Game over?

From the Wall Street Journal:  and SMTB

Seems that there’s even more fear about writing than I thought – a book titled “The Jewel of Medina” has been pulled by Random House just before going to press.

Why?

Well, seems that it deals with a fictionized version of one of the wives of Mohammed. Yes, *that* Mohammed. 

The funny thing is that it wasn’t a Muslim group who started the bonfires – it was actually a university Professor. Denise Spellberg, University of Texas was sent an ARC (advance review copy) and immediately took it upon herself to sound the bells and start beating the drums by not only contacting the publisher back but also sending the info to altmuslim.com who then took hold of the cause celebre with gusto. She actually referred to the book as “soft-core pornography”.

Random House, in a fit of brainless jello-bones, has terminated the contract with the author and now yanked all their review copies back, if they can. 

Now, I worked at Penguin Books Canada way back in the day just before Rushdie released his “Satanic Verses” – and although I left the editorial department before that happened I remember being terrified of something happening to my friends and collegues still working at Penguin. You never know when someone is going to go off the deep end and use the written word as an excuse to kill someone – and the time that it took for the fatwa to be lifted off of him demonstrates how silly the world can and has gotten.

But this… this just takes my breath away. And not in a good, Tony Stark/Pepper Potts love story sort of way.

When Dan Brown published The Da Vinci Code there was a lot of upset Christians – mostly because the way it was written many saw it as a documentary on the Catholic Church. Heck, there are still people wandering around the Louvre in Paris looking for clues to the Holy Grail. But for all their complaints (and many were pretty valid, IMO) none ever came to the point of suggesting that the book be withdrawn from publication and terror threats made against the author. 

And now this happens. 

At this point we might as all well give up on writing anything at all that isn’t bland and boring and politically correct because we’re not going to let the public decide with their buying dollars whether it’s worth reading or not – we’ll let the publishers and the terrorists decide.

Game over.

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10 thoughts on “Game over?

  1. I quite agree that this is pretty egregious, and in similar vein to the UN’s recent efforts to criminalize “defaming religion” (which, in practice, amounts to criticism of Islam).
    The baseline difference between this book and “Da Vinci” is that Christians do not (past problems aside) have a religiously based justification for violence. Jesus never led an army, never conquered a city, and when Peter tried to defend him with force, Jesus chewed him out for it. Contrast this to The Seal Of The Prophets, who was definitely not the sort of man to let people cross him, and who conquered most of Arabia by force, and who furthermore left fairly explicit instructions for his followers on what to do with people who criticized Islam. Christianity was not spread by force during its first three centuries, until it began fusing with the Roman government during Constantine’s reign. This is a marked contrast from Islam, which spread by force and economic pressure from the very beginning, and of Muhammad’s four immediate successors, at least two and possibly three were murdered by political rivals.
    The point is that Christians who engage in violence have no religiously-based justification for doing so, while Muslims have ample justification in the Quran, the hadith, and Muhammad’s personal example, which probably explains why the Da Vinci code made a pyramid of money, and “The Jewel” got pulled in unseemly haste.
    -JM

    • I’m not sure that Christians don’t have a religiously based justification for violence – the Crusades and the Inquisition were pretty bloody.
      And I’m pretty sure you’d find a lot of Muslims disagreeing with your perception of their religious beliefs as being based in violence. At least, the ones brave enough to speak up.
      It scares me for the future of our society when we start pre-banning books based on what they *might* cause people to think. Once it starts, where does it stop?

      • Actually…I have enough thoughts on this topic that it gets to be a post of its own.
        “It scares me for the future of our society when we start pre-banning books based on what they *might* cause people to think. Once it starts, where does it stop?”
        Blogs: not just random people making smart remarks, but the defense of civilization!

  2. I quite agree that this is pretty egregious, and in similar vein to the UN’s recent efforts to criminalize “defaming religion” (which, in practice, amounts to criticism of Islam).
    The baseline difference between this book and “Da Vinci” is that Christians do not (past problems aside) have a religiously based justification for violence. Jesus never led an army, never conquered a city, and when Peter tried to defend him with force, Jesus chewed him out for it. Contrast this to The Seal Of The Prophets, who was definitely not the sort of man to let people cross him, and who conquered most of Arabia by force, and who furthermore left fairly explicit instructions for his followers on what to do with people who criticized Islam. Christianity was not spread by force during its first three centuries, until it began fusing with the Roman government during Constantine’s reign. This is a marked contrast from Islam, which spread by force and economic pressure from the very beginning, and of Muhammad’s four immediate successors, at least two and possibly three were murdered by political rivals.
    The point is that Christians who engage in violence have no religiously-based justification for doing so, while Muslims have ample justification in the Quran, the hadith, and Muhammad’s personal example, which probably explains why the Da Vinci code made a pyramid of money, and “The Jewel” got pulled in unseemly haste.
    -JM

    • I’m not sure that Christians don’t have a religiously based justification for violence – the Crusades and the Inquisition were pretty bloody.
      And I’m pretty sure you’d find a lot of Muslims disagreeing with your perception of their religious beliefs as being based in violence. At least, the ones brave enough to speak up.
      It scares me for the future of our society when we start pre-banning books based on what they *might* cause people to think. Once it starts, where does it stop?

      • Actually…I have enough thoughts on this topic that it gets to be a post of its own.
        “It scares me for the future of our society when we start pre-banning books based on what they *might* cause people to think. Once it starts, where does it stop?”
        Blogs: not just random people making smart remarks, but the defense of civilization!

  3. It’s a terrible shame that the world is so afraid of extremists that a publisher would pull a book that actually sounds interesting and could be educational on many levels (despite any fictional content). It might even spark people to reach out the hand of understanding by drawing their curiosity of the real story. (Stargate does that pretty well with all its Egyptian and Norse mythology but since those are dead religions, who’s going to object?)
    Muslims need to loosen up, as most of us Christians have, and allow some of these stories. He who controls information controls the world…or something like that. The only outcome of this is to build more walls between them and the rest of the world.

  4. It’s a terrible shame that the world is so afraid of extremists that a publisher would pull a book that actually sounds interesting and could be educational on many levels (despite any fictional content). It might even spark people to reach out the hand of understanding by drawing their curiosity of the real story. (Stargate does that pretty well with all its Egyptian and Norse mythology but since those are dead religions, who’s going to object?)
    Muslims need to loosen up, as most of us Christians have, and allow some of these stories. He who controls information controls the world…or something like that. The only outcome of this is to build more walls between them and the rest of the world.

  5. Did you read a recent rant against BREAKING DAWN? Another writer claims it’s racist and even suggested the cover shows this too. This PC stuff is getting to be too much.

  6. Did you read a recent rant against BREAKING DAWN? Another writer claims it’s racist and even suggested the cover shows this too. This PC stuff is getting to be too much.

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