i don't care what villeneuve does, i truly don't -- he just isn't an artist with anything i give a shit about to say -- but there is no excuse to make a movie where the only fat person is a grotesque whose body explicitly reflects his nature
Putting aside the obvious similarities between the struggle over crude oil in the Middle East in the '60s and the fictional power struggle over spice in the book, it is through the nomadic Fremen that the Arab and Islamic influence is most felt. Their features are dark and tanned like Arabs and their language is made up of Arabic words. Paul’s messianic name is Muad'Dib (“ mu'adibs ” means “teacher” in Arabic), they call the sandworms Shai-Hulud (Shai meaning “Thing" and "Hulud" meaning "Immortality”), and Paul’s death commando bodyguard, the Fedaykin, derives its name from the Arabic Fedayeen, a term used to describe military groups willing to sacrifice themselves.
Even their collective name is a nod to the Berbers of North Africa, from whom Herbert heavily borrowed their nomadic, desert-dwelling lifestyle. As Mira Z. Amiras writes in Religion, Politics, and Globalization: Anthropological Approaches, “in addition to spicing up his fictional vernacular with a smattering of Tamazight dialect, Herbert also named his alien heroes ‘Fremen’ — free men — a literal translation of the term ‘Amazigh’ — the name Berbers call themselves.”
I could go into further detail but what’s abundantly clear is this: Dune and the subsequent books in the series would be nothing without the influence of the Arab and Islamic world. So to learn that no Middle Eastern or North African (MENA) actor has been announced in the cast to play any of the leading Fremen characters is a let-down. Instead, it’s been reported that Zendaya, a biracial Black actress, is in talks to play warrior Chani and Javier Bardem, a Spanish actor, might be taking on the role of Fremen leader Stilgar.
In the end, Dune is a 50-year-old book in which Frank Herbert borrows a large amount of material from various theologies, cultures and even other sci-fi novels (check out Sabres of Paradise) in order to write. Yes, he appropriated religious ideas, but it wasn’t to put them totally in a bad light. In fact, Herbert was critiquing the messianism of science through the Bene Gesserit and their psychology powers just as much as the messianism of Paul by the Fremen. As Timothy O'Reilly, author of Frank Herbert, writes, "It is too easy to see messianism as something that happens only to desert peoples like the Fremen. Less immediately apparent is the fact that to Herbert the neurotic use of science in modern Western civilization betrays the same pattern as messianic religion.”
Herbert didn’t like the idea of being trapped in the box of absolutism that both science and religion champion and Dune was his way of using each belief system to hit that home. “Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense,” he writes in Book Three. “But the real universe is always one step beyond logic.”
What is not well known are the various Islamic undertones, and Arabic etymologies that Frank Herbert put in Dune. The purpose of this article is to try to list these themes, and trace them back to whatever Islamic concept there is (if any).
The following list is derived from the above linked Lexicon, with some of my own addition. I try to explain what the term means in Herbert's novel, and what possible Arabic or Islamic terms it was derived from, and their original meaning.
As per the request of a visitor, I added the possible Arabic origin, in Arabic text next to each title.
If you really had read my comments in this thread, you'd realize the only thing that's new to me about Dune is that white people have anything at all to do with it. That's what came as a shock to me today. As a kid reading Dune, I legit thought Frank Herbert was an Arab writer who had taken on a white sounding name for marketing purposes.
at least because technology has progressed to give us a different lens on the Butlerian concerns
Dune was aimed at this whole idea of the infallible leader because my view of history says mistakes made by a leader (or made in a leader's name) are amplified by the numbers who follow without question. That's how 900 people wound up in Guyana drinking poison Kool-Aid. That's how the U.S. said "Yes, sir, Mister Charismatic John Kennedy!" and found itself embroiled in Vietnam. That's how Germany said "Sieg Heil!" and murdered more than six million of our fellow human beings.
Jihad, Butlerian: (see also Great Revolt) — the crusade against computers, thinking machines, and conscious robots begun in 201 B.G. and concluded in 108 B.G. Its chief commandment remains in the O.C. Bible as "Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind."
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