April 10, 2008

Obama studied under Edward Said

Edward Said, the late Episcopalian Palestinian intellectual, whose 1978 book "Orientalism" launched "post-colonial studies" and did so much damage to scholarship by teaching a generation of students that studying non-Western cultures was racist and that the only acceptable activity was to interrogate what earlier Western scholars had said about non-Western cultures for proof of their racism, taught Barack Obama at Columbia in the early 1980s, according to the LA Times.

There's nothing about Edward Said in Obama's memoirs because of Obama's relentless refusal to include anecdotes about famous people he had met just because readers might find them -- horrors -- interesting.

I mean, in the unlikely event that I ever write my life story, I'd include the time I was interrogated by a Maryland chief of police on suspicion of attempting to assassinate former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with a letter bomb.

Their robot bomb disposal unit was ready to hurl into the Chesapeake Bay the small dense package I had mailed to myself at a hotel where both Mrs. Thatcher and I would be staying for a conference when I finally convinced the police the package just contained some new business cards I had had printed up.

Granted, this story doesn't reveal anything about my inner soul, but it's more entertaining than any single anecdote in Obama's boring book.

Obama left out random stories about famous people he had met because they don't have anything to do with his own personal all-absorbing "story of race and inheritance." And, besides, who knew whether potential Jewish donors in some future campaign would be pleased to hear about the impact Said had on Obama? Why leave a paper trail?

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

19 comments:

abe said...

How many people who went to Columbia studied under Edward Said? More empty headed smears from Sailer.

robert said...

Was "Orientalism" the reason it suddenly became necessary to call Orientals "Asians" in the 90s?

Anonymous said...

Oh, but Steve, were you deeply emotionally impacted by the incident? Did it throw you into a ruminative catalepsy that still strikes you from time to time this day, and confirm everything you had vaguely intuited about the white man's world, the greed of which runs a world in need? Did you emote endlessly and tear out your hair about the incident?

If not, you just might not have what it takes to write a deep, soulful autobiography. Certainly not one of Obama's caliber.

Anonymous said...

When all is said and done,Obama will be out of a Senate seat. AIPAC wiped out Findlay,Percy and Adlai III for far less...when all is said and done,Obama may end up closer to Cynthia McKinney in terms of political future.

testing99 said...

As opposed to the gushers of Saudi Money Anon? AIPAC is a piker compared to the Saudis.

I don't think Obama left a very meager paper trail out of calculation. But laziness. I know laziness when I see it. Trust me on this. Obama is lazy.

If he wasn't lazy but calculating, he would have staged a Sistah Souljah incident with Wright at the earliest possible convenience. Bill Ayers would have been radioactive. He'd have been Bill Clinton, instead he's George McGovern.

Anonymous said...

Actually studying under Edward Said is a plus in my book. Hopefully Obama has been warned about the Israel lobby enough to know when to say "no" to them. Obama can't publically say that he will oppose the Israel lobby or he will be toast. But the more I hear that he ran in circles skeptical of the Israel lobby, the more confident I am that Obama won't fight another war for Israel.

Razib said...

just a minor note: important to note that though said was raised anglican he was a professed atheist as an adult (and stated that islam was his civilization, whatever that meant....).

Anonymous said...

When all is said and done,Obama will be out of a Senate seat. AIPAC wiped out Findlay,Percy and Adlai III for far less...when all is said and done,Obama may end up closer to Cynthia McKinney in terms of political future.

It's peculiar that Findlay,Percy and Adlai III were all from Illinois. Is there something in the water?

Dennis Mangan said...

Said taught Obama; the setup couldn't be more perfect, unless we found out that Marx taught FDR.

testing99 said...

Said is a disaster because his model "it's all about Israel" is proven to be false. Osama's latest threat/promise message were all about the Pope and Danish Cartoons. No Israel involved.

Islam is tribal (no real leaders, always some "Geronimo" ready to take to war to get more status and power), and guarantees conflict. The only way to deal with tribal conflict is to change the tribes into a settled people (the neocon's fantasy) which requires overwhelming force and reservations. Or rival tribes to help you track them down and kill them (all).

Well you can try and stay away from them but modern technology makes that hopeless. "Tribes with Nukes!" Lovely. Said tries to hide that tribal basis for Islam. Though it's obvious. Hence Obama's "Muslim Summit." Stupid. You could do that with the hierarchical, conservative USSR which reached it's high water mark in 1945 and desperately wanted to hang on. Guys like Geronimo, Crazy Horse, etc (with nukes)? Forget it.

c23 said...

What do you mean "studied under?" Did Obama take an undergraduate course from Said? Was Said his dissertation advisor?

