Saturday, November 03, 2012

Figure This Out

Figure this one out. I can't.

It's an article by Malcolm Forbes in a new cultural journal called The National. (The name itself is a contradiction to what the site is about.)

Why is a website of the United Arab Emirates printing such an Anglophile article? Why are they designating an Anglo-American writer as the "best" critic? Don't they have their own literary critics? Aren't they trying to create some? Shouldn't they present their own perspective? Or do they accept Imperialist culture whole, even when-- as in this case-- the philosophy of the critic is unalterably opposed to theirs? James Wood, after all, is a narrowly-focused athiest who buys all the current postmodern premises (or most of them). He's the polar opposite of even the most moderate Islamist. So what's going on? What or where is the payoff? Is this the price of Imperialist navies in port?

Is this what's meant by "world literature"? A continuation of the British Empire? I don't think James Wood should be posing as an authority on American literature, much less lauded by an even vastly different culture. This looks like the homogenization of culture-- which is what tops-down imposed-from-above literature is about; which is exemplified by James Wood, an Insider's Insider. Eton, Cambridge, Harvard, and The New Yorker.

(Send him back to Britain, I say. Why did we fight a revolution? Can't we embrace what's best in us? Note to Tom Bissell: I'm being hyperbolic.)

While I certainly wouldn't want Islamic culture imposed on us, on Western civilization, that once-glorious thing, I also don't believe we should be imposing our current decadent stale stagnant insular aristocratic literary figures upon Islam. Sorry, maybe I'm a dinosaur, but ideas of world monothink and monoculture leave me cold.

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