Talk:Edward Said

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Good article Edward Said has been listed as one of the Language and literature good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
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Re:"Lectures and interviews online" section[edit]

I think we should expand the "Lectures and intervews online" section with the first three listings under "External links". Since those first three listings are articles written by Said, I think the title "Lectures and interviews online" should be renamed accordingly, possibly to "Said online", or even better "Lectures, interviews, and articles".--Abie the Fish Peddler (talk) 02:42, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

On second thought, I would like to move the "Lectures and interviews online" section with the rest of the external links.--Abie the Fish Peddler (talk) 01:09, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
I agree that they should be merged with the ELs. ThemFromSpace 01:13, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Okay, emboldened by your approval, Themfromspace, I made the edit. Hope it looks good to everyone.--Abie the Fish Peddler (talk) 01:20, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

The work ahead[edit]

Refs #16 through 20 need formatting. In addition, I propose an expansion of the "Career" section. Here is a rough draft. I'm curious what you all think about it.--Abie the Fish Peddler (talk) 20:06, 14 January 2010 (UTC):

It seems that this article is not very neutral, as the "Criticism" section is almost half of the full length! No other article of a contemporary or related philosopher seems to have as long of a section on criticism. Can we have some parity please? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:14, 2 June 2013 (UTC)



In 1963, Said joined the faculty of Columbia University, in the departments of English and Comparative Literature, where he would serve until his death in 2003. In 1974 he was Visiting Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard, in 1975-6 Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Science at Stanford, and in 1977, Said became the Parr Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia and subsequently became the Old Dominion Foundation Professor in the Humanities. In 1979, Said was Visiting Professor of Humanities at Johns Hopkins University.[1] Said was also a visiting professor at Yale University and lectured at more than 100 universities.[2] In 1992, he attained the rank of University Professor, Columbia's highest academic position.[3]

Periodical contributions[edit]

Said's writing regularly appeared in The Nation,[4] The Guardian,[4] the London Review of Books,[5] Le Monde Diplomatique,[6] Counterpunch,[7] Al Ahram,[8] and the pan-Arab daily al-Hayat. In addition to his contributions as writer, he served as an editor for the Arab Studies Quarterly, [4] The themes of his writings included literature, politics, the Middle East, music, and culture.

Various Associations[edit]

Said also served as president of the Modern Language Association, and was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the executive board of PEN, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Royal Society of Literature, the Council of Foreign Relations,[9] and the American Philosophical Society.[10]

Late years[edit]

In September 1991, through a routine medical checkup, Said discovered that he had leukemia, which led him to write his acclaimed memoir, Out of Place (1999), which he began work on in 1994. Though he had been given little time to live, Said continued teaching, traveling, lecturing, and authoring seven books, as well as writing the material for two posthumous works, including On Late Style in which he critiqued the later works of authors, filmmakers and musicians. Of his frame of mind during his post-prognosis days, Said commented: "I don't think that I was ever consciously afraid of dying, though I soon grew aware of the shortage of time."[11]


  1. ^ LA Jews For Peace, The Question of Palestine by Edward Said. (1997) Books on the Israel-Palestinian Conflict - Annotated Bibliography, accessed 3 January 2010.
  2. ^ Dr. Farooq, Study Resource Page, Global Web Post, accessed on 3 January 2010.
  3. ^ Columbia University Press, About the Author, Humanism and Democratic Criticism, 2004.
  4. ^ a b c The Nation, "Edward W. Said." Accessed 5 January 2010.
  5. ^ London Review of Books, "Edward Said." 2003. Accessed 5 January 2010.
  6. ^ Le Monde Diplomatique, "Edward W. Said." Dossier. Accessed 5 January 2010.
  7. ^ CounterPunch, "CounterPunch Archives." Accessed 5 January 2010.
  8. ^ Al Ahram, "The death of Edward Said." 2003. Accessed 5 January 2010.
  9. ^ LA Jews For Peace, The Question of Palestine by Edward Said. (1997) Books on the Israel-Palestinian Conflict - Annotated Bibliography, accessed 3 January 2010.
  10. ^ Moustafa Bayoumi and Andrew Rubin, eds., The Edward Said Reader, Vintage, 2000, pp. xv.
  11. ^ Michael Wood, Introduction to On Late Style by Edward Said, Pantheon Books, 2006: p. xvi.

