Likelihood of Success

Ron Coleman’s pretty good blog

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day

Posted by Ron Coleman on June 18, 2007

Canute the GreatThe “Literary world applauds Rushdie knighthood.”

What’s not to like? If you can remember whathisname’s promise, why, you can remember that date in 2007 when Likelihood of Success agreed with the “Literary World” on something besides the fact that publishers never support their authors sufficiently and that it’s too humid in New York during July and August.

But what can we do? When they’re right, they’re right. I like this bit, as the British would say:

John Sutherland, academic and former Booker prize judge, suggested the award might represent a tacit olive branch from those who perhaps had failed to support Sir Salman as he might have hoped.

“It’s astonishing that Tony Blair, among others, has been so reluctant to be seen shaking Rushdie’s hand, and here he is getting a knighthood from the Queen,” said the emeritus professor of literature.

Not the most literary sentence, but as sentences go it does beat a fatwah. And we all get the point. Jolly good show.

And now we have an answer to the question, Why does England need a monarch? Perhaps, from time to time, to remind a once-great nation of its better self. I’m not the only one to notice that this makes an interesting moment for the monarchy’s greatest critic, Christopher Hitchens, and one of Rushdie’s biggest supporters: “Now that Rushdie has been royally evevated to a status Hitch must necessarily despise, it will be fascinating to see how Hitch handles the public congratulations for his old friend.” Yes, it usually is with him, anyway, one way or another.

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