The publisher of a book that Salman Rushdie claims paints him in a negative light is delaying publication for a week following Rushdie’s threat to sue. On Her Majesty’s Service by Ron Evans, one of the security guards assigned to protect Rushdie during the fatwa against him for his book The Satanic Verses, claims that Rushdie charged guards money to stay at his house and drink his wine, and that the guards once locked Rushdie in a cupboard because he was annoying them. Rushdie refutes the claims. (Guardian)
What the commentators said
Rushdie has been a “crusader against censorship,” said journalist Farrukh Khan Pitafi on his website, but now he “wants a minor work to be censored”? This is sad. Especially since all Evans did was commit the “minor blasphemy” of portraying Rushdie “as a mere mortal with some mortal lapses.”
What makes Rushdie’s threat even more hypocritical, said Tim Footman in a Guardian blog, is that his “whole career has been based on the artful renegotiation of the distinction between fact and fiction, history and fantasy”—take the “magic realism of Midnight’s Children,” for instance. Still, you have to feel for Rushdie—books “have provided his fame and fortune, but they’ve also given him more than his share of grief.”
But Rushdie kind of asks for it, said the blog BookFox, so it’s not surprising that he’s once again “pure fodder for paparazzi.” In the past, Rushdie has participated in “literary squabbles,” fought the fatwa, engaged in arguments over “book-signing records,” and schmoozed “around the world looking for a fifth wife.” Now he’s suing a security guard—it’s getting a little hard to take Rushdie seriously.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How liberals are unwittingly paving the way for the legalization of adult incest
- Watch out, China — America is working on dogfighting drones
- How the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover revealed the worst of both shows
- Ted Cruz is the new Sarah Palin
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Why you probably don't have Ebola — even if you shook hands with America's 'patient zero'
- Libertarianism's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea
- Bill O'Reilly and Stephen Colbert are accidentally having a serious debate on ISIS
Subscribe to the Week