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April 16, 2003

young Edward Said. What is he going into his pocket for? Frisk or Fisk him

Edward Said and Twelve Disciples at Post-Orientalist Passover

A nice deconstruction of the Prince of the Darkness at Columbia University
Today, Columbia University marks twenty-five years to the publication of Edward Said's book Orientalism, with a day of lectures at the Casa Italiana. Twelve panelists and discussants will consider the book and its author, who will offer his own concluding remarks this evening.

Don't expect a critical appreciation of Orientalism and its influence. These are Said's academic admirers and acolytes, who have come to adore him. It's a familiar ritual. The Daily Star in Beirut (March 27) reported his most recent appearance at the American University with a sense for atmosphere. "The wired crowd, the dough-faced groupies, the misunderstood artist, the ritual riffs of emotion, moments of clarity—it was all there, and in stereo." During Said's speech, "the young and the not-so-young nodded hypnotically to his five-syllable words." He carried himself "like the star who keeps a seductive, almost annoyed distance from the devotions of his congregants." I've seen this performance in person on a couple of occasions, and the description rings true. No doubt there will be more of the same this evening. [more]