March 10, 2009
An excellent chronological documentary of The Rushdie affair is on the iPlayer. History is a great teacher and in the case of this doco, and the recent stuff the BBC have gathered about Iran facts arranged in order are enlightening in themselves.
I somehow got round to reading The Satanic verses in India, where the book is banned. I can't remember if someone lent it to me or if I bought it under the counter in Pushkar. In my long tradition now of refusing to take a standpoint, I wont take a standpoint on the Rushdie affair either. Yes I agree with freedom of speech, yet if I was a politician in India where riots are spontaneous, dangerous and regular occurances it would be very hard to think the publishing of a book to be worth some random strangers life.
As a work of fiction, the Satanic verses is one of the best stories I have read. It is rooted in the imagination. A truly psychedelic tale. I totally missed the prostitutes dressing as the prophets wives until I was involved in a discussion about all this on Pickled Politics somewhere and someone said
"Muslims take the prophets wives to be their own mothers. How would you feel if someone called your mother a whore?"
Hmmm.. You're mother's a whore is a common playground insult isn't it. In a squat I lived in around 94 a friend of mine launched himself at another random squatter who kept saying "You're mothers a whore". I thought this hilarious. I had absolutely no sympathy for either of them. I didn't have that good a time in the playground growing up either. I am not going back there for anyone.
When I see Rushdie speak I don't warm to him, in a way that I do to Hanif Kureshi talking about smoking dope in front of Rushdie's secret service protectors at their dinner parties for instance. More irksome is the jealousy I probably feel to Rushdie for the type of dolly birds he attracts. He's an ugly fucker what the story? Is he in league with Satan or something?