Wednesday, May 6, 2015

PEN Award to Charlie Hebdo

Some of the writers who oppose the PEN award to Charlie Hebdo: Peter Carey, Michael Ondaatje, Francine Prose, Teju Cole, Rachel Kushner and Taiye Selasi.

Do I agree with them? Nope. I approve the PEN award to Charlie Hebdo. Further, I dislike that the argument has been too much about supposed anti-Islamopbobia on the part of PEN, and too little about richly warranted anti-Islamism. What I mean is that al Qaeda et al is not, really not, a figment of Islamopbobia, any more than, to admittedly stretch the point, Stalin's terror was a figment of anti-communism, though much of the left chose denial.

I should add that in that list of defectors from the PEN awards none are necessarily 2nd rate writers. Well, can't speak about Taiye Selasi, who I haven't read, but have the others and have enjoyed recent immersion in Francine Prose: No matter what she says about PEN will always look forward to her criticism, her novels and the way she recently deboned that overstuffed literary poseur, Danna Tartt.

I'm glad PEN stuck up for free speech as it did, and sorry it's hard to have discussions about where Islam is these days -- not its mainstream but its monsters, world historical monsters though they may be.

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