Said was a 1/4 Lebanese[edit]

In an interview he stated his mother was half Lebanese, Im adding this ♥Yasmina♥ (talk) 12:07, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

Nice catch. Although the way you inserted the info doesn't fit with the rest of the article. Also, you added that his maternal grandmother was Lebanese, which isn't in the article. I will make the appropriate edits. Cheers, Abie the Fish Peddler (talk) 12:30, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

Yes i was lucky to find this,I remember hearing him say it in an interview ages ago but i dont think i could find the link to that.Its important to add that its Through his GRANDMOTHER the Lebanese ancestry is from on his mother side because the way Arab world works is its a Patriarchal society where nationality and identity is passed through the father. If your father is Palestinian and your mother syrian you are labeled and identified thoroughly as a Palestinian even if you have been born in Syria and raised there. The father's identity is yours.Said even notes that himself when he states his mother's father was palestinian and yet shes half Lebanese which is stating She is palestinian and that its her mother whose Lebanese. here,Weiner says that my mother was Lebanese, whereas she was only half Lebanese; her father was Palestinian. She had a Palestinian passport and in 1948 did in point of fact become a refugee.♥Yasmina♥ (talk) 21:48, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

I'm not too comfortable adding any more info regarding Said's background from a primary source. Maybe a secondary source, like a biography, would have even more info and be sourced. I think we should hold off until then? What do you think?--Abie the Fish Peddler (talk) 04:47, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

Sure no problem ♥Yasmina♥ (talk) 07:20, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

Nice.--Abie the Fish Peddler (talk) 07:25, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
I notice that Category:Lebanese Americans has now been added. I'm dubious about using it for someone with only distant Lebanese ancestry]].--Peter cohen (talk) 11:17, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
Good point, Peter Cohen. I'm for its removal. No offense to Yasmina.--Abie the Fish Peddler (talk) 11:27, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
Okay, I have removed it. I thought for a moment it was a fourth party involved but now I see that Yasminas user name doesnt match her sig.--Peter cohen (talk) 20:41, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

An American with Lebanese heritage is deemed a Lebanese-American what is wrong with this? ♥Yasmina♥ (talk) 19:26, 20 February 2010 (UTC)


There has been some controversy over whether he was born in Jerusalem. Additionally, wouldn't it be more correct to say he was of mixed heritage, including Palestinian... he WAS not just Palestinian. (talk) 03:48, 28 February 2010 (UTC) 2010/02/28

The article seems to say that his father moved to Cairo before "Edward Wadie" was born. Was the father living in Cairo while the son was born in Jerusalem or was Edward Said born in Cairo? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:58, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

Calling him a "Christian" or categorizing him as a "Christian'[edit]

Said was indeed born to a Christian family, but he did not believe in anything about it in his adult life. He was an agnostic in later life. He cannot be classified as a 'Christian', and he did not do that himself. (talk) 20:29, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

See: Edward Said: Secular Protestant. By Mark Walhout. Christianity Today. Published September 1, 2001.

If a person can be a secular non-believing Jew, and gain entry to Israel based on that fact, then I think it's more than fair to foreground Said's Christianity. For one thing, the persecution of the Palestinian is the persecution by Jews of Christians, whose world was destroyed in 1948. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:40, 25 August 2011 (UTC)

Eh, written in anger? Christianity does not have an ethnic dimension in the way that Jewishness does. You'll also find that Christians, rather than being persecuted by Jews, enjoy unprecedented religious freedom in Israel - in marked contrast to their treatment in muslim-controlled countries. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:44, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

W. J. T. Mitchell[edit]

A recent edit attempted to add W. J. T. Mitchell to the "influenced" section; I'd add it but I'm worried that would be consider original research. But for that matter, under what reasoning are all the other names there? Soap 23:27, 14 September 2010 (UTC)

Early years[edit]

This is an inaccurate section. Andycarr78 (talk) 17:06, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

If you think that it is inaccurate, please detail supposed inaccuracies so that they can be studied and if necessary rectified. The link you provide is totally irrelevant. RolandR (talk) 21:03, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

This section needs serious work. It is less about Said than about a conversation about him and is generally a tough slog in terms of readability. (Clairemont (talk) 07:16, 25 August 2012 (UTC))

The material based on the Weiner polemic is totally inappropriate for that section. This section should be based on factual reports not a screed written by an ideological opponent of Said attacking his "honesty as a public intellectual". If the Weiner polemic, rebuttal and counter rebuttal is notable to the article it should be in the appropriate section - criticism. Dlv999 (talk) 14:02, 13 October 2012 (UTC)
I think you should check what the what the word *polemic* means, there is nothing polemic about Weiner's comments. Also I noticed you took out the fact that Said office was in Jordan and Weiner being an Israeli was unable to interview him so he sent his assistant who is a Catholic to interview him. Why?

