Monday, March 29, 2010

Almost certainly not forthcoming book reviews

Thanks, if that be the word, to commenter "Skidmarx", we discover this. We thought that Paul Berman's "Who's Afraid of Tariq Ramadan?" was far too long and tedious first time round, and it was left to Simon to step into the breach and summarise it. Apparently some mad bastard liked it so much they thought it should be even longer, even wordier, even more pretentious and even more concerned with picking pointless three-year-old fights.

In the intervening time, Ayaan Hirsi Ali has joined the American Enterprise Institute and started going out with Niall Ferguson, thus rather vindicating those of us who felt at the time that while a democratic society must protect the safety of all and that attempts by Islamic fanatics to silence their critics should be condemned by all (insert your own willyoucondemnathon if you don't like that one), having received some death threats for your political views does not confer immunity from criticism of them for the rest of your life, still less does having once been censored mean that you're always and forever a liberal (cf Havel, Vaclav).


Blogger ejh said...

We could compose an amusing list of people who have received death threats and whose views are therefore to be considered above criticism. I'll kick off with Silvino Berlusconi and everybody in Hamas.

3/29/2010 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

I vote for Simon to summarise this book as well.

3/29/2010 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger angrysoba said...

Someone once suggested I read Berman's "essay" on Tariq Ramadan, Ian Buruma et. al after I expressed appreciation for Buruma's book, Murder in Amsterdam. I didn't realize it was something like 40 pages long and I got very tired of it very quickly hoping that Berman could have written something a bit more concise and to the point. But he's gone the wrong bloody way and has written a whole bloody book on the subject!

Oh! And the word verification thingy has asked me to type in "candide"! That's so cool!

3/29/2010 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/29/2010 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

ncidentally, did anyone else catch the first in the 2nd series of Wallander (Swedish version) on Saturday night - much promoted in the FT by ueberDecent John Lloyd? Generally inferior to series 1 I thought (probably because the main tension of that series - between Wallander and his daughter is gone. The actress killed herself). Anyway it was a Motoons theme with the twist that the bombings and assassinations weren't by Islamists at all but by a Swedish army officer with a private grudge. Much jumping to conclusions about the Muzzies followed by rueful reflection when the truth came out.

3/29/2010 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger The Couscous Kid said...

Andrew March (Yale, political science) who is (i) sensible and (ii) actually knows something about Islam is preparing to dump on Berman from a moderate height in the next (I think) issue of The American Prospect.

3/29/2010 01:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Marc Mulholland said...

Given that Rosenbaum's puff piece for Berman's book clock's in at nearly 3,000 words, it's perhaps not surprising that he refers to the original 'Who's Afraid of Tariq Ramadan?' as a "terse [!!] 28,000-word essay".

3/29/2010 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Is that Wallander as in Henning Mankell? I read his The Cat Who Liked Rain the other day. I can't imagine his political past (or indeed present) would endear him to the Decents.

3/29/2010 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger Tim Wilkinson said...

1. Re: muzzies; jumping to conclusions: on the Today programme this morning just before 9am, a Chatham House Russia specialist said that at this early stage, i.e. in the absence of nay useful info, "you can't help but look initially at the issue of Islamic Fundamentalism emanating from the North Cauacasus."

2. Also, an update on Egregious George's letter to Toube. A 404 has taken up what I assume is permanent residence at

Pretty sure there won't be any writs forthcoming now, so almost everyone is happy: Toube backs down and looks a twat, no-one is disproportionately 'chilled' (in the Hammer horror sense) by the prospect of having to take down their posts, and Evil, er, inchoate in the person of Galloway is not enriched.

3/29/2010 04:45:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Tim: how very odd. As the original comment is still there. Why would they take that post down? It was substantively true: he was being sued by George Galloway.

Re Muzzies: suspecting Chechens is quite rational - was my first guess too.

Following Justin's lead: Leon Trotsky, President Obama, (Former) President George H W Bush, Fidel Castro (pretty sure he must have), Gerry Adams, Fred Phelps. Someone for everyone to disagree with. I believe in protecting Fred Phelps for instance even though he's so gratuitously offensive, he's like a test case for free speech. I think the death threats are real too. I don't want anyone to kill Ms Ali, and think it right that she's protected by the state, but I don't agree with her any more than I agree with Phelps. I repeat what I said in the last thread.

3/29/2010 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger Tim Wilkinson said...

suspecting Chechens is quite rational - was my first guess too

'Islamic fundamentalism'?

Re: Galloway/Toube. Yes, odd. Who knows what is going on then.

I don't remember exactly, but didn't that post endorse and expand on the original comment?

3/29/2010 06:11:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Tim: Re David Toube - I think it did, but then I didn't it all. So GG won't sue DT now because DT took down a post he only put up when GG (the party of the first part) threatened to sue? Hell, they're all mad.

Re Moscow: While I'm against wild accusations of random Muslims being bombers, I think it's only sensible to suspect that bombers using an al Qaeda MO of being Muslims.

3/29/2010 06:21:00 PM  
Blogger Tim Wilkinson said...

Well, not even Chatham House Man could quite bring himself to call them AQ.

There's a (rare non-Decent/Euston) cartoon in the latest Private Eye about those 'hallmarks of Al Quaeda'.

3/29/2010 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Er, I didn't call them AQ; I said an AQ MO. But you're right, I should have. Fairly safe bet, no? (Though OK, could be whatever the KGB/NKVD call themselves now; Mossad etc etc. Just rather unlikely.)

On death threats. Hello Eric Cantor. Or, perhaps not.

3/29/2010 08:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although it is from last year, I think you may find this book review useful. The author comes from a Muslim perspective and reviews her works. The link is here ... it is good to hear other opinions and ideas.

Hope you find it interesting.

3/30/2010 04:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Martin Wisse said...

"Hirsi Ali, who described her decision to leave Islam in 2007's Infidel, was subsequently driven from her refuge in Holland by death threats that followed her from Somalia. And by the murder of her friend and supporter, Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, whose slashed and bleeding body was found with a note that called Hirsi Ali next to die. "

Not ... quite ...

She left because it came out she told fibs about her real background, wasn't actually Ayaan "Hirsi Ali" at all and the then minister for deporting of brown people (Rita Verdonk) still had a personal score to settle with her and attempted to take away her Dutch citizenship for it.

Ayaan then left parliament in a huff and buggered off to America to her wanktank job. Nothing to do with death threats, certainly none that followed her from Somalia. In reality, nobody gave two figs about her until she jumped on the anti-Islam bandwagon.

3/30/2010 05:40:00 AM  
Blogger Tim Wilkinson said...

Er, I didn't call them AQ; I said an AQ MO. But you're right, I should have.

AQ meaning 'terrorists who happen to be Muslim?' And the AQ MO? Letting off a bomb?

I'm not positing some false flag conspiracy, just objecting to the standard conflations.

3/31/2010 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

OK, Tim, point to you. Muslims, not AQ. I'm fairly sure that AQ include[sd] Chechen sseparatists, and its connections with the Taliban also meant that it was hostile to the USSR a hostility it would be very likely to carry over to Russia. And bombing multiple targets simultaneously - and public transport in rush hour - Madrid 2004; London 2005; New York 2001, even.

But I guessed wrong, so have to admit to the biases you accuse me of.

4/01/2010 06:18:00 PM  

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