Saturday, 23 June 2007

Sir Salman Rushdie

Did they think about the trouble it would cause? Well, if they didn't, what kind of people are in the FCO and on the Honours Committee these days? They must have thought about it and, thank God, made the correct choice. You might, like my friend Boris Johnson on Question Time last night, have preferred it if someone like George MacDonald Fraser or john le Carre had been knighted.
But having even thought of giving Rushdie a K, you were in the position that you should have been when all the tabloids and, disgracefully, the Prime Minister, from the comfort of Richard and Judy's sofa, were calling for that football man to go because he shared the views of almost every Hindu and Buddhist on the planet. Up to that point, you wanted him sacked. It had become essential, however, that he stayed.
The moment the possibility of knighting Rushdie popped up, it had to be done. Because of the trouble it would cause, partly. To show which side you're on.
Does he deserve it? On the showing resilience against the enemy front, certainly. And he has always been a supporter of persecuted writers elsewhere - of, as Midnight's Children showed, the persecuted, the despised, those fit only for sterilisation - even before his own ordeal. So on political grounds, sure. Though I'd be surprised if I saw eye to eye with Rushdie on much in the way of politics beyond that kind of issue.
On literary grounds? On the whole, I think so, though I don't like very much of his work. But Midnight's Children is an extraordinary book. For all it's show-offiness, it is just blisteringly good. And a delight to read.
It annoys me that I haven't liked much else, partly because I can see that he is very talented. I felt that way about Richard Burton's acting. You could see, underneath the hamminess, the falsity of the Hollywoodisation of himself, the intoxication with his own rolling, versatile voice, how good he might have been. It is much more difficult to forgive that than it is to be angry about the success of someone like Sean Connery. There was never any suggestion that he could act. His job was being a film star.
I don't like Rushdie's starriness. I didn't warm to him awfully on the couple of times I've bumped into him (though only for moments, and not on occasions when one could make a fair judgment), though he was perfectly civil.
I don't like The Satanic Verses or Shame or The Ground Beneath Her Feet. But Midnight's Children is a masterpiece, and The Moor's Last Sigh is very strong. (Both are also very funny in bits.)
I'm proud that we spent however many millions it was defending him. I wouldn't have thought of knighting him. But now that someone has, I find myself strangely glad that they did.

2 comments:

USpace said...

Good one! Of course the very peaceful 'Muslims' are justified for destroying the whole world over this. What? The Queen can't knight someone she likes? She can't knight someone that other people don't like?

But I'm sure Sir Rushdie has mixed emotions on this; the Queen has put him in much greater danger. Maybe he'll wish he had turned it down.

At least this incident will lose the terrorists at least a few more of their dhimmidiot appeasers.

Islam in it's extreme is more political ideology than religion. In that way, it is only a 'Religion of Peace' in that when Islam rules the planet, there will be no one to be at war with. Where they are given an inch, they demand a mile. Islamic countries are becoming more extreme, extremists rule, they just keep quoting the Koran to justify their Jihad.


absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
appease religious killers

continue to spoil them
violent tantrums pay off
.

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