Hitch on Said
In Sunday's Washington Post, our friend has a review of From Oslo to Iraq, Edward Said's final work, published posthumously. It seems that Hitchens cannot quite bring himself to belch forth against his old, late friend with the same ease with which he can against Chomsky and other former comrades of his. Perhaps, despite his militant evangelical atheism, he is lightly superstitious and feels he should not speak ill of the dead. Or maybe he just misses his mate, whatever their disagreements. Whatever the reason, because of this ambiguity, his review leans neither to recommendation nor rejection. It is written almost like his contractually obligatory pieces for The Mirror, except that he feels obliged to write one last review of Said's work out of respect rather than for the paycheck.
The one notable comment in the piece -
"To say that Arab Americans were beaten in the streets after Sept. 11 because of the inciting speeches of Paul Wolfowitz, as Said actually did write in the exalted pages of the London Review of Books, is to resort to the silliest kind of demagogy. "
- once again shows how distant Hitchens is from the on-the-ground battles of the left. The numerous attacks on Arabs and Muslims (not to mention Sikhs and Hispanics, mistaken for the Jihadist hordes by the thicker of the hopped up good ol' boys in their pick-ups on Saturday nights [¿Hola? ¿Qué país del este medio habla español, pendejo?]) who were beaten and killed in Western countries following 11 September are well documented by anti-racist and immigrant groups.
One presumes he is too busy foot-binding his former views to have time lately to have noticed these latter-day lynchings.