Call me a slow-learner but it turns out that Edward Said was the Rigoberta Menchu of the Middle East. His parents were American, not Palestinian. He grew up in Egypt, not Palestine. His folks property was burned by an Egyptian mob and what was left was stolen by the Egyptian government, not the Israelis. Etc, etc, etc...
Well, Judd and I could never go for the master's inscrutable meandering prose. He's as patent a fraud as Michel Foucault. No one smart writes that poorly without good reason: the defensibility that elastic prose provides. Great camouflage. When writing is so deliberately clumsy that you can't nail the writer's meaning down as A without risking the real possibility that he might have been coyly hinting at B or providing an allegory for C or playing charades to indicate D and possibly the rest of the alphabet, with the Zodiac thrown in, then you have a style that's so loopy that you can reinvent meaning and intent whenever the growling of the critics gets too close for comfort. I smelt a rat right from the get-go of Orientalism.
Not sure which is worse: right-wing US politicians pretending to be racial supremacists (Lyndon Johnson, George Wallace, and Strom Thurmond) or left-wing intellectuals (Farley Mowat, Ward Churchill, and Noam Chomsky) goading us to feel guilt and pretending to suffer like Jesus on the Cross for sins that none of us could have committed unless one believes in guilt by association, psychic transportation, and is a Buddhist and believes in reincarnation and responsibility for former lives.
There are links to the two excerpted articles below. Enjoy.
The headmaster showed me the pre-1948 student enrollment records, and I spent hours going through three leather-bound enrollment ledgers, page by page. To my astonishment, I found no mention of Edward Said. A second time page-by-page through the same records, and I found no evidence he was ever enrolled there. ...Several months of extensive research made clear that there was something fundamentally wrong with the picture Said presented of himself - that of a Palestinian exile/refugee deserving of reparations from Israel. (link)
Is it not curious in the extreme that Said, while on record as remembering the "rooms [in this house] where as a boy he read Sherlock Holmes and Tarzan, and where he and his mother read Shakespeare to each other," has nowhere brought to mind the presence upstairs of the Yugoslavian consulate, the comings and goings of visa-seekers, diplomats, and politicians, including for a time the king of Yugoslavia himself, or the arrival of limousines and their elegantly attired occupants for official functions like the annual Yugoslavian independence-day reception? On November 29, 1947, the very night the UN voted in favor of the partition plan for Palestine, and a couple of weeks before he has told us the Saids were forced to leave for Cairo, this reception was attended by no lesser figures than the British-appointed mayor of Jerusalem; Golda Meir, then director of the political department at the Jewish Agency; Hussein Haldi, the secretary of the Arab Higher Committee; and most of the city's social and political elite. (link)