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Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Second Most Interesting Man in the World Comes to Trinity

I once had to give away Trinity car flags to get people to read my blog. Imagine how flattered I was when Trinity President Dennis Ahlburg suggested I write a post about Salman Rushdie, who will be speaking on campus on November 7, 2011. I have to confess, all I really know about Salman Rushdie is that he angered Islamic extremists and had to hide in England, presumably among the Muggles.

The President suggested I look up the prominent author on Wikipedia, which I was actually writing down right before he said it. I believe he sized-up my academic research capabilities and wanted to extend me a starter kit. I am a little offended, although my search quickly led me to a site called Scribol and a post entitled Taylor Swift Looks Like a Blow-Up Doll. Which I guess means the President over-estimated me.

Dos Equis has decided to speak for all of us in identifying the most interesting man in the world. He played Jai-Alai and has a pet cougar, which means most of us are two steps behind right out of the gate. So if students aren't already planning on seeing Salman Rushdie, they should consider this:. Salman Rushdie may be the second most interesting man in the world.

Let's cut to the chase. First off, he was married to -- and then divorced -- someone one Web page describes as follows:

Padma Lakshmi and Salman Rushdie have announced their impending divorce. Padma is a hot Indian actress and model. Salman is the Nobel* Prize-winning author for a controversial book. The divorce was her idea, and you can understand why she wanted to split. She is 24 years younger and a Bollywood-style celebrity who enjoys the limelight. He is a reserved author with a death threat hanging over his head which pushed them into hiding. They seem like oil and water together so this divorce was inevitable.

*Turns out he has a Booker Award and not a Nobel Prize. If you can't believe "Right Celebrity" who can you trust anymore?

Wow. Where do we begin? Google him and you find entries for Salman Rushdie's Wife. That's what we call "a lead." She is hot and 24-years-younger, and he is a Booker Prize winning author who had a fatwa declared against him. A fatwa (in this case)  is like a hit - but anyone is welcome to execute it. No pun intended. Padma was his fourth wife and she married him while he was under the fatwa. Imagine: "We just don't ever do anything. All you want to do is stay at home and live. Like, how boring." She won't be a model forever. But he will always have his Booker. He's better off.

All of this presents reason number two to go see him. HE HAD A FATWA DECLARED AGAINST HIM! He wrote a book, called the Satan Diaries (or something like that), and long story short, it was maybe blasphemous, and a guy named Ayatollah Khomeini declared our lecturer must die. Talk about a tough critic. It's sorta like the anonymous posters on my blog.

My research, incidentally, also taught me that Salman Rushdie wrote a previous book that is described this way:

Midnight's Children (1981) is in part the story of a baby who was not only the result of an extramarital affair, but who was then switched at birth with a second illicit child. The hero of the novel is doubly removed from his true patrimony: His mother's husband is not his father, and the Englishman with whom his Indian mother slept—who his mother thinks is his father—is not his real father either. In addition, the hero is caught between the two great religions of Indian, Islam and Hinduism, neither of which he can claim as his own. Finally, he spends his life being shunted back and forth by circumstance between the Indian republic and its antithesis, Pakistan.

This begs the question: Why so long for the fatwa? Anyway, it is a big deal to have a fatwa plunked on you because only the fatwa-er can rescind it, and in this case, that person is deceased so the fatwa can never be rescinded. But, apparently the fatwa has been called off in spirit, though not before people who translated the book in several languages were killed for said translations. Meanwhile, Salman Rushdie is teaching at Emory.

Still not convinced to go to the lecture? How about this. Salman Rushdie is going to have his own TV show. He has done research by watching a show called Game of Thrones for homework. And here is how he describes it:

"It was garbage, yet very addictive garbage - because there's lots of violence, all the women take their clothes off all the time, and it's kind of fun. In the end, it's well produced trash, but there's room for that too."

What frat is HE in? I think it is VERY possible that late on November 7 our speaker will end up in some dorm room watching HBO with sophomores, sipping brandy, and talking trash about Emory students.

Have I mentioned that he is a Knight? More accurately he is a Knight Bachelor, which sounds even cooler.

All that aside, Salman Rushdie is a highly-regarded author and that should be reason enough to go see him. I will go see him because for one afternoon he led me down an exhilarating Internet search path that went like this: "Is Olivia Wilde still Pretty without Make-up?" (Who is Olivia Wilde?) "Mila Kunis Sexy in South Africa." (Yawn.) "Video of game-show Uranus blooper." Bingo!

Most can only dream about ever making "the most interesting man" list. More likely, November 7 will be as close as we will ever get. Come join me. And Salman.


Anonymous said...

I never knew Dean Tuttle was so witty.

gmyers said...

Funniest thing I have read in a long time. Great piece Dean Tutttle.

Jennifer Steele said...

I guess this piece is meant in fun, but why can't funny also be factual? The only thing I have learned is that, in this case, the internet has horribly failed Dean Tuttle (possibly the other way around?)

First of all, a fatwa is NOT 'like a hit'. A fatwa is ruling on a religious issue, and generally are on mundane things like marriage or social norms. Although they can be a death sentence against someone, it is rare. This belief that all fatwas are 'hits' have fueled a lot of discrimination against Muslims in this country, and I think perpetuating that misconception, even as a joke, is harmful.

Second of all, Rushdie has not won the Nobel Prize in literature, but has won a Booker Prize and many others, but no Nobel.

Third, it is Satanic Verses, not Satanic Diaries (Ok, I may see the humor in this mistake..)

Finally, what this blog seems to indicate is that Rushdie is the second most interesting man in the world because he married a hot chick. Don't get me started there, but hopefully writing wonderful fiction also ranks high in the Dean's world. Oh, and Midnight's Children is one of my favorite books, and that description is the worse I've seen.

I get that this a joke, but seriously, don't make me send the Informational Literacy people after you!

David Tuttle said...

Touche Dr. Steele. I think I read in the Trinity release about the series of speakers that included a Nobel prize winner and may have just been moving too fast. I will change it in the original post. My bad as well on the fatwa. The Satanic Diaries, as you noted, was meant in jest. Since I have not read any of the author's books and don't know that I will put him in the queue, I thought I would try to find some ways to paint a broader picture of the man. If people want to read the Trinity release I don't know that it would be enough to draw them to the lecture. Knowing that the guy had an attractive wife shouldn't do it either. But maybe people will read the post and go. Thank you for reading and commenting!

Roderick Jaynes said...

Smashing. Truly. But let's be honest; salman rusdie is Cormac Mcarthy's graham greene and y'all know it... and a poor man's graham greene at that. and how do we KNOW that the alleged "Fatwa" wasn't just an exceedingly clever conspiracy to sell more books... Hmmm??? Kinda like that whole Kardcashin wedding thing. I'm just sayin...

Anonymous said...

this post needs a "like" button

Anonymous said...

This was a great post, David. Yes, it's sad that everyone keeps mentioning Padma Lakshmi when Rushdie is mentioned, but let's face it. She is more famous than he is. And she is much better looking. And it always seemed so weird to imagine the two of them as a couple. When I told friends and family about the Rushdie visit, their first comment was almost always "Did he say anything about Padma?" Is this a sad state of affairs? Perhaps. But this is the world in which we live, and I appreciated your witty post.

As a postscript, Rushdie himself is a huge pop culture junkie, and I think he would be the first to agree that Padma is more famous and better looking.