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28 June 2010

Mitwegsein

This is quite amusing. I've googled "Mitwegsein" and found just a few references, all connected with Spivak. Here she is, talking, purportedly, about Edward Said:

I think he often thought I was a fool, to be so persuaded by "theory." His stand, as president of the Modern Language Association, against pretentious and obscure language was against me as well. I think I tried his patience precisely because he cared. I sat next to him on the plane coming back from the Chicago MLA, where he had excoriated unnamed but easily recognizable persons who wrote fatuously obscure books. I asked him why he had so trashed me at the MLA; it was transparent. He said, altogether unconvincingly, and he knew it as he said it, that it wasn't about me - and he named an eminent "French-feminist." And he was amused by my on-the-ground political commitments that had to be different from his, for they were "post"-colonial. "The first critic of the state of Palestine," I had heard him say in 1981. My idea of practical usefulness - I was no stateswoman - was to show the state the usefulness of a different kind of teacher training for the largest sector of the electorate. It seemed such a difficult project, so different from most literacy or science efforts, that I kept quiet about this for the first ten years or so and finally opened my mouth by a happenstance that I will describe in my memoirs. So, anyway, when Edward would ask, "Gayatri, what do you do when you go to those villages?" I would give the usual answer, "Hang out" (Mitwegsein, suspend previous training in order to train yourself, you know). The answer was not satisfactory.

This really is dreadful writing.

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