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What if we covered Scotland like it were in the Middle East?

A traditional Scottish custom of some sort, we're sure.
A traditional Scottish custom of some sort, we're sure.
Jeff J Mitchell
Zack Beauchamp is a senior correspondent at Vox, where he covers ideology and challenges to democracy, both at home and abroad. Before coming to Vox in 2014, he edited TP Ideas, a section of Think Progress devoted to the ideas shaping our political world.

What if the international press wrote about Scottish independence in the same condescendingly alien tone they used to talk about the Middle East? Probably something a lot like this parody, which uses Scotland's vote as an opportunity to demolish some really annoying tropes in Middle East coverage.

Karl Sharro, an architect and international treasure, writes a brilliantly satirical blog about Middle East politics called Karl reMarks. He often pokes fun at the way the foreign press writes about the Middle East and the non-Western world more broadly, including some surely hypothetical writers who make heavy use of maps and charts. Sharro's take on the Scottish independence referendum is, predictably, pretty hilarious. Even just in the first three paragraphs:

These days, everyone is talking about the Scottish Independence Referendum, especially when they're not talking about ISIS. But sadly nobody has managed so far to explain this complicated topic in an easy to understand manner. So we commissioned a panel of Western Middle East experts and asked them to apply their unique approach to the subject with their customary disregard for cumbersome nuance and the stifling requirements of accuracy. The result is this fascinating article.

On Thursday the 18th of September, Scottish voters will be asked to vote in a referendum on Scottish independence from the United Kingdom. The question they must answer is "Should Scotland be an independent country?" They must answer either ‘Yes' or a ‘No', in accordance with one of the central tenets of Western culture known as ‘binary oppositions'. This handy guide will give you all the information you need to know about the referendum and what's it likely to mean for you. (Not much really, aside from maybe needing to get an extra visa.)

Scotland is a small, oil and gas-rich nation bordered by England to the south. That's an important word, there oil, need we say more? The Scots are a proud and noble people, unlike their English neighbours who are noble but self-effacing. Scotland is a tribal society divided into clans, such as the Mackenzei clan, the Maclean clan, and the McDonalds who invented hamburgers. Most Scots consider their clans to be an important part of their lives, and clan chiefs wield significant influence amongst the population.

Go and read the whole thing. Make sure and make it till the end for a solid dig at the delusion that all problems can be solved by arming and/or fighting...someone.

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