Thursday, January 29, 2015

From Rushdie to Catton

After condemning New Zealand's National government at the recent Jaipur Literary Festival, Eleanor Catton has been called a 'traitor' by talkback radio host Sean Plunkett, and has been the target of a creepily avuncular open letter from National Party psephologist David Farrar.

Like Plunkett, Farrar thinks that Catton ought not to have brought her politics to Jaipur:

We don’t tend to mind criticism at home, but we do get worked up, when people knock their country overseas...Your choice of forum to talk politics is perhaps not the best. A campaign launch is an excellent choice to talk politics. A global literary festival seems rather inappropriate for you to rage against the so called neo-liberal agenda in New Zealand...

If an All Black in 2008 had got up at an international test match and devoted his after match comments to how much he hated the nanny state policies of the then Labour Government, well they would have been criticised greatly also.

Catton became widely known in New Zealand when her novel The Luminaries was awarded the 2012 Man Booker Prize. Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children is perhaps the most famous of all the novels to win the Booker, and there’s an interesting similarity between the responses that the young Rushdie got in the aftermath of his victory in 1981 and the criticism that Catton is copping now.

Midnight’s Children led readers through the modern history of India, and as soon as it took out the Booker Prize Rushdie was being asked for his opinion about the political situation of his homeland. Then as now, Rushdie was not afraid of offering opinions. In an impromptu speech at the dinner where the Booker was awarded, he mocked the Congress Party regime of Indira Gandhi and suggested that she and her diplomatic representatives in London should not try to associate themselves with his success.

Long before he upset Islamic fundamentalists with The Satanic Verses, Rushdie had become a hate figure for the Congress Party and the Indian political establishment. Like Catton, he was condemned as a traitor, because he criticised his country's government in front of foreign audiences.

But Rushdie kept expressing his opinions, whenever he turned up to a book festival or gave an interview, for the same reason that Catton will surely keep expressing her opinions. Despite what Farrar implicitly claims, literature is not some some sort of harmless and meaningless game, like rugby or chess or marbles, that can be pursued and discussed in isolation from the rest of the world. Ever since Aristophanes attacked the political establishment of Athens and Petronious satirised Rome’s ruling class, literature has been a place where the world is examined and judged, and where ideas, including political ideas, contend and quarrel.

Eleanor Catton was invited to the Jaipur festival to discuss the long and ambitious novel she wrote about New Zealand. It is hardly surprising that the festival's organisers and audiences were interested in her opinions about New Zealand society. When he suggests that Catton should have avoided any discussion of her homeland's political and economic situation, and instead offered up some of the cliches and platitudes that dominate speeches at sports awards dinners, David Farrar shows how little he knows about literature and the men and women who produce and read literature. 

New Zealand’s writers have long been critical of their society and its various governments. James K Baxter called New Zealand a ‘sick society’, and Auckland a ‘great arsehole'; RAK Mason denounced this country as a ‘far-pitched place’ where poets had a ‘perilous existence'; Frank Sargeson compared his studies of Kiwi life to reports composed for a sewage board. When they scrutinise and criticise their own society, our writers show loyalty to the critical values nurtured thousands of years ago by scribblers like Aristophanes, and their disloyalty to political elites and their shibboleths.

In 2012 Salman Rushdie was forced to cancel an appearance at the Jaipur festival after his Indian enemies once again denounced him, and eventually threatened violence if he were allowed to take the stage. It is sad that the aftermath of this year's festival has seen prominent and powerful New Zealanders aiming denunciations at one of their own writers.

[Posted by Scott Hamilton]

21 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Farrar thought Bryce Courtenay was a great novelist. http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2012/11/rip_bryce_courtenay.html
Plonker.

7:56 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm.

8:55 am  
Blogger Richard said...

I agree in principle. But Rushdie was unwise or even unprincipled to attack the Mohammedan religion, as were the Charlie 7 people, to mock someone else's religion. I can understand the counter attack against them and the death threats to Rushdie.

Of course Catton shouldn't toady or say stupid things about how wonderful NZ is or feel she has to be an ambassador. But there needs to be more specificity. what exactly, is wrong, or right? She could talk about the housing issues, the high suicide rates, relative poverty, asset sales, environmental problems, social issues and other things. (Many of these and more issues apply to India of course). And many of these social political issues have been with us way before Key was crapping yellow: in fact I think they have been happening, in various degrees, under all the NZ Governments (Labour and National and whatever PMs etc) in various degrees. Some things are perhaps more salient or urgent. These need to be specified. Vague statements about rich men getting richer etc are not enough. Or they are probably o.k. but achieve little.

