7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
A century ago, an Orientalist would have been a European savant who had deeply studied the cultures of Asia and North Africa. Since 1978 or so, an Orientalist is now a European bigot with a load of misconceptions about the Islamic (or, as Boone puts it, the "Islamicate") world. I am an elderly gay man who lived in Morocco in the 1960s, so this world is not simply something that I have read about, it is something that I experienced -- and no, not as a sex tourist. I am very widely read, and yet Boone taught me a thing or two. He has certainly done his homework, and he cast his nets wide. So far, so good; but I am no friend of academic jargon or of trendy leftism. Here Boone and I part ways. I don't like people who use silly words like "heteronormativity." I have no use for feminism or Queer Theory. I don't believe in equality of any sort. I think that Gerome's painting 'The Snake Charmer' is a masterpiece and not something to dissect or complain about. There is the usual padding of the text with surplus wordage, a common fault among people who write 250-page books and then fatten them up like geese until they reach 500 pages. A book is all the better for being lean and mean. I liked the section on Safavid miniatures, but what has this to do with Orientalism? The black-and-white pictures tended to be difficult to examine. Oh, and Thesiger wrote to me long ago and ranted about how much he despised gay men. The Suaid boy whose picture graces page 391 was in fact a skilled dancer and catamite, as one might glean from Thesiger's 'Marsh Arabs' but Boone missed this one.