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August 07, 2008

How do you solve a problem like Aisha?

How quickly fear stunts intelligent discourse about the Muslim world. That is not the fault of the Muslim world; that is the fault of the free world. People keep on about American security policy as a throwback to the Crusades even as they work feverishly to restore the blasphemy laws and consequent self-censorship that were part and parcel of the Dark Ages.

Starting in 2002, Spokane, Wash., journalist Sherry Jones toiled weekends on a racy historical novel about Aisha, the young wife of the prophet Muhammad. Ms. Jones learned Arabic, studied scholarly works about Aisha's life, and came to admire her protagonist as a woman of courage. When Random House bought her novel last year in a $100,000, two-book deal, she was ecstatic. This past spring, she began plans for an eight-city book tour after the Aug. 12 publication date of "The Jewel of Medina" -- a tale of lust, love and intrigue in the prophet's harem.

It's not going to happen: In May, Random House abruptly called off publication of the book. The series of events that torpedoed this novel are a window into how quickly fear stunts intelligent discourse about the Muslim world.

Would not want to offend anyone; might risk another nakba. In the West we called it "The Enlightenment". Glenn Reynolds asks:

Will other religious groups take the lesson that violence works? Because, in a world of the spineless, it does, and at very low cost. Thanks, guys, for establishing this incentive structure.

So much for feminism too, btw. Turns out all that whining and bitching only works on free men; even an implied threat of violence from the men with four wives is enough to make every women's studies department in the English-speaking world shut the hell up. And who can blame them? Having emasculated our civilization, where are there men left to defend them.

In a back asswards way, that last point gives me some cause for hope about the culture. As things get worse, men like John McCain are going to stand in stark comparison with men like Barack Obama. Nothing against Harvard law grads, but all that community organizing experience is not going to mean much when everything hits the fan. At that point, a lot of home truths are going to be remembered.

Related: Two men enter. One man leaves.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at August 7, 2008 06:47 AM


At the risk of being inappropriately frivolous, I must ask: Since when does an Arabian Nights bodice buster count as "intelligent discourse"?

Posted by: Varenius [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 7, 2008 07:22 PM

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