I took lots of courses from commie pinkos too, as has everybody who went to a 4 year college that isn't Oral Roberts University.

RobertHume said...

Bin Laden has sharia on his mind, but what brings in the suicide bombers is Israel-Palestine and the offshoots invasions and occupations like Iraq.

We'll never settle with Islam until we get an Israel-Palestine two-state solution (without settlements in the West Bank), and severely restrict immigration to the West. Such restrictions will have to be part of immigration restrictions from all non-Western countries.

Concerned said...

A lot of people studied under Said. Not a lot of people stayed friendly with Said, a notoriously temperamental man. Obama did. His list of friends is not very pretty: Said, Wright, Bill Ayres.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Concerned: A lot of people studied under Said. Not a lot of people stayed friendly with Said, a notoriously temperamental man. Obama did. His list of friends is not very pretty: Said, Wright, Bill Ayres...

...and Raila Amolo Odinga, the Butcher of Kenya.

JPG: Obama & Odinga, August 2006 [tall]

JPG: Obama & Odinga, August 2006 [wide angle]

James Kabala said...

Simply because Said was famous, that doesn't mean he did anything anecdote-worthy in Obama's presence. Many noteworthy intellectuals can be rather dull in person.

Anonymous said...

Evil Neocon said:

"As opposed to the gushers of Saudi Money Anon? AIPAC is a piker compared to the Saudis."

My gosh, I hope the media does an investigation on this. Unless of couse, the Saudis control the media?

RKU said...

Did Said's book really do "damage" to our Mid East scholarship? I've never read it, but I wonder...

Didn't all the claims for this tend to come from neocons like Bernard Lewis, whose Mid East "scholarship" is basically totally dishonest propaganda?

When a group of proven, pathological liars claim that an enemy of theirs is a liar, maybe they're telling the truth...but maybe they're not.

I'm curious whether anyone here with some degree of Mid East objectivity (e.g. NOT Evil-Neocon) has read Said's stuff, and what they think of it.

Svigor said...

Said is a disaster because his model "it's all about Israel" is proven to be false. Osama's latest threat/promise message were all about the Pope and Danish Cartoons. No Israel involved.

Is that the "proof," or are you saving the "big guns" for later?

Anonymous said...

"...teaching a generation of students that studying non-Western cultures was racist and that the only acceptable activity was to interrogate what earlier Western scholars had said about non-Western cultures for proof of their racism."

Nicely put. People have to start intensifying their attacks on this sort of thing. These University people are insulated enough that they hear no dissent, or they code what dissent they hear as a moral outrage, strengthening their beliefs. They like to pretend they're the only intellectuals existent, so when you take them out at the kneecaps with comments they can't cram into the inane morality play that passes for their knowledge of the world, they're flabbergasted, bewildered, confused, and "first they ignore you - Then laugh at you and hate you - Then they fight you - then you win."

I expect the tenured cultists are getting more shrill and insane as reality fails to correspond to their delusory mental landscape, which usually wouldn't matter, but they're "educating" kids, too.

I don't think this is an "empty-headed smear." If you've been in the University, lately, you know what this "signifies": sheer idiocy, and a total inability to parse, comprehend or contend with the world. I'm probably voting for Obama, but I read everything Steve posts with interest. If he's elected, this could end up as an epically farcical administration, which I still regard as marginally preferable to Mccain.

The cognitive dissonance generated in these Said-types by their wrong beliefs vs. reality is frequently painful to watch, and more and more painful to watch as time goes on. After all, time is history, and their lack of exposure and knowledge of history is the only thing that allows them to believe the stupid things they do to begin with!

If Obama really is a Chomskyan, it should be interesting to see what he does, but Steve's right: let's FIND OUT if he's a Chomskyan. Better a Chomskyan than a Frederic Jameson person. Some of it could be disastrous, some of it could be great for America. Like large-scale demilitarization I think is the smart move, propaganda-wise, for America.

That's not a smear...you can read Chomsky and Said stuff on the Internet right now. Try it. They're speaking English. Chomsky's schtick is to relate cold-war history as though the Soviet Union did not exist. Said ignores all Arab-initiated wars against Israel and anti-semitic insanity in Middle-eastern culture. They reframe facts to make Israel and the US look villainous and monstrous.

That's weird, but it's no more messed up than the neocons. Also, Chomskyans are right in this sense: every military action the US took during the Cold War had very close to zero significance for world history. "Ignorant armies clashing by night." Considering neocons have been practically defecating themselves with joy over starting "Cold War 2" with some backward tribes who raised some cash for flight school training and some passports, I like the Obama (?) "give peace a chance" Chomskyans over the Mccain neocons.