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Stars like George Clooney have taken the place of writers such as Norman Mailer in terms of influence, says Salman Rushdie

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Stars like George Clooney have taken the place of writers such as Norman Mailer in terms of influence, says Salman Rushdie

Post by Katiedot on Sat Sep 29 2012, 11:50

Well, I guess that's one way to promote a new book, but really? I think the writings of Normal Mailer or Susan Sonntag will stand the test of time. I'm not sure that much of what George has said (or written) will be as deeply felt or remembered.

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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON | Fri Sep 28, 2012 7:46pm BST

LONDON (Reuters) - Salman Rushdie believes literature has lost much of its influence in the West, and movie stars like George Clooney and Angelina Jolie have taken the place of Susan Sontag and Norman Mailer when it comes to addressing the big issues.

The British author, who has just released his account of 10 years in hiding after an Iranian fatwa was declared against him in 1989, believes the "Arab Spring" uprisings have failed but that there is hope for freer Muslim societies in the future.

He has warm words for his elder son Zafar who was nine when the famous edict which amounted to a death sentence was announced, but the tone turns harsh when dealing with famous figures like Rupert Murdoch, the Prince of Wales and John Le Carre who he said failed to back him during the dark years.

And with the publication of "Joseph Anton", a 633-page autobiography, the 65-year-old is finally determined to put the fatwa behind him.

"I have a sense of people thinking it (literature) is less important," he told Reuters on Friday in a wide-ranging interview at Waterstone's book store in central London.

"If you look at America, for instance, there is a generation older than mine in which writers like Susan Sontag and Norman Mailer and Gore Vidal would have a significant public voice on issues of the day. Now there's virtually no writers.

"Instead you have movie stars, so if you are George Clooney or Angelina Jolie then you do have the ability to speak about public issues ... and people will listen in a way they would once listen to Mailer and Sontag. That's a change."

He added that in authoritarian countries the situation was different, and literature had held on to some of its power.

"In those places literature continues to be important as you can see by the steps taken against writers," he said, counting China among them.

FATWA AND FREE SPEECH

More than almost anyone, Rushdie sums up one of the most pressing problems facing leaders today - the tension between free speech and the desire to avoid offending people's faith.

He argues in his book that he does not feel his novel "The Satanic Verses", which prompted the fatwa, should have been particularly offensive to Muslims in the first place.

But Rushdie said he would continue to defend even the most provocative individual's right to express an opinion.

Joseph Anton (Rushdie's pseudonym while he was in hiding) hit the shelves at the same time as a film, made in the United States mocking the Prophet Mohammad, sparked riots across the Muslim world leading to many deaths.

"It's clear that you have to defend things you don't agree with," he said, when asked if he thought the film should have been censored in any way.

"What is free speech if it's only for people that you agree with? Often in the free speech argument you find yourself defending stuff you really dislike. I've seen this film and it's as bad as it can be. It's so incompetent that you wonder how anyone can get upset about it."

He described what he called the "outrage industry" in which people deliberately "inflamed the faithful". Part of that "industry" pointed the finger at him again in recent weeks, with a semi-official Iranian foundation upping the bounty on his head to $3.3 million.

Asked if he feared for his life, Rushdie replied: "The world is a dangerous place and there's never a 100 percent guarantee, but in general for the last decade it's been really okay."

The author who won a Booker Prize in 1981 for "Midnight's Children" said he saw hope for a better understanding between Muslim and non-Muslim countries, but only in the long-term.

"I'm less optimistic in the short-term because I think right now the temperature is very high, but in the medium- to long-term I think it will change," he said.

"In those countries in which Islamic radicalism has been most powerful it's also most disliked. So the people of Iran are not enamoured of the Ayatollah's regime, the people of Afghanistan were not enamoured of the Taliban."

He believed the "Arab Spring" uprisings had failed, but that the fight for a free society would not go away.

"I think in the long-term you have to believe that this very young population in the Arab world demanding a better life for itself will somehow make its views known and I don't think we've heard the last of that."

PRAISE FOR SON

Elements of Joseph Anton are intensely intimate. It speaks of the death of close friends and family members including Rushdie's first wife Clarissa, while his second wife Marianne Wiggins is portrayed as delusional.