BernardZ (talk) 09:07, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

Perhaps "diatribe" per Amos Elon or "essay of extraordinary spite and mendacity" per Christopher Hitchens would have been more apt. In any case, the claim of the alleged catholic interviewer of Said was removed because it was not sourced. If you have an RS that supports the claim you are welcome to re-add it with an appropriate inline citation. Dlv999 (talk) 09:55, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
Clearly you have not even read Weiner's article, I think you will find that he is an extremely accurate.

BernardZ (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 13:05, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

The quote and reference refer to an interview with Robert Said, not Edward Said, the topic of this article and the person discussed in the text. (Edit summary was incomplete due to inadvertently hitting enter when typing, I also change the heading of the section per WP:NPOV) Dlv999 (talk) 14:09, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

Character assassination[edit]

When Mr. Weiner resorted to personal attacks against Alon and Hitchens he demonstrated that character assassination was his purpose; therefore, the matter is moot. De mortuis nihil nisi bonum. Really, mate!


Mhazard9 (talk) 20:07, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

Character assasination redux

The Trouble with Quibbles

Edward Saïd had a human birth, not an Athenian birth, therefore, he, an infant, did not write his birth certificate, and thus did not list a Cairo residential address in that document . . . so . . . he did not lie about where his mother underwent parturition. He did attend the St George Academy of Jerusalem, whether or not he did so as either a FULL-TIME or as a PART-TIME student is a quibble especially unimportant, because other alumni recalled having seen him smoking cigarettes in the latrine. I do not know in which stall, nor do I know the brand of cigarettes; maybe it was the same brand of cigarettes as me . . . gosh, I really don't know. In the Big Picture of the things he explained, does it matter? I think not.

That Edward Saïd exaggerated was well known, that he lied, was unproved and remains unproven, yet, despite his humanity — foibles, defects, dandified grooming — the intellectual validity of his works remains faithful, true, and accurate to the facts as they exist in Palestine, Israel, the post-colonial world, and the academic world.

I respectfully recommend that you participate without an anonymous mask, show your Editorial Face, intellectual–editorial jousting is fun combat. Do not invest your emotions to the subject, choose to be dispassionate; difficult, but satisfying; stand by your contributions.


Mhazard9 (talk) 15:37, 28 October 2012 (UTC)

Controversies: Character Assassination[edit]

Referring to Justus Weiner's criticism of Said's biographical assertions as "character assasination," and attributing motivations like a "desire to undermine" Said's political activism to him are not the kind of objective journalistic tone that an encyclopedia entry should have.

Perhaps the article should have a neutrality disputed tag added?

Kamandi — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:45, 15 November 2012 (UTC)

That anyone can look at the pathetic criticism section and deem this article "neutral" is beyond laughable. Someone actually subheaded a portion of the criticism "Character assassination". Character assassination? Give me a fu**ing break. Does pointing out that Rigoberta Menchu is a liar constitute character assassination as well? Moreover, the assertion that a particular subject is "moot", as stated by another commenter, because Christopher Hitchens says Weiner committed character assassination is, in a word, ludicrous. Who knew that the word of Christopher Hitchens was infallible; he must have been some sort of secular pope. Pointing out that Said manufactured some parts of his biography, a fact disputed only by his most worshipful sycophants, is not character assassination designed to "undermine" Said. Chalk this entry up as another hopelessly biased piece of garbage that renders Wikipedia completely irrelevant and worthless as a reference.
Almost as bad as the asinine "Character Assassination" subheading is the hilariously venerational "The intellectual in action" subheading in another section of this "encyclopedic" entry. Perhaps next to that section the editor can include a photo of the Edward Said shrine he maintains at his(the editor's) house. (talk) 01:34, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
While I indeed cannot think highly of Weiner's criticism (at least based on what I heard and read so far), WP cannot and should not take sides but report: 1. what the criticism is, 2. what responses it got (i.e. reporting counter-criticism without endorsing them), 3. what the original critic said to that, and 4. what the subject said about it. I have changed that section accordingly.
What the section (and the entire article) does not need is endorsing headlines or sub-headlines, constant eulogising of the subject and repetitive bloomers (the section had Said's "integrity and intellectual honesty impugned" three times.
Str1977 (talk) 19:48, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