But of course, whatever, she and others should be free to comment, give their opinions etc.

And she needn't be concerned about comments, or about criticism of her work, which will always happen, for many reasons, some of them simply from jealousy.

She has done well. We can ignore the talk back people, they have their place but it seems to attract nut cases. I remember when Gordon Dryden started talk back. He used to read very widely, he was very good. But then it was increasingly dominated by relatively uneducated journalists, and in some cases they were right wing (John Banks is only one).

Nowadays it is mostly not worth listening to.

I see Arandhati Roy as more sincere than Rushdie. Her political activism and criticisms have put her in quite some danger.

There IS a limit on what one can say though. An attack by comedians on the Mahomet (in these times) invited a violent response and put those who did that in danger, as well as associated people. It is not enough to claim that anyone is "innocent" We are all linked in this human and historical quagmire. Attacking the Moslem religion in that way is insulting and not necessary. Moslems feel that their culture, history and religion are strongly linked perhaps more than Christians.

Roy, though, speaks out continuously against the Indian Government and various state leaders there and "Hinduism Movements" or nationalistic groups. She also took part in big protest over the forced displacement of millions due to dam construction and other issues as well as being outspoken against the US invasions in Iraq etc

However, the danger is that such a person can never allow her or himself to be at peace enough to write anymore. As far as I know she (Roy) has written only 'The God of Small Things' [I know she has written non-fiction (about politics mostly)]

12:39 am  
Anonymous Scott said...

Once you make insulting a religion an offence, though, Richard, you make it very difficult for writers and artists to produce any worthwhile work. It is almost impossible to create a work of art which doesn't offend the sensibilities of some religious sect, somewhere.

You might argue that Charlie Hebdo should have refrained from depicting Mohammed; but merely by depicting human beings, let alone the human being chosen by Allah as his prophet, cartoonists upset the tens of millions of Muslims who hold to the very conservative interpretation of the Koran promoted by Wahabbism. These folks think that to create an image of a human being or animal - whether in a cartoon or painting or sculpture - is to usurp the role of God. Music is, for somewhat similar reasons, a sin.

If we followed your principle and refrain from offending religious folks, then, we'd have to abolish visual art and music.

Many of the greatest works of literature, from Aristophanes' The Frogs to Joyce's Ulysses to The Satanic Verses, satirise religion - and many of them have been banned for doing so. In New Zealand an enormous number of books were once banned on the grounds of their alleged obscenity or subversiveness. Not only moderns like Joyce but classic writers of the past came under fire. Back in 1909, for instance, Auckland cops were busy hunting down copies of Defoe's Moll Flanders.

I'm for absolute freedom of speech and creation, and for the continual baiting of all orthodoxies and dogmas (including the dogmas of the left!).


7:57 am  
Blogger Richard said...

Well my point is that there will never be, and never has been (as it is not a good thing at all) absolute freedom of speech.

But I have read 'The Frogs' and I saw 'Lysistrata' on stage in the 60s as a teenager. The latter is an anti-war play wherein the women refuse sex. Aristophanes was a humorist and was not, as far as I know, attacking religion. He was satirising the writing style, and somewhat verboseness of Euripidies (as he saw it). In those days, as Daniel Mendelsohn the NY classical scholar and film and drama critic points out, the terrible and devisive Peloponnesian war was in full swing. So it can be seen in that context. He also (fairly gently) satirises Socrates's 'sophistry' - who it is reported was amused rather than offended - in 'The Clouds'.

Also, each playwright was strongly fighting for the coveted prize that for drama, so there was quite some rivalry going on.

(And they lost the war to Sparta, and it was thus the beginning of the end of Athens or Greece's high point in terms of culture, science and the arts. So the crit. did them no good!)

I think you overdo this stuff about Aristophanes, but we could ask classical scholars such as Briony Jagger or one Jenner, on their views, as they have probably read the plays in Greek...

I agree as to the value of satire, and perhaps the need for the freedom of it. So I am very keen on the writing of Pope, Swift and others and later Dickens as well as Joyce, influenced by all of those and more.

But Joyce rarely attacks religion as such. His big, and brilliant, satire in 'The Portrait', of the Priest describing hell is well aimed. But there is no attack on Jesus Christ, no direct lampooning of any person. Sure he puts all kinds of people, including his own brother into 'The Dubliners'.

