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- 8 03 2004 - 00:07 - katatonik

Preaching the self-evident, now?

Avishai Margalit and Ian Buruma, already authors of one article about Occidentalism, now published a sequel in the March 11 edition of the New York Review of Books. The core of their concept remains the same: Occidentalism is hatred of the West.

“They (i.e. Occidentalists) are not just critics of Western ways. They see the West as less than human, as a kind of ruthlessly efficient, soulless, machine civilisation which must be violently resisted.”

The new text on the whole is rather disappointing: bits and pieces of world history here and there are described, summarily presented, in a rhetoric appropriate for Sunday speeches of the “we must defend liberal civilisation” kind. Is this what is needed nowadays? Not merely stating the obvious, but preaching the self-evident?

Oh, by the way, Hans-Magnus Enzensberger just appeared on my TV screen, talking about Morocco. Passing references were made to Orientalism, and Enzensberger didn’t like Said’s claim that the West has misperceived the Orient. But, he emphasises, the Orient has also misperceived the West, and it is in this trivialised sense of misperceptions that he talks about Occidentalism. This calls for more camomille tea, I suppose, by way of excitement.


What I find conspicuous about the Buruma/Margalit piece is that they don't mention the West's support for some of the most reactionary religious movements in order to hold down everything that even remotely reeked of political leftism.

Franz Fuchs (Mar 13, 19:18) #


Seems to me that not so many people went to watch Rambo III, after all.

gHack (Mar 13, 19:34) #

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