Tuesday, April 19, 2005

DIVISION OF LABOR. I see that the current criticism of Juan Cole (that part of it, at least, you don't have to pay for) boils down to this:

Per Michael Totten*, Cole likes Edward Said, who is liked by "Islamic fundamentalists," who hate the West therefore etc. This intellectual game of Telephone eventually allows a link to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which will be no shock to seasoned observers of the schtick.

Per the Ole Perfesser, his buddies don't like Cole, so why read him?

The actual Juan Cole site is a useful roundup of news from, and recent history of, the Middle East, with far fewer references to Orientalism and abstruse theories of race than these guys would lead you to believe; while there are some brooding asides that smell of the classroom, Cole seems to pad his stuff far less with theoretical analysis than, say, Hugh Hewitt pads his with Jesus and ecclesiasticals.

Which is to say that you can actually find out what's going on at Cole's site. And that's the alleged beauty of the blogosphere, right? Cole tells you about alliances, rifts, and battles in the region, and the other guys tell you about soldiers giving toys to Iraqi children. We are all free to choose whatever blend suits our prejudices.

*UPDATE. The post at the Totten site was actually written by one Mary Madigan, so consider "Michael Totten" in that instance as a brand name.

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