But he would have never satirised (in the crude 'Charlie' way) the Pope. He had a healthy horror of violence (particularly against himself which is why he almost completely ignored WW1) and thus stayed out of Ireland for most of his life, in fear of being killed or injured, and, except really indirectly (and very cleverly) didn't attack any person or image or Saint in Ireland. His terror of things extended to dogs, whom he said, significantly 'that they have no souls' (despite his AVOWED atheism and anti-Catholic - corruption etc): he also was terrified of thunder, he had read of the God Thor. He wasn't ever going to clown around and put his head into the lion's mouth. He was not stupid.

1:29 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Yes the great works satirise religion, but Swift's 'Gulliver's Travels' which I would class as possibly the greatest, talks for example of 'The Big Endians and the Little Endians'...Swift and Pope also satirise the Royal Society and Science. They did mount some personal attacks and there was Swift's attacks on Churchill's grandfather, and the man who wanted to flood Ireland with debased currency. But these writers and Joyce were attacking but not mocking people who had strong beliefs. And in his book, Ulysses, Joyce, I think with terrible callousness, refuses to give comfort, in the way of a Catholic prayer, to his dying mother. This happened in real life and it is in his book. I am not sure if such a man has our respect when it comes to critiques. But indeed his Swiftean or Dickensian satires of (intolerance to Jewish people - Bloom - and his clever satire of corrupt priests, or inane political meetings as in "Ivy Day in the Committee Room" (Dubliners) (he wasn't very impressed by political people) and much else was healthy satire. As was Swift's 'Battle of the Books' and 'A Modest Proposal'.

But there can still be an argument against books or writing or publications that are actually dangerous not only to their writers, but to every one else, as in France. In fact these comics of the Mohammet were really badly and stupidly timed. Their targets might have been more carefully thought out. Personally I think we need more censorship. 'The Life of Brian' I think was meaningless and contributed nothing except to uspet those whose belief was Christian.

These Hebdos, these 7s, might have perhaps attacked Maori, and done a satirical drawing of Te Kooti or whoever, or they might have done something along the lines of those 'Hori' books we used to see, and read ca 1964 or so.

No, if you want to do your attacks, think carefully. Why were these people so angry that they killed in response?

Rushdie I can understand a bit more and I believe that 'God of Small Things' was a satire, I note you avoid references to the only Indian writer I know of how puts her money where her mouth is, while Rushdie made a gamble it seems, and his editors, and they hit paydirt. They had great sales and great publicity.

This I also suspect was partly the motivations of the Chas 7s. They may also have been egged on by agents provocateurs, who have their fingers every where. The Israeli right wing for example.

Whatever, there is a limit, which is why, for example, we have laws of libel and slander. An International Court might apply a ruling against. It is a fraught issue.

We don't say everything we think. Only someone who is very arrogant or stupid, or has some other motive, does that.

I have to concede though, that I haven't read anything by Rushdie, although I started 'Midnight's Children'. It seemed a good book, but I had a lot of other books to read and it was one of the longest so I stopped it.

Duff and Hulme are books critical of Maori. However, in Duff's case, I have heard Maori arguing that his 'Once Were Warriors' gave a one-sided and hence a distorted view of Maori in NZ society. That is, Pakeha, also, sometimes, are involved in bashing women, boozing heavily, and initiating crimes, rapes, or murders...it has been known to occur.

But I don't think these books attack Maori as Maori. They are more subtle. ('The Bone People' is in any case.)
I don't know about 'The Satanic Verses', but as I say, I am a bit dubious of Rushdie's motives. That said, I haven't read it.

1:29 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

I think we already have laws that limit if they don't prohibit overt racism. Now the mocking depiction of the Mohammad, not the depiction of images as such, was the real issue here. And I think special laws can be drawn up in time when there are continuing and violent conflicts inflicted by the Western Imperialist nations on those nations whose religion is primarily Moslem.

Hence, the US Government, in recent times have suspended Habeus Corpus etc, and placed Guantanamo in 'no man's land' etc to avoid international law.

It is clear that we are now in the middle of a huge international crusade where the bogey of Communism has been replaced by terrorism, and it is, political-religious. It is naive to think you can allow ANYONE to rave on, or ESPECIALLY, make images that needlessly offend those who are becoming increasingly hostile to the Christian nations.

Sure they get paid well for it, but they risk their lives, and ours. The action amounts to the criminal.

There are times when artists and writers might have to stay silent.

This doesn't mean that there wont be times in the future when we can embrace perhaps a more tolerant 'atmosphere' for artist, writers, musicians. But all is not right just now. And it is getting worse. These C7s affected nothing except their own and a few other people.

