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Salman Rushdie

An excerpt from the PBS program Faith & Reason 2006

Quicktime Video 8 MB | Duration: 05'29
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What a great clip, and a great passage. I think it's odd that the audience seemed to find it very comical. It clearly has a kind of lightness in it, but I don't think that Rushdie is trying to ridicule the great sadness of the scribe. As a critique of revelation it's more bitter than self-satisfied.

Humour can be double edged. People are often laughing at Bush even though there is a scary element to him under the apparent stupidness.

Absolutely delightful.

Reminds me of two great novels by Gore Vidal, "The Messiah" and "Julian". "The Messiah" is from 1954 if I remember correctly and is about a professional writer who is hired to write the manifesto of a new cult leader who ends up being made a modern day messiah through his charisma, speeches and a powerful media campaign. It follows the writer who knows from the beginning it is nothing but a scam and yet doesn't have the courage to speak out against it until it's become too big for him to stop. The other book, "Julian" is all about the last non-Christian emperor of Rome as he tries to stop the powerful new "death cult" from destroying the civilization he loves so much. Both brilliant as stories and as commentaries on the manipulation and dangers of organized religion. Sadly, I've not yet read the Satanic Verses but after watching this clip it is my next purchase. Thanks for posting this Norm. Rushdie is an inspiration and someone I never tire of listening to.

I almost bought The Satanic Verses yesterday—out-of-print hard back—and after listening to this excerpt, I wish I had.

It seems as though Mahound isn't so much the bad guy as is the skeptic that says nothing in the face of overwhelming evidence to doubt the prophet.

"Humour can be double edged. People are often laughing at Bush even though there is a scary element to him under the apparent stupidness."

You're right. I guess laughter is quite appropriate to the passage he was reading, but not the kind of belly laughter that he was getting. It's not exactly dark, morbid comedy (perhaps it's even more dark than jokes about death), but it's something close to it. It's not slapstick. Political humor is much the same way--it's either bitter or very sharp and angry, or both.


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