The first billboard I saw in Lebanon yesterday had pictures of what looked like wax figures of Saddam Hussein and George W. Bush side-by-side, with the logo "The Past and the Future." It turns out they were wax figures. The text of the sign read, "Where is Saddam? He's at the Hall of Fame Wax Museum!"

At the St. Simon festival last night, I got buttonholed by a group of guys who live in the U.S. but are back on vacation. Said one, "Americans all think Lebanon is a haven for terrorists. They don't even know the president of Lebanon is a Christian. You have to tell them! I love America because it gave me what my country didn't—opportunity, money, and a job."

As a journalist (or at least a feuillitoniste), I had, my new friends claimed, a special duty to get the message out to Americans, so I'm passing it along. And also one complaint: Citing Darrell Issa's unrewarded role in the California recall and John Abizaid's getting stuck with the hangover in Iraq, they say Lebanese-Americans have to do all the country's dirty work. (And that's not to mention that it was Jamie Farr who had to wear the dress on M*A*S*H.)

NEXT: Friday Marginalia

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  1. So does that mean it’s Shannon Elizabeth’s job (or if you prefer, Keanu Reeves) to melt our American hearts?

    Though they’re only half Lebanese.

    I will say this, Lebanese chicks are among the most beautiful in the world. My mom’s carrot to get my brother’s grades up is an unsupervised trip to Lebanon. I wish I got that offer.

  2. Don’t forget Salma Hayek is half Lebanese

  3. So are you saying Lebanon is *not* a haven for terrorists?

  4. anon @ 7:08
    And she disproves my (even half) Lebanese girls are luscious thesis how?

  5. I thought Jamie Farr only played a (half) Lebanese American. I don’t think he is Arab at all.

  6. And worst insult of all. Danny Thomas died with Phil Donahue as his son-in-law. There oughta be a law.

  7. The artist formerly known as Slotcar Hatebath sends in an addendum:

    You should write an entire column on the Lebanese-Americans who’ve had to do America’s dirty work over the years. Let’s take a look, focusing only on the Lebanese-American entertainers who’ve gotten their hands dirty so American culture could thrive.

    Paula Abdul — has to apear on “American Idol” as upbeat American-values punching bag for tedious Englishman; married Emilio Estevez, keeping him from soul-destroying clutches of Demi Moore.

    Sammy Hagar — arbitrating between David Lee Roth and drug-addled Van Halen brothers led him to thankless task of taking over vocals for Roth; worked to repeal 55 mile-an-hour speed limit through song, thereby providing balance to slow-driving advocates like his cousin Ralph Nader.

    Yasmine Bleeth — had to appear on “Baywatch” to lend human credibility to rest of cast; must put up with pawings from talk-show hosts like Conan O’Brien.

    Tiny Tim — kept Johnny Carson’s ratings up at a time when America was more intertested in turning on than tuning in; kept ’20s music alive in era of Iron Butterly, Strawberry Alarm Clock, Electric Prunes.

    Dick Dale — left comfortable life in South Boston to invent surf guitar; had to put up with slow-witted SoCal natives at beach to do it.

    Kristy McNichol — provided the star power that got Sam Fuller’s “White Dog” funded; popularized the halter top among ’70s teenage girls.

    And those are just the ones off the top of my head.

  8. Zoinks! Isn’t Casey Kasem Lebanese?

  9. hey little guys n’ girls , i think u still have that imnported idea that lebanon is a land of terrorism , well u’re absoulutly wrong , i’m lebanese n’ livin’ in lebanon , n’ never left lebanon , lebanon is the only arab countrty that held the european way of living as it’s own , and countinued to ravish the word with it’s amazing undimentional culture of christian-muslim ‘living together’ , the terrorism have conquered the whole world because of the anti-comminist usa’s politic that was about making the people care about relegion to leave the atheist communist regim , and the thing was that all those people of the surroundings of urss were muslim , so they became terrorist , and u know relegion sometimes is a rock on road against progressing , and that was a good positive sign for usa (especially in those communist countries),(and now those muslim heavy relegionist are now the new enemey of usa , the country that created them) … also , u have terrorist in usa more than we have …lot lot more .. hope u’re ideas about leb will b changed..
    -Neexar najjar-
    -the goth christian’s-
    check ziss :

  10. whats up, well im an american citizen living in lebanon, lebanon is great! i love it more then the states i was born there and lived there for more then 13 years. and i totally prefure leb over the U.S. leb isnt the land of terrorism at ALLL acutally it’s mix with different cultures and differnt kinds of people. you know within our small population there are over 3000 americans living in lebanon?.. and major more majority of europeans also living among us. you should see us during touristic season, mannnn you see a lot of back packers, here… ever heard of a country in which you can go skiing and go to the beach the same day??… well you should try it.. only in lebanon… and may i include the amazing parties and clubs and concerts that happen.. here… !! leb is known as the PARIS of th eMIDDLE EAST.. and trust me no lie there..

    take care..