Mariam Saïd (née Cortas)[edit]

Currently, the name "Mariam Saïd (née Cortas)" appears twice: both as Said's mother and as his wife/widow. Is this a strange coincidence or is one of the names wrong? Str1977 (talk) 19:48, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

further reading[edit]

Hi, the 'further reading' section has got a lot shorter from March 13 onwards. Why? U.K.L. — Preceding unsigned comment added by UKLonWikiLa (talkcontribs) 15:38, 17 March 2013 (UTC)

Whitewash of Edward Said[edit]

This article is such an extreme whitewash of Edward Said that it reads like a paraody. Even the section supposedly offering an alternative point of view ("Personal Criticism") is not an attack upon Said - it is an attack (in absurd language) upon the critics of Edward Sard.

Edward Said was a liar. He lied about "orientalism" - pretending that "orientalists" were terrible Western attackers of oriental cultures, when they actually were defenders of these cultures as worthy of study. And Edward Said lied about his own life - pretending that his family were persecuted by Jews when they were acutally persecuted by Egyption Muslims.

Edward Said's life (his role in the cultrual Marxist project of "anti Imperialism", his connection to Barack Obama and....) could be an interesting subject for an article. But I do not expect to see such a factual article in the establishment leftist environment that is Wikipedia. (talk) 11:18, 14 May 2013 (UTC)

Said died in 2003, after a long and serious illness, when Obama was still a State Senator. Had he even heard of him? Johnbod (talk) 01:50, 5 June 2013 (UTC)

I agree with this, it a big problem with the wikipedia in general. BernardZ (talk) 03:25, 3 June 2013 (UTC)

To say that a cultural analysis you disagree with is a "lie" shows how little you grasp about academic scholarship. Have you even read Orientalism? Your glib dismissal suggests that you almost certainly have not. And "Cultural Marxism" is a bugbear of extreme right conspiracy theorists (paging Breivik...). If you wish to indulge in them, perhaps there are better fora for that than an encyclopedia. In the future, please use talk pages for more productive, constructive, and specific purposes than petulant rants. And if you wish to contribute, best familiarize yourself with the policy on reliable sources. Sindinero (talk) 06:18, 3 June 2013 (UTC)

A thematically pertinent addendum

Edward Said

Hello Mhazard9. It looks like you are trying to make some improvements in this article, but you and User:BernardZ have been reverting each other. It is best if both of you participate at Talk:Edward Said to discuss the rationale for your changes. I have asked him to join in as well. Thanks, EdJohnston (talk) 02:26, 3 June 2013 (UTC)


Dear Ed Johnston,

I agree, however, Mr. Bernard Z. is a (paid?) lobbyist-editor; his edit history is almost exclusively composed of deletions of anything critical of Israel; oy vey, what a thin skin! His insistence upon playing the "I just don't like it" game ("I WANT PROOF!) confirms this; review the Edward Saïd edit history. Especially in the personal criticism sub-section, Character Assassination, Mr. Bernard Z insists on deleting the substantiated topic sentence, derived from the text it introduces, which is supported with the sources he and the Editor Davidiad, another Israel lobbysist-editor, demanded that I provide for them. . . .

So, despite my having done their editorial work for them, they insist with the "I just don't like it" nonsense; thus, in good faith, I have restored the substantiated text, which was rated as a Good Article by disinterested editors. Personally, I think that the Character Assassination sub-section is irrelevant to Edward Saïd's biography and to the subject of Orientalism, because, IN REAL LIFE Counsellor Weiner's character-assassination claims proved untrue; thus my earlier recommendation of "a diligent reading" of the JOURNALISM sources — easy reading, especially for lobbyists.

