Listen, My Children...

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Monday, March 29, 2004

Academia


Gotta love modern academia. Reading "Eternal Garden: Mysticism, History, and Politics at a South Asian Sufi Center" for class. The fellow has obviously spent too much time around post-modernists and too much time reading Said; he spends half his time psychoanalyzing other scholars (for "projecting" onto their subject, whether they describe the Sufis as peaceable, militant, or a mixture!) and the rest of it using scare quotes. Some choice quotes: "My rejection of the image of Warrior Sufis simply means that the principal bearers of the Sufi tradition in India (i.e., the shaykhs) were in general full-time religious leaders, and did not themselves take part in military activities, though some of their followers did." $50 says this fellow's one of the ones who says that Ahmed Yassin was simply an old man in a wheelchair who never harmed anyone (although his followers did). In more support of that wager, he lists the fictions that have led to a conception of selected Islamic groups (not the whole, but just specific groups) as militant, among them "the various religious figures in India that the British called 'Wahhabis'," "Marco Polo's fiction of [one group's] hashish use," and "the modern problem of 'terrorism' in the Middle East." It's not actual terrorism when you blow up schoolchildren and pizza parlors, you see. That's just bigoted crapwads projecting. Stay in academia long enough, you'll learn that. Of course, if you say that Islam and Islamic groups are peacable, you're forcibly conforming them to your idealized model, which is condescending and orientalist, he argues. It's better to go into another field of study, like penguin mating patterns, where you won't have to insult medieval South Asian Muslims by writing anything, good or bad or morally neutral, about them.

This time, given the nature of the class, I'll let my opinion of this sludge be known.

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