He points fingers at those he thought betrayed him, although in the interview he denied setting out to settle scores.

His elder son Zafar, who was nine when the fatwa was declared and who saw his father only occasionally in the first few years, features prominently.

"In a way he had a harder job than me because he had to grow up too," he said of his son.

"He was nine when this began, he was 21 when it ended so that's an extraordinary atmosphere in which to grow up having to conceal your father's home address from your friends.

"He could easily have been messed up by it, but instead he comes out of it serene, good-natured mature, much calmer than me. I'm the arm-waver in the family. He's the sort of unflappable voice of serenity and reason."

He said he was worried when his second son Milan was born.

"I thought, 'here I am bringing another child into this nightmare and what are we going to do? How is he going to go to school? Does he have to start lying at the age of two?

"In the end I just thought that it was a kind of act of optimism to have a child. It was a way of saying there's going to be a life after this."

Rushdie said the fatwa was not something he would choose to live through, even though it made him one of the world's best-known writers and opened doors to the great and good from President Bill Clinton to U2's Bono and downwards.

"I would have much rather it hadn't (happened)," he said. "But given that it did I am prepared to try and use that experience in order to say what I think about what's happening.

"If you had offered me, on February 13, 1989 for this not to happen on February 14 I would have taken you on, because I was perfectly content with my life as it was. I had a good life as a writer, I had written some books that were well-liked.

"I would much rather have my 40s back. I was 41 when it started and that decade, which is supposed to be the prime of life, for me turned into a kind of nightmare."

WIG DISGUISE

Joseph Anton is a highly personal account of Rushdie's life on the run, of relationships which flowered and died, of swanky parties where he rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous and of years of despair and frustration.

It is tragic, funny and at times both.

Rushdie recalls scurrying to the bathroom to avoid being discovered by the cleaning lady in one of many safe houses. His guards suggest a wig as a disguise, but when he goes out wearing it a man calls out: "There's that bastard Rushdie in a wig."

He said he hoped Joseph Anton would help him move on from his past, and in particular the fatwa: "I think it's a way of drawing a line under it, you know?"

With a broad smile, he concluded: "I do think that in future, if I do publish future books and somebody wants to go back into this story I can just hit them over the head with a 600-page book."

* Joseph Anton is published in Britain by Jonathan Cape, an imprint of Random House.

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Re: Stars like George Clooney have taken the place of writers such as Norman Mailer in terms of influence, says Salman Rushdie

Post by silly girl on Sat Sep 29 2012, 12:24

Oooh I get to tell my Salman Rushdie story.


When Satanic Verses came out I was Acting Manager for a bookstore---a chain. One morning a customer called before we opened and asked if we had the newest Dick Francis book --- I checked and said yes. About 10 minutes later I heard a crash in the store, we still weren't open and I was in the back room. It was a small store in a mall with large plate glass sliding doors. I ran to the front and saw that my customer--a minister--had gotten so excited he walked right through the glass door Here I was only an Acting Manager (very young) and I had a bleeding man standing in my store with glass all around him. Thankfully he was alright but I had to deal with the police and the ambulance and the mess. The door was boarded up for weeks and we had to use the alternate door for customers.

I tell this story because as I said it happened around the time the Salman Rushdie book Satanic Verses came out. (Which at that time was the most bought but least read book we had ever sold----I couldn't get past the first chapter is was so boring. If he hadn't had a fatwa on his head it never would have sold at all --IMO). Because of the fatwa, bookstores were on edge. there had been bombings and threats to anyone who sold it. While I was on lunch one day my employees got the bright idea to put a sign on our broken window saying "due to the bomb that blew out our window we will not be selling the Satanic Verses." Not very funny since people believed it. I come back from lunch to find the Mall Manager, security and upset customers surrounding the store. My DM was livid. I was freaking out. Needless to say I had to calm everyone down and say it was joke--albeit a bad one then I had to save my employees jobs. My DM wanted to fire them all. Luckily clearer heads prevailed and it all worked out... not a fun time.

Oh and to top it all off the minister who crashed through the window sued us for negligence. I think the company bought him off. Anyway that is what I think of when I hear the name Salman Rushdie.

As for his comments about influence I agree with Katie....thanks for the article....

