Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sunny Hundal vs Martin Amis: Hundal Says "He's a Bigoted and Ignorant Fool" Amis Says "Who He?"

Didn't see or read a transcript of Martin Amis in conversation at the ICA. Apparently alluding en passant to the idea that some people might hold that Muslims in general should get their house in order or face some cold shoulders. Not his own idea exactly. But one others might have that he mentioned.

From what little I have read about the gig, this was some discursive and live free thinking. Not a long-sweated sentence in some considered piece. But not necessarily something he would not have written.

Whatever, this is from the University of Manchester chef de mission literature-ally. And not someone completely dim, bigoted and ignorant.

Sunny Hundal seems to think otherwise and speaks of cheap soundbites.

For myself, I thought that the Martin Amis idea of "species consciousness" coined almost immediately after the 11 September 2001 attacks was rather brilliant and potentially transformative.


Anonymous said...

He said more than asking them to get their house in order. Please see the full quote. If that isn't the throught-process of a fascist, I don't know what is.

Chris Paul said...

Mmmm. Surely it was a discursive point rather than a recommendation? Mr Eagleton has been a right trotty trouble maker. Has he not? And I very much like the species consciousness idea that Amis had following 9-11.

Seems to me that trumps outlining a train of thought that does exist in society - including yes in the BNP ranks but also I'd guess in polite company - and that does have to be dealt with.

In fact it probably supercedes it. Having had all sorts of thoughts and ideas in that peculiar week in September 2001 Amis came up with species consciousness which is now an enduring theme.

Mr Amis was clearly NOT recommending that thought pattern. He was identifying it. And moving on from it. He's not one to suppress his expression of ideas now is he?

Immediately after 9-11 moving among ultra liberal Americans on the web I found one - a lawyer I think and certainly a generally politically sound and generally liberal one - not only mentioning but also supporting the idea of sealing off Afghanistan and executing everyone found living within it.

They got over that. Quite quickly. I helped!

PS Is YAB actually Sufi inclined? MA's remarks seem to make more sense of Sufi than Shia??

Anonymous said...

Mr Eagleton has been a right trotty trouble maker. Has he not?

Maybe, but he has the right to take umbrage at what was basically a fascist expression of ideas. Why is it ok to have a go at the BNP for their loony ideas, but when some writer expresses them, then people start um-ing and ah-ing?

Mr Amis was clearly NOT recommending that thought pattern. He was identifying it.

Sure. He was expressing an urge to lock up all Muslims until 'they' got their houses in order. I have an urge to stick my boot in his mouth too as a result of that :)

My urge too quickly dissapated since I don't want to wreck expensive boots, but the point is I have a legitimate right to pull him up on it and call him a fascist.

They got over that. Quite quickly. I helped!

Some people are stupid. We know this. But why should I have to tolerate their stupidity and not call them out on it?

PS Is YAB actually Sufi inclined? MA's remarks seem to make more sense of Sufi than Shia??

Amis has no clue about Islam. Not all Shia are Sufis and Sufis may also be Sunni. She is Ismaili Muslim. They are also Muslim, but follow the Aga Khan.

Chris Paul said...

Thanks for the clarification on YAB.

You have called Amis out on one point, perhaps properly an aside, in an interview he gave some time ago. And you have taken it out of context.

That doesn't seem like much of a challenge to you nor very fair to Mr Amis.

If he was expressing an urge of his own at all it was one that he had overcome? And if an urge on the part of others an urge that he found unhelpful and wrong?


Anonymous said...

And you have taken it out of context.

How's the context different to what I've seen it as?

My problem isn't the urge he has. My problem is that he's still taken seriously as an intellectual after an urge (that he only withdrew once all this came to light) something that is frankly fascist. Soon, more people will start legitimising it as an 'urge' and then we'll end up in a police state.

Chris Paul said...

Come on Sunny.

According to the coverage he recanted this thought experiment of an urge AT THE TIME he confessed to it. That's 14 months ago.

And it was not something he wrote as Eagleton has repeatedly claimed. It was part of a long and discursive interview/conversation.

Amis thinks Islamism is a hell of a problem. Don't you?

And he thinks Islam - as all other religious constructs - has some elemental problems. Don't you?

You may feel that the fleeting thoughts - which he recanted even as he revealed them - equate to fascist thoughts rather than anything else.

But I really don't think Amis is a fascist. I don't think he gives them succour.

He is a novellist and opinionist first and foremost with a new line in academicist but he is surely not a "fascist" if that is you give that word the weight that those who use it around say food and body image deny it.

And his views - mostly the fleeting ones rather than say the excellent "Species Consciousness" idea - are now getting out of context rehearsal and oxygen of publicity and I think misrepresentation from people who paradoxically want to oppose that train of thought.

As Amis did at the time. 14 months ago.