Tuesday, December 07, 2010


do the right thing

to the question in Hitch-22 ; if you were offered a chance to live your own life again, would you seize the opportunity ? christopher hitchens says this... All right, same me but with more money , an even sturdier penis....

ah well, it's all about money and sex after all. i've always known this. i may not agree with many of mr hitchen's opinions as described in this memoir -especially on iraq and his good friend salman rushdie- but when it comes to desire for more sex and money ...well all humans are quite the same.

it's funny . the two recent memoirs that i read (orhan pamuk's Istanbul, and now hitch-22) give me exactly the same feeling about the authors. as i go deeper into each book i begin to dislike and/or disagree with the writer more and more. this is not to say that i don't like reading what they wrote. in fact the writings of both are truly fascinating. but i know that these writers are not people that i would want to be friend with.

and on reading the chapter 'Salman' in Hitch-22 it further sthrengthen my dislike for salman rushdie (which is perhaps the exact opposite effect of what mr hitchen's tried to achieve here). very soon after the publication of the satanic verses and the ensuing scandal and mayhem mr rushdie perhaps against his better judgement succumbed to his fright and tried to pacify the muslim anger by writing an apology of sort.

christopher hitchen's described it this way in hitch-22.

One of the the worst mornings of my life came in the cold winter of 1990 when I read that Salman Rushdie had written a short article titled " Why I have Embraced Islam."

I knew about this and i still would be very much interested to read what he said in this article but for some reasons i never get the chance to do it. and most muslims know about this back pedalling by salman rushdie but of course none buy it and muslims anger at salman did not subside and still smoulder right up to this day. and they were right.

a few pages later christopher hitchen wrote (although no date was mentioned i guess it was much later than that 'cold winter of 1990') :

During his stay with us at Thanksgiving, while he was signing a few books for his newly born "un-goddaughter", he seized the volume of essays in which this literary abortion was preserved like a nasty freak in a bottle, and wrote across the title "Why I Have Embraced Islam" the additional expressive words: "No! Aargh!" He then carefully crossed out every page of the "offensive" piece, signing each one to confirm his own authorial deletion.....

i would have thought mr rushdie would just leave it alone forget the whole thing and move on or better, be braver and publicly disown the article rather than performing this little theatrical act to impress(?) his good friend...but i can't recall he did such a thing.

Friday, December 03, 2010


writerly constipation and love of writing

in sir vidia's shadow , a book of revenge by paul theroux on his one time close friend and mentor v s naipaul the writer (paul theroux) memorably described one incidence when he visited the famous writer and found he was in a foul mood. all because he was sitting at his writing table for how long i couldn't remember now without going back to the book , was it half an hour or was it half a day? but that does not matter, the point is v s naipual sat there for a long time and the only word that he could muster to write on the white sheet of paper was 'The'. and this is one of the best writers in english language past and present -or so they say- we are talking about. and if such a gifted writer such as v s naipaul has such mental block and writerly constipation as this what hope is there for others?

i've always wondered why people choose to be writers or journalists or worse 'mere hacks' writing all sorts of rubbish. i think it's one of the hardest and most torturous profession to write for a living. these people must be masochists to inflict such unneccessary pain on themselves and yet, i recently saw christopher hitchens on charlie rose talking about his battle with cancer and saying that the thing he feared most is the day when he would be unable to write anymore. and incidently i'm now half way through hitch-22 his very readable and sometimes quite funny memoir....

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