Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Maher, Rushdie, and Charlie

by Catherine Giordano 
Salmon Rushdie Quote on Freedom of Speech
Salmon Rushdie Quote on Freedom of Speech

I’m always glad to see Salman Rushdie on the panel of Real Time with Bill Maher and never more so than on episode 338 which aired on January 9, 2015. At one point he said, “I have a little experience with this.” He was referring to the fact that a tatwa had been issued against him urging all Muslims to kill him because of his heresy. He was also raised as a Muslim so he understands the religion from the inside. Rushdie had the relative good fortune to have the threat against him made publically so he could go into hiding for years; the staff at Charlie Hebdo did not have a direct warning.
“We are the side show.”
Rushdie explained the true reasons for Islamic terrorism. “We are the side show,” he said. “This is a project to seize power in the Muslim world. They want to create a mindset that allows them to conquer the world of Islam.” He later added, “It is the fight inside Islam that is important. Inside Islam there is a powerful group that wants to drag the world back to the 7th century.” 
“They share the same bad ideas.”
Bill Maher repeated the point that he repeatedly made on his show and elsewhere. “The majority of Muslims would never do anything like this, but they share the same bad ideas. The terrorists and the mainstream Muslims share the same ideas.”

 Rushdie pointed out that the reaction after the Charlie Hebdo massacre was different.  Muslims stood up and said, “Not in our name.”
“To a coward courage always looks like stupidity.”
Rushdie commented on those who criticize the writers, scholars and artists who stand up against bigotry. He called them, the “but-brigade” as in “Yes, I believe in free speech, BUT maybe you shouldn’t have done that.” 

Rushdie said that those who speak out are told to “Sit down, you are rocking the boat.” His response to those who would try to silence critics was: “What we can do is “not give a f*@king inch.” Also, “We have to rock the boat. It’s our function. What would a respectful political cartoon look like?”
Maher quoted “The Financial Times: “Common sense should be useful at publications which purport to strike a blow for freedom when they provoke Muslims, but are actually being stupid.”  

Maher replied, “To a coward courage always looks like stupidity.”

Here is he YouTube video of the discussion:

Unfortunately, the discussion was marred by the demented jack-in-the-box, on the panel, Carly Fiorina, who just wouldn’t shut up. Fast forward through her comments. They are a distraction. I wish someone would make a video where they pull the smart quotes and edit out the distractions.
Rushdie and Maher could barely contain their disdain for her interruptions, but every time they tried to shut her down she popped up again. Maher and Rushdie tried to ignore her, but she was shouting and pounding the table. And she would not shut up! She made me feel like I was at a party cornered by some self-centered full-of-herself bore that I just couldn’t escape. Watch her facial expressions. She is so smug, so sure that she is gifting up with her “gems-of-wisdom.” I had such a visceral reaction of disgust. And she would not shut up!

Read the full review and recap of the show: No Joking

Bill Maher’s Guests for January 19, 2015.

Salmon Rushdie: author of several books including Joseph Anton: A Memoir (about the time he spent in hiding because there was a fatwa calling for his murder due to his book, The Satanic Verses: A Novel) and his latest novel, Shame: A Novel
Paul Begala: Democratic campaign strategist and author of many books on politics including his newest one assessing the possible 2016 candidates, 2016 Scouting Report: American Bridge's Media Guide to the Republican Presidential Bench
Jay Leno. Former host of The Tonight Show, (See Behind the Curtain: An Insider’s View of Jay Leno’s Tonight Show by Dave Berg) He is currently doing two shows about cars: Garage which can be seen on YouTube and a car show for CNBC. 
Chris Hardwick: Comedian, actor, screenwriter, musician, podcaster, television host for @Midnight on Comedy Central, author of The Nerdist Way: How to Reach the Next Level (In Real Life)

Carly Fiorina, former business executive, failed U.S. Senate candidate (R CA), author of Tough Choices: A Memoir