deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
[personal profile] deepad
It seems being depressed and up far too late leads to bad doggerel.

After reading The Gatehouse's editorial defence of victorientalism:
Orientalism may be premised on a terribly flawed approach, and many past Orientalist studies may lack terribly in both facts and analysis, but the concept is not steeped in bigotry, nor was its purpose ever to facilitate the colonial subjugation of non-Western peoples. Irwin amply, indeed, exhaustively, proves the sincerity of nineteenth century Orientalists and how much they were smitten with the East and its cultures. Many of them failed at impartial study, but they were no Great White Hunters.


and after reading the comments on [personal profile] jhameia's Countering Victorientalism piece, the following is my cri de coeur.


Pity the Orientalist
That Noble beleaguered Soul
Who stands above
the toiling herds
And wishes merely to Record.

No mercenary merchantry
Stains his Christian breast
Nor is his trade
In tongues now dead
With Semitic greed professed.

No gun-bombasting hunter he!
In Dark and Devilish Lands
Who trades Ivory
and Ebony
With slave-trade stains his hands.

Nor yet a landed countryman
With plantation wealth engorged
Nor sailor rude
Or soldier crude
Or politic MP or Lord

But a Man with Classic zeal
Whose torch is lit from Greece
Who Simply Yearns
To Learn and Earn
The Immortal Apples of the East

Such reverence wells in his Soul
Such simple, lovely joy
For Tombs within
Which heathen kings
Dream of glory days gone by.

Such lustre on pagan lands grown dim
His fiery passion lends
As he penetrates
And excavates
Virgin wonders beyond our ken

He loves them all, each scratch and shard
Each strange and wondrous tale
Each chant sublime
And nautch divine
For Deities who their abject priests have failed.

What sullen petty rabble wrath
He must hazard and ignore
What Noble Cause
He does espouse
Which gives patience to Forbear

The swinish mulch he tramples through
In search of Eastern Pearls
To rescue from
the savage hands
The Ancient and Obscure

O, Pity such a hapless man
Who is tragically dismissed
With one accord
By Asiatic horde
And sentenced - 'Orientalist'.
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Date: 13/3/10 06:54 am (UTC)
delfinnium: (Default)
From: [personal profile] delfinnium
Pity the poor White Man!

PITY HIM.

*plays tiny tiny ukelele*

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Date: 13/3/10 07:36 am (UTC)
nojojojo: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nojojojo
::whips out tiny tiny drum to go along::

I'm boggled that anyone thinks a term like "Orientalist" can be reclaimed, by anyone other than the people it was applied to, as empowerment. The very arrogance of trying to do so reinforces the same racist notions that created the term in the first place.

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Date: 13/3/10 10:03 am (UTC)
bravecows: Picture of a brown cow writing next to some books (Default)
From: [personal profile] bravecows
Ahahahaha!

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Date: 13/3/10 12:10 pm (UTC)
monanotlisa: (spring sky)
From: [personal profile] monanotlisa
*snicker*

If this isn't the perfect rebuttal, I don't know what is.

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Date: 13/3/10 01:22 pm (UTC)
thingswithwings: I'm not as awesome as I think I am (gen - not awsome at all)
From: [personal profile] thingswithwings
*clap clap clap*

I love it! Oh how hard is the life of the Orientalist; my tears fall freely.

Maybe someday people will recognize that racist, damaging acts, even if they are truly committed with smitten, loving sincerity, are still racist, damaging acts. Enough with the hardon for intention already!

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Date: 13/3/10 02:44 pm (UTC)
wingstodust: (Default)
From: [personal profile] wingstodust
*snickers* Oh, those poor, poooooooor Orientalist.

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Date: 13/3/10 03:11 pm (UTC)
lotesse: (viclit_beckysharp)
From: [personal profile] lotesse
The fact that this is good poetry as well as good argumentation enflames my love for it more and more.

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Date: 13/3/10 03:43 pm (UTC)
devohoneybee: (pentagram)
From: [personal profile] devohoneybee
*applauds*

Ditto what thingswithwings said, above, on intention. Which leads me to some other thoughts about defensiveness (I'm a psychologist, this is part of where my mind goes), and how to educate people/cultures to the distinction between intention and impact. So that if someone tells me I am hurting them by a mistaken belief about them/their cultural identification, it would be obvious that "but I didn't mean to" is entirely besides the point. Or rather, it's a separate issue.

It occurs to me that cultures vary on the dimension of weight given to intention, and that variance co-occurs with different ideas of what counts in religious/spiritual dimensions. For example, emphases on action (ritual observance, social justice) versus emphases on consciousness/intention (meditation, prayer, "accepting Jesus into your heart"). I remember doing a little survey when I was a kid on the following question: "Is it more important to do the right thing for the wrong reasons, or the wrong thing for the right reasons?" (e.g. do something that helps people, even though you didn't mean to, or even meant harm, or do something that hurts people, even though you meant well). The Jewish kids were more likely to say what counts more is the actual impact of your actions, and the Christian kids were more likely to say that what you intended mattered more. Totally unscientific, but food for thought. The main part of which is, ideas about the relative significance of intention and the impact of actions may be, themselves, unexamined parts of a cultural/religious mind-set.