In think, that, despite my having done the editorial work on that sub-section, its presence constitutes UNDUE WEIGHT to a very minor quibble, by a two-bit nobody-lawyer who has (since the late 1990s, when this "controversial" matter was "news") remained a two-bit schmoe. If you disbelieve me, review the discussion in the JUSTUS WEINER article; besides being briefly famous (for 14.99 mins.) for attacking the family of Edward Saïd, Weiner is inconsequential in Wikipedia, the U.S., and the world. Still, I shall restore the substantiated text, which faithfully, truthfully, and accurately depicts the falsity of Mr. Weiner and his claims.

Because Mr. Bernard Z is grinding an ideologic axe against Edward Saïd, witness his vandalism of substantiated text, he and I are engaged in a typically petty edit-war about his reactionary misrepresentation of an historical reality external to Wikipedia. Bernard Z's factual misrepresentations correspond with the misrepresentations of Justus Weiner, who, in turn, discredited himself almost twenty years ago.

Most recently, the Editor Sindinero recommended to Bernard Z that he should participate with FACTS; I agree with the recommendation. Meantime, I have restored the substantiated text of the Character Assassination sub-section, because it is faithful, true, and accurate to the biographic facts of the dead Edward Saĩd.

Moreover, I shall post this communication about the Edward Said biography to that Talk page.

Let me know.

Best regards,

Mhazard9 (talk) 18:06, 3 June 2013 (UTC)

I had to read this book and i can testify of its anti-intellectualism and contrafactual claims — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A02:8388:8600:B080:616C:D12:E98F:92DD (talk) 01:46, 13 April 2016 (UTC) ---


Does anyone have any sources at all that would support spelling Said's name "Saïd"? I've never seen this orthography used on a single work by Said; unless there is a good reason to do otherwise, these should be changed back to "Said" throughout this article. Sindinero (talk) 18:06, 14 May 2013 (UTC)


The spelling of the man's name is such.


Mhazard9 (talk) 21:44, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

Do you have a source for that? If not, it needs to be changed back. I've read several of Said's works, and not a single copy I've ever seen has that spelling. Best, Sindinero (talk) 01:46, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
After waiting a full week, I've changed the spelling of his name back to "Said" throughout. In the interests of the best possible faith, I did searches (MLA bibliography search, google scholar,, and from everything I can tell, his name is never spelled "Saïd". His own books don't use that diacritical mark, nor do, apparently, any articles or works about him. Sindinero (talk) 20:26, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

Character assassination[edit]

Whatever Weiner's motivations, we're not going to speculate on it beyond what the sources say--and we are certainly not going to call a section "character assassination". Drmies (talk) 23:15, 4 June 2013 (UTC)

In all honesty I think the section is overblown, hardly merits a footnote in the overall biography of the man. Although it is difficult to see how to cut down the section while maintaining WP:NPOV within the section itself. i.e. explaining Weiner's charges, but then giving more weight to the refutation of his claims given that they were more widely made numerous people in various publications. Dlv999 (talk) 18:22, 6 June 2013 (UTC)
I agree, and thanks for your tweak. I'm going to try and trim it without removing it altogether--it is of some note, though it doesn't warrant this much space. Drmies (talk) 20:06, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

Reference system and other notes on overhaul[edit]

To whip this article back into shape, proper referencing is key. I'm no expert, but a system with a bibliography for books and regular footnotes for articles and websites is an easy enough thing to do, and it's a lot cleaner than the current situation. If anyone wants to jump to start using sfn or fancy stuff like that, they're welcome--for now I'm going to make a start by building a bibliography. Drmies (talk) 00:11, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

  • On a related note, I've done about as much pruning as I think needs to be done (though the lead is still a tag long). Now it's time to expand. His "Career" section is lamentably short, for instance, and I think all the references need to be tweaked, checked, and probably improved. I noted, for instance, a ton of books cited without page numbers, and various sections show evidence of a bit of plugging. Please help any way you can. For now, I've introduced a slightly modified system of reference using the regular book and news templates. Drmies (talk) 20:09, 6 June 2013 (UTC)
    • I think you mean "a tad long", not "a tag long". (talk) 00:28, 25 April 2014 (UTC)


According to the article, Said died in 2003. However, the music section has him publishing books in 2006 and 2007. Could someone please look into this? (talk) 11:23, 21 August 2013 (UTC)


This strikes me as biased, especially the wording of this. It seems to be cherrypicking of random unsubstantiated complaints. Thoughts anyone?

