Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Monday, December 03, 2007

Actually, Martin, you are a racist. And a lousy writer to boot.

OK, this has gone far enough. Wannabe novelist Martin Amis (has anyone not paid to do so actually finished any of his books? Even the Booker-shortlisted and heavily derivative Time's Arrow had me ready to gnaw off a limb to escape after two chapters) first of all spouts racist drivel, then when he's called on it, instead of apologising, he blusters and lies. Consider his original interview with Ginny Dougary in the Guardian:

“What can we do to raise the price of them doing this? There’s a definite urge – don’t you have it? – to say, ‘The Muslim community will have to suffer until it gets its house in order.’ What sort of suff­­er­­­ing? Not letting them travel. Deportation – further down the road. Curtailing of freedoms. Strip-searching people who look like they’re from the Middle East or from Pakistan… Discriminatory stuff, until it hurts the whole community and they start getting tough with their children. They hate us for letting our children have sex and take drugs – well, they’ve got to stop their children killing people. It’s a huge dereliction on their part. "

The main responses are linked here.

Apologists for Amis like Christopher Hitchens have claimed that he wasn't expressing a view but conducting a thought experiment. But he didn't say "What would happen if...?", he said "There's a definite urge - don't you have it? - to say....". The nudge-nudge of "Don't you have it?" makes it abundantly clear where Amis's sympathies lie on the matter. I assume he would not have said in the aftermath of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon "There's a definite urge - don't you have it? - to firebomb synagogues and assault Jews in the street". Doubtless some people had such an urge, as they doubtless do with the one in Amis's interview. But one may, I think, be certain that Amis would have been careful to distance himself from any suggestion of sympathy with the former. Yet given ample opportunity for such distancing in the present case, what does he come up with?

Well, let's look in Saturday's Guardian. Apparently:

"I DO NOT "ADVOCATE" ANY DISCRIMINATORY TREATMENT OF MUSLIMS. AND I NEVER HAVE. And no one with the slightest respect for truth can claim otherwise."

Well, in the same way as Judith Weiss of Kesher Talk didn't "advocate" the nuclear destruction of Iran via a false-flag sneak attack. She simply reported someone else's advocacy thereof and described it as one of those "Things that make you go "Hmmm". Actually, Amis's hypocrisy is worse than Weiss's, because Amis can't even point to someone else and claim to be reporting their views. The "urge" he describes (do I feel it? no) is all his own work.

So OK, Martin: you are content to stand by while others more honest than you about their views do the dirty work of discriminating against Muslims. And no one with the slightest familiarity with the English language can claim otherwise.

"The Muslim community will have to suffer.........Discriminatory stuff, until it hurts the whole community".

(In fact, even he doesn't claim they aren't his views. Later in the piece he says:

The comments I made, in addition, were prefaced by the following: "There's a definite urge to say..." When Bennett wonders why I don't "recant", what does he expect me to do? Pretend that I didn't in fact experience this transient impulse (which was not racist but simply retaliatory)? Does he want - do you want - novelists to sound like politicians, or like the pious post-historical automata that Bennett and Eagleton claim to be? Do you want the voice of the individual, or the aggressive purity of the ideologue?

So he admits to feeling the emotions he previously denied having, but says it's OK because it was only a "transient" "retaliatory" impulse, and justifies it as the "voice of the individual". What a pompous, self-regarding twat.)

Amis goes on, spewing out risible drive-by comparisons of the Guardian issue in which he was first taken to task to Julius Streicher's Der Stürmer, and claiming that he isn't concerned with race at all but with ideology. Ah, right: so strip-searching "people who look like they're from the Middle East or Pakistan" isn't racist? Because, as anyone who has been watching the news this week from Khartoum will know, all Muslim extremists look like that, and the black chappies we've been watching on TV are all above suspicion. Plus, one would never find, on a casual search of, say, Glasgow or Bradford, any British people who "look like they're from Pakistan", would one? No, this isn't about labelling as a suspected terrorist everyone of Arab or South Asian ethnicity (many of whom will be Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist or who knows what else), but about ideology. Right. So the guy who runs my local Nepalese restaurant is clearly more ideologically unsound than a bloke in Khartoum with a bloody great sword demanding death for Gillian Gibbons. Or than Timothy McVeigh, or Theodore Kaczynski the Unabomber. He justs look ideologically, er, brown, rather than black or white. (Oh, or yellow: remember Aum Shinrikyo?)

Actually, maybe Amis doesn't realise that Britain is full of brown people. After all, he takes several paragraphs to tell us that he'd never seen a black person until he was five or six; perhaps he has yet to see a British Asian. Yet it's Ronan Bennett who "thinks like an idiot" for suggesting that he is "hostile to Islam on racial grounds - a self-evident absurdity". Well, OK, yes, I think we've now worked out that it's the other way round: that Amis is hostile to brown people on Islamophobic grounds. Glad to have cleared that up. Silly Ronan Bennett.

Finally, lacking the guts either to own up to his racist and Islamophobic attitudes (which become more evident every time the fool opens his mouth or sits at a keyboard) or to distance himself from his odious remarks, Amis does what far-right ideologues (oh, what, so now it's not about ideology?) always do: he misrepresents, he lies, and finally stoops to abuse. Ronan Bennett, according to Amis, "appease(s) jihadism", which is

irrationalist, misogynist, homophobic, inquisitional, totalitarian and imperialist. And it isn't merely "racist". It is genocidal.

I think I like the scare quotes round "racist" best. A fine piece of wriggling by a lethally-punctured ultra-rightist windbag. Who isn't merely racist, but a racist, xenophobic, self-deluding, hypocritical liar.

Let me finish with the only belly-laugh in Amis's article. As befits someone whose celebrity is largely derived from that of his infinitely more talented father, Amis can't resist dropping names. Here he's dropping that of a fellow xenophobic, self-deluding, hypocritical liar:

When I interviewed Tony Blair earlier this year I asked him if continental demographics had yet become "a European conversation". He said: "It's a subterranean conversation." And we know what that means.

Well actually, Mr Amis, we don't. It doesn't make sense; it isn't even English. It's as flaccid and devoid of meaning as most Amis (or Blair) pronouncements, and a prime candidate for Pseuds' Corner.

Now piss off and don't go wasting any more of the Guardian's newsprint until you've acquired a little knowledge of the world you live in and of the civilised values you pretend to care for.

2 Comments:

At 03 December, 2007 13:57, Blogger Rob Jubb said...

The thing that really gives the game away is who he thinks it's appropriate to retaliate against; not Islamists, who at times he seems capable of distinguishing from Muslims in general, but anyone who is stereotypically Muslim-looking. Wanting to collectively punish people not on grounds of actual complicity in the crimes committed but on simple grounds of ethnicity: that has to be racism.

 
At 04 December, 2007 14:40, Blogger Chip said...

I am amazed you could actually finish your blog... about a third the way through I was fairly livid about the way Amis thinks so highly of himself and has the audacity to believe we think (or at least should think) like him.

 

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