January 20, 2015

Salman Rushdie - Avoid politeness, Ctd

Salman Rushdie by Ralph Steadman
In a conversation with Christopher Hitchens, Salman Rushdie said that respect proper means that you can take someone seriously and still disagree with them:
"One of the most mealy mouthed pieces of language that has developed to justify this kind of behaviour is a kind of reinvention of the meaning of the word "respect". It seemed to me when I was growing up that respect meant that you took people seriously. It didn’t mean that you never disagreed with them. To respect someone is to say we’ll take on what you have to say and if I don’t agree with it I will offer a counter argument. The idea that it would be disrespectful to someone in any way disagree from this system of belief is a new idea, is a new meaning of the term "respect" and it seems to me to have nothing to do with respect. And what it actually means is I am too afraid to do it. So what you have is cowardice masquerading as respect. And that’s become more and more common. It’s very clear in the case of the [Danish] cartoons."
Read Salman's response to the Charlie Hebdo attack here, where he said:
"Charlie Hebdo attacked everything: Muslims, the Pope, Israel, Rabbis, black people and white people, gay people and straight people. It has attacked every kind of human being, because what? It was making fun. It’s strategy was to make fun of people. And it was seen as that: it was very loved, these cartoonists were beloved in France. 
And now, the moment somebody says, “yes I believe in free speech, BUT,” I stop listening. 
You know: “I believe in free speech, but people should behave themselves.” “I believe in free speech, but we shouldn’t upset anybody.” “I believe in free speech but let us not go too far.” 
The point about it is the moment you limit free speech, it is not free speech. The point is that is was free. You can dislike Charlie Hebdo, not all their drawings are funny, but the fact that you dislike them has nothing to do with their right to speak. The fact that you don’t like them in no way excuses their murder."

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