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Re: Stars like George Clooney have taken the place of writers such as Norman Mailer in terms of influence, says Salman Rushdie

Post by it's me on Sat Sep 29 2012, 13:02

Dick Francis? a minister???


well
ppl take now information from
internet
more than books

and also internet gave us TONS of material
of any sorts

internet
a really treasure chest!!! Very Happy Cool Wink
can you imagine to get info in few secs
only.... 15 years ago??
there were
newspapers, mags, books
and a lot of time needed to chose

the media changed, so the velocity

aaaallll old stuff
but
into this ocean of imputs
ppl like G or Angelina
can have some ears hearing

IMO

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Re: Stars like George Clooney have taken the place of writers such as Norman Mailer in terms of influence, says Salman Rushdie

Post by LornaDoone on Sat Sep 29 2012, 16:47

Heck he's upset about celebrities having influence?

Well it's even worse than that! How about fake writers selling books?

Anyone in the US ever see the TV show Castle? It's about a writer who shadows his muse - a police detective.

Well that fake writer has at least 5 books selling on Amazon at this moment.

So a fake character writes and publishes books!


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Re: Stars like George Clooney have taken the place of writers such as Norman Mailer in terms of influence, says Salman Rushdie

Post by Cinderella on Sat Sep 29 2012, 16:53

Fake??? What's the authors name?

I'm an author.

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Re: Stars like George Clooney have taken the place of writers such as Norman Mailer in terms of influence, says Salman Rushdie

Post by it's me on Sat Sep 29 2012, 17:18

but who is that fake writer ???

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Re: Stars like George Clooney have taken the place of writers such as Norman Mailer in terms of influence, says Salman Rushdie

Post by LornaDoone on Sat Sep 29 2012, 18:10

Ok, the TV show is called Castle after the character called Richard "Rick" Castle played by Nathan Fillion.

He writes books called the Nikki Heat series in the TV show. They are based on the female detective that he shadows in the show on her real cases. Ok, fake cases if you want to get technical since this is just a TV show. Her name is Becket - played by Stana Katic.

The character has also written books about a title character called Derrick Storm.

(BTW - I LOVE the show!)

The books on Amazon are written by Richard Castle and they are Nikki Heat books.

Titles that you can actually buy are:

Frozen Heat
Naked Heat
Heat Wave
A Raging Storm
A Bloody Storm
and more!

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Re: Stars like George Clooney have taken the place of writers such as Norman Mailer in terms of influence, says Salman Rushdie

Post by silly girl on Sat Sep 29 2012, 18:15

Publishers have been doing this for years....I remember the Murder She Wrote books too.

I love Castle!

Cinderella you seem out of sorts today...hope you are ok. I love you

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Re: Stars like George Clooney have taken the place of writers such as Norman Mailer in terms of influence, says Salman Rushdie

Post by Cinderella on Sat Sep 29 2012, 18:31

Thanks for your comment, Silly Girl. Yes, I am out of sorts today because of the article about hacking and the girls/ladies thing. I want to help young people and, YES, it upsets me when I see how some people can use the innocent to further their "evils" in the world. Yes, I am an author and my book will come out the end of next month. It's about rape and abuse and that God is with us through those times. I hope and pray it helps young people understand that even though we go through hard things, we can rise above it and make a difference in the world. The abuse I suffered as a child made me jaded in the "opposite sex" department. I pray that my book will help other girls/women get through those times, too. And hopefully see that God is everywhere and can use those times as a tool to help others.

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Re: Stars like George Clooney have taken the place of writers such as Norman Mailer in terms of influence, says Salman Rushdie

Post by Best in Category on Sat Sep 29 2012, 19:54

Good luck with the book Cinderella!

Sounds like a book promotion
yeah we all know the depths of the Net
I have heard more about GC than those authors. Sonntag does ring a bell, but I can't remember any of her book. Others I haven't read at all.
Sure I have heard fatwa & rushdie, but that's old stuff. After that we have had theo van gogh and danish comic drawer (he made a picture of "A".)

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Re: Stars like George Clooney have taken the place of writers such as Norman Mailer in terms of influence, says Salman Rushdie

Post by it's me on Sat Sep 29 2012, 21:21

Cindi... Hug1

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Re: Stars like George Clooney have taken the place of writers such as Norman Mailer in terms of influence, says Salman Rushdie

Post by Cinderella on Sat Sep 29 2012, 21:39

No, BIC... if you're talking about my post, it's not a book promotion, it's the truth! And thanks for wishing me good luck! But... I don't think luck has anything to do with it!

