Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Rushdie v. the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens

You know, I actually have trouble most of the time listening to Cat Stevens, because I get sad and angry about who he was, and who he is now. See, if he had just converted, I could have lived with that. It's the madrassa, and a BBC interview I saw in maybe 2000, and the whole sitting-on-the-fence-about-a-fatwa that pushes me over the edge. I guess it's also the fact that I spent quite awhile studying moderate / extremist behaviour, both for academic credit and in my personal life, and the Cat Stevens story just strikes me as a particular tragedy of one individual's empathy and desire to connect and understand others (and, probably, impressionability) gone wrong.

Anyway, Rushdie called him on all that at a recent talk with Eli Wiesel in Toronto about human rights.

I heard Rushdie speak two years ago at Celebridée and he was his usual brilliant (if bombastic) self. Adrian Harewood also deeply shamed himself that evening by mispronouncing something Rushdie-related (I forget now; I should dig up my notes and post about that and other long-ago literary events...).

No comments:

Post a Comment