"Said felt the consequences of being a politically-militant, public intellectual in 1985: per Said, the Jewish Defense League compared Said to a Nazi because of his anti-Zionism; an arsonist set afire his office at Columbia University; he and his family were repeatedly targeted with death threats."

--Bobjohnson111980 (talk) 19:09, 24 February 2014 (UTC)


I think it's going too far to say that Said "redefined" the word, "orientalism". It would be more sensible to say that he used it a certain way. How else it might be used is hard to imagine. (talk) 00:24, 25 April 2014 (UTC)

Why is nothing here of his lie of his personal history ???[edit]

The article in the commentary stirred up much interest and destroyed his credibility.

Also why nothing about the doubts that many professional historians have on his writings, for example Paul Johnson, called Said a “malevolent liar and propagandist, who has been responsible for more harm than any other intellectual of his generation.”

BernardZ (talk)


Why is the introduction five paragraphs? I can't figure out which part is not important enough to introduce readers. --George Ho (talk) 03:56, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

4 paras isn't actually a rule, but this one is too wordy and discursive I think (goes with the territory I dare say). I'd rather see the actual biographical summary in one place, and the rest trimmed a bit, or stuff moved to sections. 4 & 5 could be merged. Johnbod (talk) 04:02, 13 May 2016 (UTC)
I eliminated one paragraph break. You can do a better job trimming it and copy editing it than I can, right? George Ho (talk) 04:08, 13 May 2016 (UTC)
A concise introduction

I see what you mean, it is too long and detailed for an introduction. I shall give it a go.

Chas. Caltrop (talk) 13:01, 2 August 2016 (UTC)

Edit 1 of the biographic-article introduction.

I copy-edited the introduction to three paragraphs, about the academic, the public intellectual, and the politician. The off-topic text was boosterism (ethnic, national) and POV-pushing filler against the veracity of Said, himself, and of Orientalism, the book and the subject.

Furthermore, I think that the subsection "Criticism of Orientalism" should be deleted from this biography page, as irrelevant (to a biography) and redundant (all of it already is in the Orientalism page, verbatim), which duplication renders the subsection as POV-pushing; a re-direct link, to the criticism section of the Orientalism book page would suffice, in this biography page. I shall proceed to that. Let me know.


Chas. Caltrop (talk) 15:16, 2 August 2016 (UTC)

@Chas. Caltrop: The lead needed some pruning, but I don't agree with all your choices. Per WP:LEAD, the lead should be a proportional reflection of the article's contents. Much of the article is devoted to the debates around Orientialism, which have been excised from the lead, while the enumeration of influences that remains is not a prominent part of the article. It also doesn't seem to be properly sourced, and parts of it strike me as dubious (e.g., IIRC, Conrad is mentioned only a couple of times in the book and hardly in relation to any "analytical model"). Eperoton (talk) 16:08, 2 August 2016 (UTC)

I agree with you, User:Eperoton, however, this is the biography of Edward Said, the author of the book Orientalism, yet, almost one-third of the text of this biographic article is complaints about the book — which has its own page, which reproduces all of the book-chat criticism present here. Moreover, the text I deleted from the lead, again, almost one-third of the introduction, consisted of book-chat complaints irrelevant to the biography, which is why another editor tagged it for factual correction. What do you think about such an imbalance? I think that such a textual imbalance in the Introduction to a biography, is POV-pushing, because all that text (not about the man) already is explicitly discussed in the book's page, Orientalism, where a full discussion of a book is relevant; here, the book-chat imbalances the biography, and comes across as axe-grinding by his enemies.

I propose to summarise the book-chat as a small part, not one-third, of this biographical article, and redirect the reader to the book page for full discussion. Would you agree or disagree with this proposal?

Also, please be specific, because: "It doesn't seem to be properly sourced" is too vague. What do you mean to say? Specific examples of factual problems (section, subsection, paragraph, line, and sentence) will facilitate our collaboration, because I have not touched the sources, so you must specify where you found a factual problem.