They have played into the hands of the racists and the right wing.

1:44 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

And of course, they have played into the hands of the extremist Moslems also.

But can one be an "extremist" religious person? If one has knowledge via, say, revelation, then that is perhaps truth.
All other ways into knowledge verification have failed. So who is to say that these people (of whatever 'extremism') are not right? Either one knows, and is certain, or one doesn't know why we are here etc: some of the profoundest questions.

1:49 pm  
Anonymous AWL Educator said...

https://shirazsocialist.wordpress.com/2015/01/17/religion-and-race-conflation/

for those who need it...like 'richard'

4:33 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Well let's break it down. I support Catton's right to criticize NZ or the NZ GOvenment.

She has to be wary though. Whatever you say to the media they filter things out for their own purposes.

I think that is why Aruhdahti Roy wrote 'The Chequebook and the Cruise Missile' which are essays / interview with Barsamian who is sympathetic to her views. There are also other collections of these and similar available in through the Auckland Library. The point is that there is a coherent and relatively "noise-free" dialogue by her. It is not all dead pan and dour either and politics is mixed with her personal life etc

Catton will do well if she can keep sane under fire from the main media though, as they leave things out, or arrange things, and then relatively uneducated and rather crass journalists get hold of what she (has been partly misreported as saying) and then launch into puerile tirades.

As for the rest, I see your points.

I have decided to at least finish a book by Rushdie so I started 'The Satanic Verses' (having just read, rather belatedly, 'The World According to Garp' in which certain parallel issues of how authors are received and women in the media or as writers are treated and so on...)

But I had a look at Catton's book, and, well, it is 800+ pages, so I wonder how many of her reviewers actually even finished her book?

But I will finish it, I will give it a whirl and see what I think...

As to Charlie 7 I didn't mean I thought that they should never "speak out"...but I think to conflate all these examples has possibly confused issues.

12:04 am  
Blogger Richard said...

That is 'never' emphasised. Nor does it mean I am in sympathy or "cahoots" with the Muslim extremists or enthusiasts, shall we say. My point is more complex.
I aired it on FB and my main critic was my nephew who is lawyer!

As to 'Frogs' I just remembered today, that the story is that they descend into Hades and there witness a long series of events and another competition between Euripidies and Sophocles. Sophocles wins. The verse and wit competition is very well done. So there is a 'religious' component. In 'Clouds' the protagonist (at the start) is bewailing the debts he has accrued and seeks the help of Socrates. He gets his layabout son and tries to get him educated in Socrates school. Here Aristophanes satirises Socrates and the "sophists".

His main criticism then is against, not so much religion, but indeed certain kinds of rigid or perhaps "overlogical" or fuzzy thinking. They are good plays as are most of those Greek plays I have read or seen performed. Also authority is made fun of, and war is critiqued as a way of settling conflict as in 'Lysistrata'.

So they do have relevance to present time.

12:13 am  
Blogger Richard said...

AWL educator says 'for those who need it, like "richard'...' well, I never "conflated" religion and race in the naive way the person, who apparently had been traveling in Morocco, and was supposedly an atheist, when the attacks on ChHebdo occurred which makes one wonder for a start.

but why do these people such as AWL not have the guts to say who they are. I am not "richard" I AM Richard. I am Richard Taylor who Scott knows very well and has done for years. I don't hide behind AWC or AWLL or BBF or whatever...it would be nice to deal with a real person.

The thing at the link given is simplistic to say the least.

I am well aware of Berbers and that not all Arabs are Moslems etc etc.
I have no religion myself although I wouldn't say I was an atheist. But the AWL insult to me hasn't made me less sure that this was stupid insult of Moslems by ChHebdo.

They knew they might be attacked, they had been attacked before. So one asks, who is to blame?

I would, as the French President, have long since shut down this journal as a dangerous organisation in very volatile times. There would be, we might say, a temporary suspension of the freedom to insult other peoples' beliefs given the complexity of the situations in North Africa and the Middle East.

Would I execute Rushdie? I will see if, having plowed through his Satanic book, I am greatly disappointed...

Good thing I'm not the President of France, no?

[For those who have forgotten or didn't know. French agents carried out an attack on a ship that was berthed in NZ called 'The Rainbow Warrior' So we know they have agents.]

