Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Edward Said's Orientalism - for dummies

Here is an innovative rendition in rant style by the poet George Szirtez, of the famous theory that gave birth to the more recent concept of Middle East Studies (succinctly put: if you are not on the right side of the Israel/Palestinian conflict, you need not apply to study or teach at M-E Studies. This is a longer explanation):

The Other is a bit like the Sublime used to be (the whale used to be Sublime once), but enjoys a higher moral status because a person who regards another as The Other is invariably prejudiced and ill-intentioned. Otherness is a kind of imperial projection or projectile. Savages are the Other. Natives are the Other. The Other is the other end of the gun. But the real Other, that is when it is at home, not being any trouble to anyone and not being The Other, is a deeply decent, highly civilised being.

In fact the Other is quite clearly nobler, cleverer, wiser, more courageous, and in every way better than you are, you swine.

The above is mostly Edward Said in porridge version. Porridge in: porridge out. You're not listening!

In gender terms The Other is woman (if you are a man). This does not mean, on the other (not Other) hand, that man is an Other if you are a woman. It's the moral shtick again. Is that clear, pigface?


At 5:42 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...



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