When to walk away… know when to run!
Well, it’s started up again in Europe – the Queen, God Bless Her Majesty, has decided to knight Salman Rushdie. And, of course, all hell is breaking loose.
for those of you not in my age group (and that’s a lot of you, thank GAWD…) Rushdie is a British author who decided to write a book titled “The Satanic Verses” – put out by Penguin Books not too long after I left their employment. Good thing too, because the book caused the sort of uproar that at the time seemed silly – but today is eerily familiar.
“The Satanic Verses”, which IS fiction, included some comments on the Muslim religion and the Prophet Mohammed. Yes, you can guess at what happened next, since most of you should remember the rioting and the death threats over the cartoons just in the past few years.
Iran clerics issued a “fatwah” on Rushdie’s head and he’s been in hiding for years, coming out when he can and constantly in fear of his life. Great way to spend your years when all you did was put down on paper something you thought was interesting. And interesting when you consider that for decades films, books and articles have been written about Jesus Christ that portrayed Him in less than a stellar view and no one rioted or got stabbed to death or had fatwahs issued. (Dogma, The Last Temptation… you can find the rest.)
So now the UK envoy to Pakistan has been summoned because they want to protest the author getting a Knighthood. Bear in mind that nowadays it’s more a ceremonial thing than anything else; Rushdie’s not getting a suit of armor, a horse and being told to go slay some innocent children. But now we’re talking suicide bombers and death threats because of something he wrote years ago… just another sign of how the inmates are beginning to run the asylum and how, as writers and readers, we have to be ever-vigilant of those who would cut out our tongues and chop off our fingers to keep us from using our imagination.