From his book Hitch-22:
And that was just the hacks. A few days later came a more considered piece by the cultivated jonathan Raban, deploying almost faultlessly the wrinkled lip across which he and his fellow members of the Anglo-American bien-pensant classes viewed the deplorable crudity of the U.S. of A.:Really? He defended (and apparently was friends with) Paul Wolfowitz? The criminal Wolfowitz? Where to begin? How about we just end with Booie the smoking chimp. True, he kicked the bad habit, but it might have been too late. He died around the same time as Hitchens.
Passionate ideologues are incurious by nature and have no time for
obstructive details. lt's impossible to think of Paul Wolfwitz curling up
for the evening with Edward Said`s Oreintalism, or the novels
of Naguib Mahfouz, or The Pillars of Wisdom, or the letters of
Gertrude Bell, or the recently published, knotty, opaque but useful
book by Lawrence Rosen The Culture of Islam, based on Rosen's
anthropological work . . .
Made perhaps unintentionally absurd by that use of the expression "curled up” to depict the act of reading ("You'll usually find me,” says Bertie Wooster to Florence Craye in Thank You, Jeeves, "curled up with Spinoza's latest"), Raban's Guardian effusion became ever more vulnerable to ridicule as he began to discourse knowingly on the “body” of the Islamic ummah or “community” as if it were a passive female form capable of violation, for all the world as if Saddam Hussein had never invaded and tried to amputate andsubjugate the two Muslim states of Iran and Kuwait, besides repeatedly raping and torturing and disfiguring his "own" captive nation. In point of fact, Paul Wolfowitz wrote his doctoral dissertation on water and salinity in the Arab world, has lived for many years with an Arab woman scholar with close connections to Palestinian reformers, speaks more Arabic than jonathan Raban. was married previously to an anthropologist with a special interest in the Muslim societies of Malaysia and Indonesia, was himself a diplomat in Jakarta and speaks some of the Bahasa language, too. and once telephoned me to disagree with a detail in something I had written about the lndonesian novelist Prarnoedya Ananta Toer. Wolfowitz was for many years the dean of a major school of Johns Hopkins University and is thanked by name in the acknowledgments of Azar Nalisi's brave beautiful book Reading Lolita in Terhan: a study of the relations between literature, sexuality, and power under Muslim theocracy that can stand comparison to anything written by Edward Said or even Naguib Mahfouz. If anyone was being colonial or "orientalist" here it was Jonathan Raban, a most refined Englishman who didn't believe that a mere Yank could know anything about the exotic latitudes where only travel writers like himself were authorized to trend. But his tone of infuriated condescension was vastly prelerable to the way in which the BBC's on-air bookers and interviewers, telephoning me as if to make sure they couldn't be accused of undue bias, would flatly and simply decline to pronounce Paul Wolfowitz;s name correctly. "Volfervitz," they would say, putting a sinister top-spin on it.