[lit-ideas] Re: Five Years Ago

  • From: "Simon Ward" <sedward@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2006 10:08:05 +0100

"I know that Simon suggested that only Eric and I read Martin Amis' article, 
but others might be interested."

My words were "I can confidently say that this will appeal more to 
Lawrence and Eric", there was certainly no attempt to make it an exclusive 

This is Amis, not a hack and to understand it properly you have to take note of 
the context. Read my earlier reply to Eric. In short, you don't have to agree 
with the man to understand what he's doing. Additionally, it's important to 
realise that his essay was an argument against religion in general. Once past 
his narrative prologue, Amis says it straight:

"Today, in the West, there are no good excuses for religious belief - unless we 
think that ignorance, reaction and sentimentality are good excuses."

This is straight out of 'the Hitch' and that says it all, but the undercurrent 
is that by moving along a religious path, those advocates of superstition in 
the west are moving towards the fundamentalists in the east not away from them. 
Robert's subsequent message was very much to the point, there's a fine line 
between the Westboro Baptists and Islamists.

Typically, however, Lawrence seems to be extracting those morsel that he finds 
most paletable. 


  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Lawrence Helm 
  To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
  Sent: Tuesday, September 12, 2006 3:20 AM
  Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Five Years Ago

  In the Martin Amis three-part article Simon asked Eric and me to read, Amis 
says "Suicide-mass murder is astonishingly alien, so alien, in fact that 
Western opinion ahs been unable to formulate a rational response to it.  A 
rational response would something like an unvarying factory siren of unanimous 
disgust.  But we haven't managed that.  What we have managed, on the whole, is 
a murmur of dissonant evasion."  

  Mike Geary's dissonant evasion reads, " . . . we were attacked again by 
people we've known for some time are desperate to get our attention"?  

  Furthermore Mike tells us that though it was "an horrendous crime," it wasn't 
all that horrendous: " . . . it was a minimal military and material threat to 
our existence as a nation."  Why Mike should tell us that is a mystery inasmuch 
as these attention-seekers, bless their little poor hearts, prefer civilian 

  Mike tells us that the greater crime was our being stuffy about it:  Such 
that "we would probably kill tens of thousands of innocent, very poor people in 
revenge that would accomplish nothing."  The poorness of these people should 
exonerate them from their crimes or at least reduce the horrendousness of them, 
but we are heartless as well as greedy: Our "blood-lust would make billions for 
many American corporations."

  Which, Mike tells us, is a dirty rotten shame because our neither our 
blood-lust nor our corporate greed is going to solve the problem, not the "root 
causes of 9/11" which scholar after scholar (Mike doesn't read scholars so I'll 
fill this in for him) tell us is a virulent Jihadist ideology formulated by 
Sayyid Qutb.  See Martin Amis' article: Part One:  
http://observer.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,,1868732,00.html  Part Two: 
http://observer.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,,1868743,00.html  and Part Three: 

  I know that Simon suggested that only Eric and I read Martin Amis' article, 
but others might be interested.  Amis is another literary type so might not be 
of interest to the fat-loving Jack Spratt but others might enjoy it.  Of 
course, not Andreas because it won't fit in with any of his pre-conceived 
ideas.  Nor, since the article is long will it be of interested to those with 
short attention spans, but there might be one or two beyond Simon, Eric and I 
who will want to read it.


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