Chas. Caltrop (talk) 17:06, 2 August 2016 (UTC)

@Chas. Caltrop: I agree, this article has serious balance issues. I've checked a couple of encyclopedic entries on Said. In A Dictionary of Critical Theory (Oxford) criticism of Orientialism (the book) takes 3% by word count. In The Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers (Continuum/Oxford) it's 5%. Even in the NYT obituary, which The Cambridge Introduction to Edward Said holds up as exibit A of unsympathetic treatment it's only 9% of the total. That said, summarizing notable controversies is a stated guideline of WP:LEAD, so it should be mentioned.
On the sourcing issue, I've poked at three passages discussing Said's influences (just searching on "Derrida"), and they all turned out to be OR with citations that don't support the statements. I especially like how a summary of Orientalism is sourced by a 1962 book (ref 44). I'll be removing those. Eperoton (talk) 04:02, 3 August 2016 (UTC)
Reply to Eperoton

I concur, let us soldier on, and chat accordingly.


Chas. Caltrop (talk) 04:16, 3 August 2016 (UTC)


I'm just clarifying some questions about Edward Said. I hope to learn some things in the process. I had taken out the bolded mention of Said's full name in the body. I cited WP:LASTNAME (which says to use the full name on the first mention - which is in the lead - and only the last name subsequently, unless there's some reason to suspect that confusion would result from doing that). I also think that MOS:BOLD is pretty clear (after describing the use of bold in the lead or to redirects to specific sections, it says, "Use boldface in the remainder of the article only in a few special cases.") I'm thinking that it's redundant to describe a polyglot who speaks three languages, just like it wouldn't be necessary to characterize someone as a bilingual individual who speaks English and Spanish.

These seemed like straightforward changes, and I would usually make them without a second thought (or would suggest them to an editor during a Good Article review - which this article has already passed). I figure that most people don't revert changes just for fun, so I must be failing to consider one or more points with these edits. Can you let me know what those are? I appreciate it - and your work to keep one of our Good Articles up to standard. EricEnfermero (Talk) 21:42, 2 August 2016 (UTC)

Reply to EricEnfermero,

Yes, but, as you pointed out: it is optional (one or the other), and I exercised that option as a common sense, formal beginning to the biography. The Introduction (the lead, in newspaper jargon) is separate and apart from the biography proper. Without the Introduction, the biography article should be complete, in itself, therefore the full name of the subject is indicated; after all, Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a newspaper, so, spelling out the facts is the norm in encyclopedic writing. You need not believe me, fetch a newspaper or a magazine and compare that loose language (filler between adverts) to the Standard language of an encyclopedia article; thus, our war of reverts was for nought.

Moreover, in real life, parents usually do not address their child by surname, usually by name: Baby Edward or Baby Said? Common sense trumps the rulebook, it is in the MOS explanations. Therefore, in my experience, the changes, from a full name to a surname, tend to be edit-war provocations in behalf of a third party (usually an important Somebody with a public image to protect); your editorial contributions history supports my opinion. As you might know or might not know, the Wikipedia MOS recommends editorial common sense in producing an article, rather than the martinet’s supremacy of the rules over reality: the factual content of the biography of Edward W. Said.

If you are legitimately interested, follow up.


Chas. Caltrop (talk) 22:54, 2 August 2016 (UTC)

MOS:BOLD says bold is optional in the lead, not in the body. Common sense may mean different things to different people, but I consider it logical that Wikipedia editors wouldn't have gone through the hassle of creating such detailed guidelines unless they should generally be followed. We are not parents addressing children, and even parents don't address their children by full name most of the time.
I categorically deny editing on behalf of third parties, and I regret that my contributions lead anyone to believe that this is a norm on Wikipedia.
I apologize for posting this on your talk page. I usually post issues of this type on the article's talk page myself, but I was fairly certain that these were issues specific to one editor. Though I've worked with a lot of editors here, most of whom I would consider to have common sense, I couldn't think of anyone else that would object to my edits.
I'm not planning to violate the three-revert rule here. I try to help, but I can recognize when I'm not being perceived as helpful to the users who are most active on a particular article. EricEnfermero (Talk) 00:24, 3 August 2016 (UTC)
Follow-up reply

I must clarify an unintentional ambiguity that might have lead you to conflate my topics. You, EricEnfermero, I believe, are not acting in behalf of any third party, I meant other, regular-orbit trolls in the pages I edit. Yet, your contributions indicate that you know the difference, between encyclopaedic writing and journalistic writing styles. The differences between the initial sentences, Edward W. Said was born to. . . . and Said was born to. . . . are obvious, thus, the reference to infant names.

There is nothing to regret, such quarrels are the norm in the editorial-part of publishing. An objective eye always is welcome.