12:54 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the past few years, and largely as a result of the wars in the Middle East and the Ukraine, there has been a tendency to view everybody fighting as proxies of Washington or Moscow. For most of the left, this means taking a position on those fighting based on where they stand in relationship to the rival powers. Like a chess game in which the black pieces are pure evil and the white pure good, geopolitics matters much more than the individual pieces. If a pawn is forced to align itself with the West, it matters little whether its cause is just.

Ironically, Manichaeism was born in Persia, a country seen by most of the left as certainly pale in hue and pure as the driven snow. After all, how could a country be bad if it is hated so much by the USA? This, of course, is the same logic that drove so many new leftists into Maoist sects in the 60s and 70s. If Mao was such a universally despised figure, didn’t it make sense to follow Bob Avakian or Mike Klonsky? For some, Nixon’s trip to China complicated things to the point that these sects began to disintegrate in the 1980s.

Manicheanism got its name from its founder—Mani. Mani is not a name like Louis but an honorific like “Sri” or “Bey”. Scholars view the religion as an offshoot of Gnosticism, a religion that fascinated me when I was a religion major at Bard. For the Gnostics, the world was divided between good and evil. You tended to dwell in the evil until you learned the truth about the world’s dualism. You can easily understand how Gnosticism was traceable back to Neo-Platonism, a philosophical cult and semi-religion that was inspired by Plato’s notion that philosophical reflections by philosopher-kings was a precondition for understanding the world. If you trace back the modern chess game left to its Platonic roots, you can see how little has changed. Instead of reading Plato’s Republic, the key to enlightenment is Robert Parry’s ConsortiumNews or WSWS.org

full: http://louisproyect.org/2015/01/30/against-manichaeism/
_________________________________________________________

9:37 am  
Blogger Richard said...

Anonymous - relevance of the above? Who are these who believe Washington and Moscow are proxy-poducers? I don't think anyone was too confused that Nixon went to China. Mao Tse Tung and Vietnam had won. It was as simple as that. The US had failed to deafeat a relatively poorly armed nation and they knew they would never, even then, have a dog show against China who already had nuclear weapons and a large, and very active guerilla or people's army that would have slaughtered the US who made a pathetic mess of their Korean and Vietnam invasions. Mao tse Tung pointed out that, of course, they would act peacefully toward the US, as in the real world a developing Socialist nation needed to trade with others.

I don't think even chess players, and I am one, confused the black pawns and the white pawns! Have you been reading Lewis Carroll?

Manicheaism is interesting indeed. That everything in the Univerese is primarily "evil" (or if we use negative logic as in digital electronics) "good" then we cant really come to any conclusions in this rented house.

Come on anon, you are either Maps himself or maybe Renee Harrison (he did a religious PhD, or his friend Reuben Pilsbury? No? (Not sure if he went into religious philosphy also.) In any case, did you ever meet the great poet John Ashbery at Bard?

I think Mao was right. He said to the effect that if the Imperialists were in favour of something there were probably good reasons to be opposed to those things and vica versa. After all, most of the ex or colonial nations and indeed the indigenes of such, were not treated too well by these "glorious colonizers" who you probably admire hugely.

I don't think they were 'sects'.
I think they were highly motivated people quite rightly disillusioned with the so-called Western Culture.

But politics is bunk in any case.

12:46 pm  
Anonymous Scott said...

I think you misunderstand both The Satanic Verses and Charlie Hebdo, Richard. Rushdie's novel is a learned and subtle work which contains no crude attacks on Islam. It does, though, include a satirical portrait of the Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader of Iran's Shi'a fundamentalist regime in the 1980s. The Iranian government got very upset over Rushdie's satire, and initiated the campaign against him, putting a price on his head.

Charlie Hebdo is not a magazine that specialises in ridiculing Islam; like Britian's Private Eye, it is a magazine that specialises in ridiculing everything. Charlie Hebdo regularly ran unflattering cartoons of the Pope, Catholic nuns, and Jewish religious leaders, as well as satirical portraits of Mohammed. The magazine lampooned not only Arab but Western and Israeli politicians.

Most of the legal cases that were launched against Charlie Hebdo, in the years before the recent attack on the magazine's offices, came from Christian rather than Muslim organisations.

You can see some of the cartoons Charlie Hebdo carried here:
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/01/09/solidarity-charlie-hebdo-cartoons/


Even if Charlie Hebdo had refrained from satirising Islam, then, it'd have still upset many religious people. And even if Rushdie had refained from publishing his satirical portrait of Iran's Shi'a dictator, he'd have faced attacks on his right to free expression from the Indian politicians he satirised in Midnight's Children.

