacuum cleaners, but, sadly, he still connives with his Washington confederates in bringing strife, destruction and malaise to every aspect of Arab and Muslim life.  He acts sometimes as though someone, an Arab,  had injured his father in some maniacal act of mob violence for he inevitably smirks, squints, sneers or snorts at the mention of secular Arab leaders – never reprising the same facial contortions when a Saudi “king” or simian emir is the subject – after all, they put up the money to keep the wolves at bay.  

Whenever CNN or ABC needs someone to put that special dollop of hate on a story concerning Dr. Assad or Hizbollah, you can count of Fouad Ajami to deliver the venom with a smooth Pahlevian lilt.

His pro-Zionist connections to Neo-Conservative snakes make him the doyen of snide, Arab-hating bigots in the Beltway area.  He is their WOG. 


Joshua Landis, boyish looking, aw shucks ma’am, American boy-next-door is not what he appears to be. You see, he married what he describes as an Alawite woman.  
He sees the entire conflict in Syria through a sectarian lens.  He has special insight into sectarianism because his wife is Alawi! Dork!  At a conference in Washington D.C. some months ago, he delivered his big, Jehovah’s Witness’ grin, the kind you see whenever you open the door on Sunday mornings to find three people, all dressed like something out of  Village of the Damned, trying to pawn off Awake Magazine and steal hours of your precious life regaling you with palaver about the Day of Judgment and why Jehovah is really pissed at you.  This is all done, of course, with a big, toothy smile.        

And so, in that Washington forum, which I attended via television at 3:00 a.m. on C-span, I watched the good professor of poly-sci at Oklahoma University unveil his view of a more fundamentalist Islam overwhelming Syrian life; curtailing rights of minorities; snuffing out the energy of the Syrian spirit and added that he had a special understanding of this through his Alawi wife.  He never tells you that he understands Islamist reactionary thought because he lived for some time in Saudi Arabia, land of chronic Wahhabist Troglodytism and brain dead cameleers.  No.  That would be too easy.

The good prof. has a website called “Syria Comment”.  It’s read by everyone titillated by the misery caused by Obama & Co.  He feeds off of it and regurgitates the stereotypical poppycock about the inevitable retrogradism of modern, political Islam.  He does not see the conflict in Syria as a battle between progressivism and backwardness.  He does not see it from a class perspective, i.e. that Dr. Assad’s infatuation with the educated merchant class worked to the detriment of his relationship with the peasant population.  It is interesting how many of the terrorists are from villages or towns central to Syria’s agricultural sector.

He is not a sought-after commentator on mainstream American news programs.  They fear his focus on sectarian warfare may elicit a remark about Syrian Christians.  The good prof stated in that post-sermonette symposium we referred to above that Christians and other minorities would just have to put up with a new insistent Islamism in Syria.     


  Andrew Tabler, tired from hours of predicting Dr. Assad’s fall, forgot to shave for this file photo. 

The man who coined the phrases:  “He’s now on one leg”; “He’s about to fall”; “There isn’t much time for Assad”; “His capital is about to collapse”…..and so on ad nauseam, is never hesitant to repeat them when an opportunity arises for impassioned fulminations.  When the New York Times needs a doomsayer, you can always call Tabler who presents himself as someone with very special understanding of the Syrian situation.  You see, he met Mrs. Assad, and knows the inner workings of the kitchen at the Presidential Palace.

Tabler has no Ivy League credentials, which is probably to his benefit as most of these Harvard types have done more to harm the U.S. in the Middle East than Hulagu’s generals for Genghiz Khan.  He has no known contacts with the Syrian High Command; which doesn’t stop him, though, from perorating endlessly about the imminent fall of our government and military matters.  Drone, drone and drone for the NYT.  He’s always quoted as though his vision is infallibly reflective of a truth that must come to pass because it’s what Mrs. Clinton wants.  It’s what Prince Fatso wants.  Yawn.

Congratulations to all three for winning the Dr. Pangloss Award for 2012.  Yawn, again.