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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

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]