As I said before, the only sure way to avoid offending religious ideologues, and to avoid the threat of violence or suppression at their hands, is to refrain from publishing anything at all.

7:51 pm  
Anonymous Scott Hamilton said...

'I am well aware of Berbers and that not all Arabs are Moslems etc etc'

You do though seem a little inclined to lump all Muslims together, and assume they would all see Rushdie's long and complex novel and Charlie Hebdo's equal opportunity satire as greater threats than, say, ISIS. But the strongest opponents of ISIS and Al Qaeda, and also the Shi'a brand of fundamntalism represented by the regime in Iran, are themselves Muslim. The Kurdish peshmerga who have just liberated the town of Kobane from ISIS are overwhelmingly Muslim, and yet they espouse secularism, gender equality, and left-wing politics. Radio New Zealand carried an interview with one of their members this morning: http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/sunday/audio/20165646/janet-beihl-rojava-revolution

And here in Auckland there are many members of the Ahmadiyya branch of Islam, which rejects the fundamentalism of both ISIS and the Iranian regime, and advocates dialogue rather than conflict between Judaism and Islam. You can find the website of the New Zealand section of the Ahmaddiya movement here: http://www.ahmadiyya.org.nz/

I don't think there's much use in talking about 'Muslims' as a homogenous use, when the religion's adherants have such varied view not only about theology but about politics and everyday life.

8:04 pm  
Anonymous Scott said...

You suggest that Charlie Hebdo should have been banned because its content was liable to provoke terrorist attacks from Islamic fundamentalists.

This would, of course, embolden terrorists, whether Islamic or otherwise, to threaten other publications and organisations, so that they too could be banned.

Last year an Islamic fundamentalist launched an attack on a Belgian museum dedicated to the Holocaust. Should we ban memorials to the holocaust, in case they provoke more terrorist attacks?

The Norwegian terrorist Breivik gunned down scores of members of the youth wing of a left-wing party, partly because he had been upset by that party's statements in support of immigration and multiculturalism. Should a ban be imposed on further statements in support of such things?

The British neo-Nazi terrorist David Copeland placed nail bombs in gay nightclubs because he was terribly offended by what went on there. Should we protect against more attacks like his by closing down these nightclubs?

Any attempt to appease religious ideologues by curtailing freedom of speech leads to grotesque absurdity. Far better to strengthen freedoms of speech and association. Thanks to a campaign by a blogger, New Zealand recently abolished its Sedition Act, which was once used to imprison socialists who were caught selling their literature. We should get rid of the Blasphemy Act, too. Like the Sedition Act, the law against blasphemy hasn't been used for a long time, but as long as it is on the books it remains a potential temptation to those who hold power.











8:31 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

I don't agreee completely but I take your points. I will read these comments over a few days.

I have decided that, as Jack Ross did a post on Rushdie, to finally read Rushdie (my reason for not reading him were not ideological) and I started Midnight's Children.

I also haven't read Catton's book so I think I will read it.

I agree that Catton has not "ridiculed" anyone, and in this sense she has, it seems, just expressed her opinions. (It might be unwise though for her to get involved in the world politics surrounding Hebdo as she could well be assassinated).

But, that said, I will chew over your great words of wisdom. I think I was one ahead of you in having read and seen plays by Aristophanes..!

But unlike Dr J I haven't read much of Rushdie (although I liked parts of 'Midnight's Children'.

I did see that movie set around the time of Independence when the riots and massacres etc took place.

I think you are wrong on many of these things: but I'll leave it for now.

But, for now, I think they certainly need to stop publishing in this case.

But this is a different category from (possibly Rushdie) and Catton talking about NZ etc and not crawling up NZ and saying how wonderful it is, which it isn't...and also a lot of what she said was taken out of context.

I think there is a case for Radio Talkback and other so called "free" media organisations to be shut down. But that is drifting back to our disagreement. I am not necssarily in favour of democracy and "freedom" etc or "justice" these things are what the US tells everyone they need as they unload atomic bombs, napalm or depleted uranium shells onto them.

I keep thinking of David Mitchell when I write these things (our David Mitchell, the poet).

9:57 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just look at where Islam came from

“The Prophet” went up to a mountain where an ‘angel’ squeezed a steaming pile of Koran out of him

I am NOT making this up

On a side note, if you were alive 1500 years ago and an alien aircraft took you someplace you might experience G forces that felt like someone was squeezing the Koran out of you too.. Just sayin’

11:08 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“Religion deserves our fearless disrespect" - SR

9:49 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

traitor http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11395912

10:49 am  

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