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Date: 13/3/10 03:48 pm (UTC)
furikku: A small cardboard robot on wheels. It has a happy face drawn on with marker. (Default)
From: [personal profile] furikku
These guys

just

my mind

Photobucket

(no subject)

Date: 13/3/10 03:54 pm (UTC)
starlady: Raven on a MacBook (Default)
From: [personal profile] starlady
That quotation is boggling, but your poem is awesome.

ETA: Not boggling because of what's being said, but that someone would want to reclaim the term at all. I would have thought it had been thoroughly discredited; evidently not thoroughly enough.
Edited (for more length) Date: 13/3/10 03:57 pm (UTC)

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From: [personal profile] jonquil - Date: 15/3/10 12:56 am (UTC) - Expand

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Date: 13/3/10 05:53 pm (UTC)
hokuton_punch: An icon that says "Here be dragons" and then, "Um, actually I'm over here." (iconomicon here be dragons and me)
From: [personal profile] hokuton_punch
Delurking only to applaud! GLORIOUS. ♥

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Date: 13/3/10 06:43 pm (UTC)
troisroyaumes: Painting of a duck, with the hanzi for "summer" in the top left (Default)
From: [personal profile] troisroyaumes
My jaw dropped at that first quote. What? Just what?!

Brilliant response! Thanks for making me laugh about this.

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Date: 13/3/10 08:32 pm (UTC)
coffeeandink: (Default)
From: [personal profile] coffeeandink
I was startled a few years ago to discover how many people took "Orientalist" as a neutral or positive term. I guess not everyone immediately thinks of Edward Said?

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Date: 13/3/10 11:23 pm (UTC)
spiralsheep: I have a plan so cunning you could stick a tail on it and call it a weasel (boz4pm Blackadder Cunning Plan)
From: [personal profile] spiralsheep
Yes, but does your poem fit to the tune of any of Arthur Sullivan's classic tunes? ;-)

(no subject)

Date: 13/3/10 11:42 pm (UTC)
la_vie_noire: (Michiko sticking tongue)
From: [personal profile] la_vie_noire
lolol, seriously?

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Date: 14/3/10 01:22 am (UTC)
oyceter: teruterubouzu default icon (Default)
From: [personal profile] oyceter
Bwahahaha! Especially "His fiery passion lends
As he penetrates
And excavates
Virgin wonders beyond our ken"!

Also, wtf people? You want to make "Orientalist" neutral?!?!

(no subject)

Date: 14/3/10 07:09 am (UTC)
thedilettante: (balls)
From: [personal profile] thedilettante
WHAT.

Thank you for this; it is glorious and has saved me from having to explode from the stupidity.

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Date: 14/3/10 02:51 pm (UTC)
hey_legousa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hey_legousa
Why do people think that terms like "victorientalist" are a good idea? Rhetorical question, I already know.

Your poem is mad good times. I think I'm going to need to collect poems that riff on "The White Man's Burden."

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Date: 14/3/10 09:39 pm (UTC)
linkspam_mod: A metal chain (Default)
From: [personal profile] linkspam_mod
Your post has been added to a Linkspam roundup.

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Date: 15/3/10 12:44 am (UTC)
softestbullet: Aeryn and Pilot. (AtLA/ it's pronounced with an "okka")
From: [personal profile] softestbullet
Ahahaha! You are amazing. <3

(no subject)

Date: 15/3/10 12:55 am (UTC)
jonquil: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jonquil
" but the concept is not steeped in bigotry"

Edward Said is spinning in his grave.

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Date: 15/3/10 04:01 am (UTC)
muccamukk: Domino toasting with a martini. (Marvel: Cheers!)
From: [personal profile] muccamukk
This is pretty fantastic. Thank you for writing it.

(no subject)

Date: 15/3/10 05:49 am (UTC)
lilacsigil: 12 Apostles rocks, text "Rock On" (12 Apostles)
From: [personal profile] lilacsigil
This is magnificent. "Such simple, lovely joy" indeed!

(no subject)

Date: 15/3/10 05:51 am (UTC)
pseudo_tsuga: ([A:TLA] katara is amused by you)
From: [personal profile] pseudo_tsuga
Came here from network surfing; am dying with laughter.

(no subject)

Date: 15/3/10 09:24 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] nh4ever
he he

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Date: 16/3/10 05:51 am (UTC)
aquaeri: white cat, one yellow and one blue eye (white)
From: [personal profile] aquaeri
But they were sincere!!!!!! How can you be so mean?

(I bet that's also what little boys say when you stop them pulling wings off flies).
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deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
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