View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Thursday, September 25, 2003

Edward Said Dead

What a great way to finish out the year, and to give hope for the new one. Said was the author of the invidious book, Orientalism, which helped destroy Middle East studies in this country for a generation. The book claimed that, in effect, Westerners had no business studying Islam or the Middle East because they weren't "authentic" enough. What was built on the ruins of the profession has been ugly. Thanks to Martin Kramer and Daniel Pipes, we're now starting to see a counter-revolution of sorts take hold.

We can take some comfort in what Said saw around him as he died. Bernard Lewis, the target of Orientalism, resurgent in the national consciousness, his own autobiography discredited, pictures of him throwing rocks at Israelis widely circulated, and a growing counter-revolution concerning Middle East studies departments. Last year, I took a look at his Amazon rankings vs. Lewis's, and it wasn't even close. At the end, nobody was even listening.

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