  11. yasmine bleeth is a jewish her dad is jewish and her mom is catholic

  12. fyi…regarding Yasmine Bleeth…just because her dad is jewish and her mom is Catholic doesn’t mean she can’t be lebanese. Not sure if she really is or not, but Catholic is a religion, not a nationality. I am Lebanese and happen to be Catholic. Wow, imagine that!

  13. Yasmine Bleeth is of Algerian descent, actually. So, Sammy Hagar is part Lebanese then, eh?

  14. Yasmine Bleeth is of Algerian descent, actually. So, Sammy Hagar is part Lebanese then, eh?

  15. Yasmine Bleeth is of Algerian descent, actually. So, Sammy Hagar is part Lebanese then, eh?

  16. What is this site about?? & Yasmine Bleeth is Algerian. does she speak Arabic??

  17. you guys. im a syrian and i’ve been all over the middle-east. i’ve been to egypt, jordan, lebanon, syria, bahrain and the uae. all of those countries are sooooooo beautiful, and what’s unfortunate is that they are forgotten for its tourist attractions, for what? just because they are muslim countries. im a christian and i am welcomed to go there. it don’t matter if you’re american. just as loooong uuuuu aint jewish… coz if u jewish then its a whole deal. but, saudi arabia, keep away from there, keep my advice, i hate saudis. there are many celebrities of arab descent: salma hayek, shannon elizabeth, tony shalhoub and shakira! shakira by far shows it by her arabic belly dancing.

  18. Yasmine Bleeth algerian?hahaha no way, north africans r dark with curly hair, she is jewish.

  19. Not just saudis.
    All gulf people are dirtys, specialy saudis, UAE,And Oman… dirty bedouins

  20. I am a british lebbanese student and I just want to say that London is great and that the majority of my friends are british, and what makes me think is the fact that we all get along just fine and I guess thats how London is because there are so many people with different races and different relligion and they all get along just fine so I think thats a possitive attitude coming from people of different race in which are living in Britain as it’s a multicutural country and it should be like that all over the world. I just want to big up Lebanon and all my family and I havn’t forgotten all the lebanese chicks out there they’re great so a great big-up to them up too. I’m out

  21. my name is mo short for mohammed and i just want to say that all lebanese gurls are tick (NICE)and if you are one of them reading this then just give me an e-mail then i’m sure we could hook up at summer and have a nice time with my bmw or on the beach and the rest of it.I should be there by mid july so yeah that will be cool , i mean i’m a cool guy so i guess u will have a cool time u get me habibty this is coming from a lebnani ok then bye.

  22. YASMINE BLEETH !!!!& Mr. Syrian Globe Trotter!
    dear diana and victoria: to be jewish, your mother must be jewish, and being jewish does not mean you can’t be lebanese, syrian or french or german !
    Jewish or Israelite means religion, being “ISRAELY” means holding israely nationality !

    And Dear Mr. Syrian guy, proud to be christian and defending muslim countries, first start to follow your religion that respects all others (eg: Jewish), and make difference between jewish and israely !!!

    PS: what is so beautiful in bahrain or UAE ?????

  23. i agree that the gulf people are different, sorry.

    Yasmine is 25% Algerian, her mom is half Algerian, half French.

    Paula Abdul is the one who is Jewish.

    1/2 Lebanese celebrities:

    Salma Hayek, Shakira, Wendy Malick, Sammy Hagar, Dick Dale (invented surf guitar), Shannon Elizabeth, F. Murray Abraham (played Salieri in Amadeus, NOT Jewish), Vince Vaughn, Tiffany (that 80’s Britney Spears).

    all-Lebanese: Casey Kasem, Danny Thomas, Paul Anka, Kathy Najimy.

    I don’t think any of these people are from a Muslim background (except for Shannon Elizabeth). Damn, we need better representation.

  24. EMAIL:
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