Salman Rushdie is great. If you want to know how to work it after a fatwa, look to this man. He hangs around celebs, marries a model he picks out on the telly, writes op-eds supporting other authors and perennially remains the Occident’s only interlocutor with the Orient.
His latest “controversy” is porn. Yes, that cutting edge issue that hangs heavy on the minds of intellectualls everywhere. Rushdie is one of the authors of an upcoming book of photographs XXX: 30 Porn Star Portraits. The other luminaries featured in the book are Gore Vidal, John Malkovich(?), Lou Reed(huh?), and John Waters (that makes sense). Oh, and a bunch of porn stars.
Anyways, Rushdie’s essay claims (disclaimer: I haven’t read it, nor all the others condemning it.) that pornography is an essential freedom in repressed societies and he backs that up with internet traffic statistics from Pakistan! From the book’s website is the following blur:
Last I checked, there were no “essential freedoms repressed” in the US (ok, a few for the brown man) but “the need for pornography” has not shown ANY signs of diminishing. None. I would like to show Rushdie stats for internet usage in the US. I quibble needlessly. In that excerpt, at least, he is hinting broadly at the way Muslim society tries to limit personal freedom. I don’t think he is off the mark at all. I have written here many times about the side-effects of repression. People will find what they need and if society pushes the lid shut, those activities will continue in the dark with far more corrosive outcomes. Blue movies, videos, books are easily available throughout the length and breadth of the Land of the Pure.
Press in Pakistan and India is breathlessly reporting this latest attack by Rushdie on basic human dignity, which will give him more publicity and which, like Satanic Verses, no one will actually bother to read.
On a completely unrelated note: Survey reveals that “Most Indian men, keeping alive old stereotypes, have sex only at night in their bedrooms”. Glad we got that sorted out now.