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Re: Stars like George Clooney have taken the place of writers such as Norman Mailer in terms of influence, says Salman Rushdie

Post by The next mrs clooney on Sat Sep 29 2012, 23:34

Congratulations on your book Cinderella, I'm sure it will have a positive impact on others, its great to see that people try to use the horrors they have endured to change the lives of others Very Happy

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Re: Stars like George Clooney have taken the place of writers such as Norman Mailer in terms of influence, says Salman Rushdie

Post by The next mrs clooney on Sat Sep 29 2012, 23:38

Katiedot wrote:Well, I guess that's one way to promote a new book, but really? I think the writings of Normal Mailer or Susan Sonntag will stand the test of time. I'm not sure that much of what George has said (or written) will be as deeply felt or remembered.

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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON | Fri Sep 28, 2012 7:46pm BST

LONDON (Reuters) - Salman Rushdie believes literature has lost much of its influence in the West, and movie stars like George Clooney and Angelina Jolie have taken the place of Susan Sontag and Norman Mailer when it comes to addressing the big issues.

The British author, who has just released his account of 10 years in hiding after an Iranian fatwa was declared against him in 1989, believes the "Arab Spring" uprisings have failed but that there is hope for freer Muslim societies in the future.

He has warm words for his elder son Zafar who was nine when the famous edict which amounted to a death sentence was announced, but the tone turns harsh when dealing with famous figures like Rupert Murdoch, the Prince of Wales and John Le Carre who he said failed to back him during the dark years.

And with the publication of "Joseph Anton", a 633-page autobiography, the 65-year-old is finally determined to put the fatwa behind him.

"I have a sense of people thinking it (literature) is less important," he told Reuters on Friday in a wide-ranging interview at Waterstone's book store in central London.

"If you look at America, for instance, there is a generation older than mine in which writers like Susan Sontag and Norman Mailer and Gore Vidal would have a significant public voice on issues of the day. Now there's virtually no writers.

"Instead you have movie stars, so if you are George Clooney or Angelina Jolie then you do have the ability to speak about public issues ... and people will listen in a way they would once listen to Mailer and Sontag. That's a change."

He added that in authoritarian countries the situation was different, and literature had held on to some of its power.

"In those places literature continues to be important as you can see by the steps taken against writers," he said, counting China among them.

FATWA AND FREE SPEECH

More than almost anyone, Rushdie sums up one of the most pressing problems facing leaders today - the tension between free speech and the desire to avoid offending people's faith.

He argues in his book that he does not feel his novel "The Satanic Verses", which prompted the fatwa, should have been particularly offensive to Muslims in the first place.

But Rushdie said he would continue to defend even the most provocative individual's right to express an opinion.

Joseph Anton (Rushdie's pseudonym while he was in hiding) hit the shelves at the same time as a film, made in the United States mocking the Prophet Mohammad, sparked riots across the Muslim world leading to many deaths.

"It's clear that you have to defend things you don't agree with," he said, when asked if he thought the film should have been censored in any way.

"What is free speech if it's only for people that you agree with? Often in the free speech argument you find yourself defending stuff you really dislike. I've seen this film and it's as bad as it can be. It's so incompetent that you wonder how anyone can get upset about it."

He described what he called the "outrage industry" in which people deliberately "inflamed the faithful". Part of that "industry" pointed the finger at him again in recent weeks, with a semi-official Iranian foundation upping the bounty on his head to $3.3 million.

Asked if he feared for his life, Rushdie replied: "The world is a dangerous place and there's never a 100 percent guarantee, but in general for the last decade it's been really okay."

The author who won a Booker Prize in 1981 for "Midnight's Children" said he saw hope for a better understanding between Muslim and non-Muslim countries, but only in the long-term.

"I'm less optimistic in the short-term because I think right now the temperature is very high, but in the medium- to long-term I think it will change," he said.

"In those countries in which Islamic radicalism has been most powerful it's also most disliked. So the people of Iran are not enamoured of the Ayatollah's regime, the people of Afghanistan were not enamoured of the Taliban."

