Sunday, November 30, 2003

I should have a special section called Embedded Scholars: Noah Feldman will win first dishonorable mention. The late Edward W Said so disliked this Noah Feldman. We, in Middle East studies, never knew or heard of this fellow until the US war of colonization in Iraq. The US colonial administrator then hired this Feldman, a law professor at New York University, and New York Times published a laudatory profile about him. It was all about how this expert is going to help the poor Iraqis write their own constitution. It was so annoying and so traditionally colonialist that you felt being taken back in time. And then he was everywhere: NPR and other media outlets sought him to explain the poor feeble-minded Iraqis to the American people. And in one story in New York Times he observed that people in the Middle East “who do not normally act rationally” have been recently acting rationally. Kid you not. So I have been quite annoyed with this guy, as you can tell. And then yesterday, in the New York Times (November 29th, 2003, p. A7), he was quoted: he was, of course, expressing his objections to democracy and elections in Iraq because “the wrong people could get elected.” Imagine.