I promised, a few sundays ago, that I would tackle Martin Amis' long-ass screed. And some emails were exchanged w/ the usual suspects but the post remains only partially written. It was becoming another rant. I tire of those. How many times can we point at the absurdity and vapidness of thought? There must be some more constructive venue.
I did ask, rather plaintively, from my interlocutors why was it that the so-called liberal responses to the threats of jihadist were even more tone-deaf and misinformed? I do not recall any real answer. No one is thinking? No one is listening? In any case, Pankaj Mishra does the deed to Amis, far better than I would have in his Politics of Paranoia. Here is the key graf:
'The impulse towards rational inquiry,' Amis asserts, 'is by now very weak in the rank and file of the Muslim male.' There are countless other startling claims (according to Amis, the army was on the Islamist side in the Algerian civil war) in his essay, whose pseudo-scholarship and fanatical conviction of moral superiority make it resemble nothing more than one of bin Laden's desperately literary screeds.
Martin Amis remains full of it.
...and that's how you write a book review.
Absolutely. If there is one thing the English can do, its write. (Yes, yes, bring on the flames)
martin amis is a petulant, smarmy little prat. i am particularly put off my his sudden oh-so-righteous concern for muslim women and their sexual rights, given that his own writings have so frequently exuded more than a whiff of misogyny. he read parts of the 'horrorism' essay when he appeared at PEN i was particularly un-charmed by the section in which he mocked Rania al-Baz (the Saudi newscaster who left her husband after he nearly beat her to death in a rage, apparently touched off by her answering the phone) and said "Male Westerners will be struck, here, by a dramatic cultural contrast. I know that I, for one, would be far more likely to beat my wife to death if she hadn't answered the telephone. But customs and mores vary from country to country..." And then he snickered, as if he'd said something particularly clever.
A commenter quoted Amis thus: 'The impulse towards rational inquiry,â€šÃ„Ã´ Amis asserts, â€šÃ„Ã²is by now very weak in the rank and file of the Muslim male. When I hear this sort of thing, I just roll my eyes. Does he honestly think that the rational impulse is so well established in the western or Christian, or Jewish male? It just takes the right circumstances to set them going, and since we are (for now) so rich and powerful, they aren't so frequent in coming. But as an antidote to his self-satisfaction culled from relatively recent history, I would cite: - lynchings/segregation in the US South - Stalin's purges/GULAG - Hitler and his followers - Holocaust - WWI - American anti-Darwinist fundamentalists - popularity of End of Days literature etc... Civilization is a very fragile thing in need of constant care and tending. Rationality is not genetically more robust in one group than another - it's pretty weak in general.
After Amis' "The Information," so dreadful, why would anyone read anything this putz writes, anyway?