Friday, August 10, 2007

Getting Even

By this point you've almost certainly heard about the attack on Taslima Nasrin yesterday.

Let me start by admitting that I've never much cared for Ms. Nasrin's writing. Admittedly, I haven't read that much of her work - just Shame and a collection of poems whose name I no longer recall - but it's always struck me as flat, uninspired and tedious; an exercise in thinly disguised polemic that embodies the perils of mixing art and politics. This could, of course, be the fault of her translators, or the stuff I've read may be unrepresentative of her work. At any rate, if you'd asked me 24 hours ago whether I ever intended to read anything Ms. Nasrin had written again (let alone in the near future), I would have confidently said no.

Enter the ruffians of the MIM. The way I see it, the only way to fight this kind of crass intimidation is to make sure it has exactly the opposite effect from the one intended. So if the folks at MIM want to stop us from reading Ms. Nasrin then never mind that I'm half way through The Red and the Black, and have two novels from the Booker long list waiting at my bedside (Michael Redhill's Consolation and Anne Enright's The Gathering) as well as one on its way (Peter Ho Davies' The Welsh Girl), never mind that I'm on my semi-annual Polish poetry trip and have absolutely no desire to tear myself away from the new Collected Poems of Zbigniew Herbert, never mind that I have a dissertation to write; I'm issuing Getting Even out of the library and reading it today. Just on general principle. And I suggest you do the same.


tangled said...

Such a clever way to make poor illiterate people feel even worse about all the things they're not reading.

samira said...

Agreed. Idiots like the MIM deserve it. I too have never particularly liked the lady's writing, but those guys are assholes.Just out of curiosity, though, are you enjoying The Red and The Black? Apart from the fact that I think my Wordsworth edition was poorly edited, I felt like beating the crap out of both Julian and Madama whatshername! Why could they not just make up their minds and do what they wanted instead of whining all the time?

rs said...

i dont think those goons care about what we read much. just that we should read about them in the newspapers

Anonymous said...

hopelesslessly irrelevant to your current post.
I read you almost everyday. Sometimes its about death in a water tank,sometimes its strangers perched on a skyscraper ready to jump to their have a dark side to your writing and when i read you in the morning my day is almost ruined and i open ur page cautiously the next morning.

Men dont write like this. Sorry what i mean is that- your thoughts are so womanly at times. its soothing at times and frightening becuase your stories are so real. about normal people like me.

i like your taste in poetry. but i dont like your poems. You are so much better at prose that i feel the poems are wasted.

you are easily the best in the indian blogosphere. let me rephrase that. This blog is the only good writing around.


Sunil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sunil said...

Hope you remember me from earlier this year , when I recall you taking not much liking for me. But nevertheless, I write this to you because one of my friends in India religiously devours your blogs, for what she describes as… the comical possibilities of bookish thoughts.

I haven’t followed you much so I don’t know how you have been, but once in a while these kind of post lands up in the my inbox with a subject line inside-joke.

Well, I remember you suggesting people to read bible or Murakami or whatever last time around. We haven’t changed much have we now?

Let me share a story. There is woman called India waters. You might know her dad, Roger Waters. Or Shallow waters. Or Whatever. She unfortunately wasn’t as talented as her dad and ended up where all the talentless rich daughters end up. Fashion industry. She put up a few faces of Indian gods on lingerie and sold them. As natural as the rain sun and the moon , there were protests. Some of which probably not approvable by your standards.

Now between your proustian isolations, would you have time to shop for the lingerie? And which one would you suggest for all teh females you know?

No , its not that hilarious, and I know, that like true wine drinking man of Italy you would fret but not engage. But oh! The fun of passing it on to you.


Take care

Sunil said...

HA! I read the comments just now, marvellous; Where do they teach all these? To borrow that drunkard scottie, I have nothing but unaffected scorn for all these. Hey No ! thats not true, I must not forget the sense of hilarity.
bye for now
seeks forgiveness

Falstaff said...

tangled: No, no. No hidden agenda. Just saying.

samira: Yes, I am. It's delightful and hilarious.

rs: True. But hopefully Ms. Nasrin does care about being read, so that it's a meaningful gesture of support if not a meaningful gesture of protest. Plus, well, what else can I do?

blogreader: Umm...thanks. I don't know what to say to the "men don't write like this" bit - apparently, some of us do.

P.S. Does anyone know what this Sunil character is blithering about?

Space Bar said...

Falstaff: in effect, I think he means to say he didn't see you commenting on the protest that people made about the plastering of gods on lingerie.

But by his own admission he doesn't often read your blog (because you evidently don't like him, sniff) so how would he know?

This is a familiar and specious argument: how come you nri liberal types don't have anything to say about hindu gods being disrespected but every time someone protests about the things that a muslim freak says, you all jump on the protest bandwagon.

though how poor murakami figures in this is not clear.

Falstaff said...

space bar: Oh, is that what he's saying? You're right, that is a specious argument.

For the record, I'm all for Hindu mythology underwear. I'm particularly fond of the Ganesha Boxer Shorts ("Is that the God's trunk or are you just happy to see me?") and the nine-to-a-pack Dasavatar briefs ("They don't make Kalki"). By rights, I should probably be wearing the Krishna jock strap, given how blue-balled I am, but I find the idea of having a character with a yen for creamy substances anywhere near my boy-parts kind of disturbing.

Also, for those of you who may be "females I know" let me assure you that while none of you has ever actually asked me for advice on lingerie, I am always prepared to take a keen personal interest in the matter, should the subject come up.

Sunil said...

Well now . I am actually surprised, that you haven’t unleashed your croneys.

The argument is simple. If you want to read a book just because that is protested against, so you should wear a lingerie that is equally protested against.

Get a different interpreter next time.
Also, see what reading all those books turns you into? Unabridged pseudo liberal seculars, jack and jane I cant think for myself.

Ever heard of Gautama Buddha….? revel within your limits.

Gacchaami.mahaashaya. Ha.

Sunil said...

u tot underwear? ah , forget it.

anu said...

the comments are more interesting than the post ...rotfl..made my day!!

oh and must say I am tempted to agree with the anon blogreader :-P

(no offense meant to anyone please)

Space Bar said...


Falstaff said...

anu: Ya, I know. Gnomes are fun, aren't they? And when you say you agree with anon blogreader do you mean about the "men don't write like this" part? Add to that all these behests to "wear a lingerie" and it's enough to make a lesser man than myself break into drag.

spacebar: Don't ask. Really. It's probably some sort of secret code that they don't teach us in unabridged psuedo liberal secular school. You probably need to be the illustrated children's version of a 100% genuine conservative bigot to understand it.

rs said...

i think mr sunil gives a very good answer to your question "well, what else can I do?"
if u take to hindu mythology underwear, you will get even with all the bigots in one stroke.

also, i'm glad to come across men who do write like this

??! said...

just came back to this post, to add one bit. but forget that!
whoo boy - sunil bhai, what have you been smoking?