Sunday, May 16, 2010

"What literature needs most to tell and investigate today are humanity's basic fears: the fear of being left outside, and the fear of counting for nothing, and the feelings of worthlessness that come with such fears; the collective humiliations, vulnerabilities, slights, grievances, sensitivities, and imagined insults, and the nationalist boasts and inflations that are their next of kind ... Whenever I am confronted by such sentiments, and by the irrational, overstated language in which they are usually expressed, I know they touch on a darkness inside me. We have often witnessed peoples, societies and nations outside the Western world – and I can identify with them easily – succumbing to fears that sometimes lead them to commit stupidities, all because of their fears of humiliation and their sensitivities. I also know that in the West – a world with which I can identify with the same ease – and peoples taking an excessive pride in their wealth, and in their having brought us the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and Modernism, have, from time to time, succumbed to a self-satisfaction that is almost as stupid." Orhan Pamuk, from his Nobel lecture.

Four lions

Go watch this movie to see how Chris Morris looks like an ass, trying to expose the fanaticism, confusion and irrationality of a group of Islamist terrorists (surprise, surprise) without ever bothering to ask or explain why or how. I am not saying a sappy drama that made heroes of terrorists would have been good. But the other extreme isn't any better. The shallow jokes are not funny. The cast and the crew and the people in the audience who made a point of breaking into loud laughter may find themselves all cool and enlightened and hip, but they are obnoxious. The movie reminded me of the Danish cartoons, which served no purpose but to satisfy their creators.

A better use of your time would be to read this.

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