Salman Rushdie defends fellow writer Michel Houellebecq,
October 4, 2002 11:42 PM   Subscribe

Salman Rushdie defends fellow writer Michel Houellebecq, the autonomy of the literary text and its right to be considered on its own terms with characters of every sort.
posted by semmi (18 comments total)

No one cares.

S.R. Is pretty cool, though. I should buy some of his books.
posted by delmoi at 2:09 AM on October 5, 2002

No one cares.

Speak for yourself, delmoi.

I stand up for Rushdie and Houellebecq (excruciatingly spelled stage-name), and all others who stand for freedom of speech and thought against crazy totalitarian Islamists.

John Derbyshire has some thoughts on this matter as well.
posted by hama7 at 2:48 AM on October 5, 2002


No one cares.

Is this our new *yawn* equivalent?
posted by adampsyche at 3:15 AM on October 5, 2002

John Derbyshire has some thoughts

Now that's patently untrue. He's never had a thought in his life, judging from his output.
posted by riviera at 4:54 AM on October 5, 2002

Hrm. I was mearly commenting on the fact that although it had been up for 3 hours, not a single person had commented.

I find it quite intresting, myself.

Now that's patently untrue. He's never had a thought in his life, judging from his output.

Actualy, reading the linked artical, he seems to have quite a few thoughts. He just dosn't bother to filter out 99% of which are totally pointless from his writing.
posted by delmoi at 5:53 AM on October 5, 2002

Sal-man is my main man.

I'm sorry, I'm not usually such a moron†


posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:16 AM on October 5, 2002

It's like an empty stadium in here. And terribly cold.

Were it not for statements like these:

He's never had a thought in his life, judging from his output.

I would never know that the level of discourse is this close to absolute shit.

Thanks for affirming my suspicions.

Yer Ma wears combat boots too.
posted by hama7 at 6:30 AM on October 5, 2002


if you can read Spanish (for educational purposes only, blah blah blah...) here's the masterful Paul Auster old NYT piece, "A Prayer for Salman Rushdie"
posted by matteo at 6:35 AM on October 5, 2002

The Ground Beneath Her Feet is excellent (it marries the rhythms of his writing with musicians and music as one of the subjects).

I find it weird and a little sad that Rushdie is the only go-to guy whenever anyone is accused by the islamic clergy of anything. Couldn't the editors have even tried to find someone who would put a new spin on it?
posted by amberglow at 6:36 AM on October 5, 2002

Sadly matteo, my ill-gotten Spanish, never used for much more than drunken conviviality, is rustier than a really rusty thing, but Babelfish filled in the blanks.

"La frustración aumenta; la desesperación aparece; pero dado que no tengo el poder ni la influencia para afectar las decisiones de los gobiernos extranjeros, lo único que me resta es rezar por él. Lleva la carga por todos nosotros, y no puedo pensar en lo que hago sin pensar a la vez en él. Su apuro ha capturado mi concentración, me ha hecho reexaminar mis creencias, me ha enseñado a nunca tomar la libertad que tengo como garantía. Por todo ello, tengo con él una inmensa deuda de gratitud."


Thanks for the link.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:47 AM on October 5, 2002

Groovy. Now let's see him stick up for Jerry Falwell.
posted by alumshubby at 7:41 AM on October 5, 2002

riviera, try not to be such an obvious Stalinist.
posted by dhartung at 9:11 AM on October 5, 2002

It's quite sad that in the 21st century France is having what amounts to a blasphemy trial. I've been a fan of Houellebecq ever since I read Emily Eakin's profile of him (in which he makes several feeble attempts of covincing her to have sex with him). I'd recommend The Elementary Particles to anyone, the rants against baby boomers are quite innovative and hilairous. I've never had so much fun reading something so bitter and hate filled.

His writing sort of reminds me of Bret Easton Ellis, without the morality and restraint.

Strangely, his writing has caused so much excitement and controversey in France, but has hardly made a ripple in North America (I would imagine that there are huge discussions about him over on French weblogs). I suppose authors are always more controversial in the countries they come from. I find it quite funny that he is a French author living in self imposed exile in Ireland, (the opposite of Joyce and Beckett).

And his website is quite nice.
posted by bobo123 at 11:45 AM on October 5, 2002

Rushdie was interviewed by Salon and UpClose this week.
posted by homunculus at 12:16 PM on October 5, 2002

I've always thought Houellebecq was grossly overrated as a novelist (maybe something's lost in the translation from French to English), and his absurd generalizations about Islam make him look like a jerk. But you'd think in a free society, this would hardly be considered a crime.

My understanding is that France's free speech protections don't cover "racist" comments. Free speech protections that don't cover "racist" remarks are the weakest sort of protections. Any sort of unpopular opinion is quickly stifled when people cry racism. I don't like what you are saying, so you are a racist. That type of thinking is just as disgusting as Houellebecq's comments, and I hope the French courts think so, too.
posted by TBoneMcCool at 1:43 PM on October 5, 2002

TBoneMcCool: Well said.

To voice an offensive opinion is rude and unkind. It should not, however, be illegal.

What's more, one does one's cause an enormous disservice when one uses the courts in place of a rebuttal. It is saying, in effect, "Rather than point out the flaws in what you say, I will simply demand that you not be permitted to say it." It weakens their cause instead of strengthening it.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:25 PM on October 5, 2002

My Freshman Writing Seminar at a US University reads "Elementary Particles", so he's not *entirely* undiscussed.

On another note, are the Canadian Customs allowing his book into the country?
posted by Kevs at 4:36 PM on October 5, 2002

Thanks homunculus and bobo123, interesting links.
posted by semmi at 9:53 PM on October 5, 2002

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