He believed the "Arab Spring" uprisings had failed, but that the fight for a free society would not go away.

"I think in the long-term you have to believe that this very young population in the Arab world demanding a better life for itself will somehow make its views known and I don't think we've heard the last of that."

PRAISE FOR SON

Elements of Joseph Anton are intensely intimate. It speaks of the death of close friends and family members including Rushdie's first wife Clarissa, while his second wife Marianne Wiggins is portrayed as delusional.

He points fingers at those he thought betrayed him, although in the interview he denied setting out to settle scores.

His elder son Zafar, who was nine when the fatwa was declared and who saw his father only occasionally in the first few years, features prominently.

"In a way he had a harder job than me because he had to grow up too," he said of his son.

"He was nine when this began, he was 21 when it ended so that's an extraordinary atmosphere in which to grow up having to conceal your father's home address from your friends.

"He could easily have been messed up by it, but instead he comes out of it serene, good-natured mature, much calmer than me. I'm the arm-waver in the family. He's the sort of unflappable voice of serenity and reason."

He said he was worried when his second son Milan was born.

"I thought, 'here I am bringing another child into this nightmare and what are we going to do? How is he going to go to school? Does he have to start lying at the age of two?

"In the end I just thought that it was a kind of act of optimism to have a child. It was a way of saying there's going to be a life after this."

Rushdie said the fatwa was not something he would choose to live through, even though it made him one of the world's best-known writers and opened doors to the great and good from President Bill Clinton to U2's Bono and downwards.

"I would have much rather it hadn't (happened)," he said. "But given that it did I am prepared to try and use that experience in order to say what I think about what's happening.

"If you had offered me, on February 13, 1989 for this not to happen on February 14 I would have taken you on, because I was perfectly content with my life as it was. I had a good life as a writer, I had written some books that were well-liked.

"I would much rather have my 40s back. I was 41 when it started and that decade, which is supposed to be the prime of life, for me turned into a kind of nightmare."

WIG DISGUISE

Joseph Anton is a highly personal account of Rushdie's life on the run, of relationships which flowered and died, of swanky parties where he rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous and of years of despair and frustration.

It is tragic, funny and at times both.

Rushdie recalls scurrying to the bathroom to avoid being discovered by the cleaning lady in one of many safe houses. His guards suggest a wig as a disguise, but when he goes out wearing it a man calls out: "There's that bastard Rushdie in a wig."

He said he hoped Joseph Anton would help him move on from his past, and in particular the fatwa: "I think it's a way of drawing a line under it, you know?"

With a broad smile, he concluded: "I do think that in future, if I do publish future books and somebody wants to go back into this story I can just hit them over the head with a 600-page book."

* Joseph Anton is published in Britain by Jonathan Cape, an imprint of Random House.

I think we live in a society where people pay more attention to what celebrities have to say and the messages they send through their movies. For many young people literature is a forgotten art form and they learn about history and social issues through different forms of media these days. Sad but true.

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Re: Stars like George Clooney have taken the place of writers such as Norman Mailer in terms of influence, says Salman Rushdie

Post by it's me on Sun Sep 30 2012, 10:09

different media
so
writers need to learn
to show them
in a different ways

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Re: Stars like George Clooney have taken the place of writers such as Norman Mailer in terms of influence, says Salman Rushdie

Post by Best in Category on Sun Sep 30 2012, 10:34

No Cinderella I meant the original post (Katiedot's). And by wishing luck I didn't mean you NEED luck, but it always good to have a little Smile

Just the other night this person told me about his relative, who is unlike the rest of them "artistic" meaning he is a screenwriter. He had been working on this one script 7 years, during that time he had offered it numerous times to different directions. Finally he got lucky and somebody wanted to make a movie based on his text. Only that they changed nearly everything --- movie came out and got really bad reviews, some critics suggested that the plot would have been better if this and that happened and those where the very same things he had there but they changed it. Now he is working on a novel. I haven't met him but unless he looks like a rock star and will go on a promotion tours, he needs a lots of luck for it to happen ( getting his novel to be published). Very Happy

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Re: Stars like George Clooney have taken the place of writers such as Norman Mailer in terms of influence, says Salman Rushdie

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