Chas. Caltrop (talk) 02:25, 3 August 2016 (UTC)

Lewis-Said controversy[edit]

@Nishidani: To the extent that we want to cover the Lewis-Said spat, which is a notable controversy, in the Criticism of Orientalism section, it should be a NPOV representation of Lewis' criticism of Orientalism and a NPOV representation of Said's criticism of Lewis or of his response to Lewis. What we have now is one sentence and quote for Said's criticism of Lewis, followed by a paragraph summarizing Said's criticism of Lewis' response, followed by one sentence noting Said's criticism of Lewis again and mentioning that Lewis wrote some essays about it. There's some unintentional comedy here. If we want to keep Said's quote about Lewis, Lewis needs to get at least one statement in of his own. A good candidate is the one chosen in the NYT obituary of Said: "The tragedy of Mr. Said's `Orientalism' [...] is that it takes a genuine problem of real importance and reduces it to the level of political polemic and personal abuse." We can't use Said's characterization of Lewis' view as a stand-in for Lewis' view, since it's obviously not a NPOV account. Eperoton (talk) 21:58, 3 August 2016 (UTC)

This is a tricky one, I'll admit, but the page is about Said, so it is natural that his views get more detail than those of his critics.
The first thing I noted in examining your edit was that, while the point you made was legitimate, it looked in context, i.e. the whole section, as though (surely not intended) Said was a loner ranting against a community of experts, and that was my primary worry. I counted the long list of names of those distinguished scholars who said his theory had a bad impact or was deeply flawed: Albert Hourani, Robert Graham Irwin, Nikki Keddie, Kanan Makiya, then Maxime Rodinson, Jacques Berque, Malcolm H. Kerr, Aijaz Ahmad, William Montgomery Watt.
I then noted that half the line up gets as guernsey at the outset of the section, and half rounds it off. Your edit unfortunately, for me, appeared to consolidate the neat design: as it then stood, in sandwich-fashion, he was dismissed, allowed to making a crack about Lewis, and then dismissed again. So my impression was that (a) the NPOV problem remained (v) though the focus on Lewis was WP:Undue, so I did a précis of the latter, while retaining its essence because what he says there would represent his overall response to the others (they are wittingly or not, exercising a hermeneutic privilege to emphasize the genius of the West's scholarship at the expense of the silent object under study, in a geopolitical context that was and still is toxic.
WP:COI. I didn't like his book, I even criticized it at the time. I was pissed off by his attack on Ernest Gellner over a decade later. I wasn't impressed by the huge wash of toady PhD graduates going to print mechanically using his rhetoric to earn a name or invite to the next 'critical' conference. But this is an article about Said, and it seems to me proper that, against the prestigious avalanche of big names thrown at him, he be given his posthumous right to take on at least one of the big guns, even if concisely.Nishidani (talk) 06:21, 4 August 2016 (UTC)
@Nishidani: I agree with you in not being enamored with the result of my abridgement. I also agree with the general tenor of the first sentence in your reply, though not with its prescriptive interpretation. The balancing considerations of NPOV apply to the article as a whole and to the lead in miniature, but not in a fractal manner to article's contents. That is to say, not every section has to include every type of view. It seems odd to say that Said's opinions aren't presented in enough detail when the preceding section is devoted to them exclusively, or that Said comes out as a "loner" in light of the following section. The criticism section has diverged very far from NPOV, and this is coming from a guy who put a Said quote on his user page. After the last edit it arguably doesn't contain any NPOV coverage of criticism at all. The first quote isn't so much criticism of the book as commentary on its cultural impact, and the rest is criticism of criticism. Constructing a NPOV summary from primary sources is sometimes the best available option, but it necessarily involves OR. In this case, we have the option of basing this section on a third-party discussion in The Cambridge Introduction to Edward Said, which should be an uncontroversial source. The Reception chapter (which is also a better section title than "criticism" in case of a book) has several pages devoted to Orientalism. I don't know what it says yet, but I will read and summarize it for the article shortly, trying to preserve the current size of the section. Eperoton (talk) 20:20, 4 August 2016 (UTC)
I must admit I examined your edit without rereading the whole page. What you say makes sense. Concision is certainly a virtue. I'm happy to see the page is in good hands. I have a major work in publication to copyedit for the next few days, but will try to reread the whole page and help out. Regards. Nishidani (talk) 20:46, 4 August 2016 (UTC)