Dagger in hand

A man of prodigious fortune, coming to add his opinion to some light discussion that was going on casually at his table, began precisely thus: "It can only be a liar or an ignoramus who will say otherwise than," and so on. Pursue that philosophical point, dagger in hand.

--Michel de Montaigne, Of the art of discussion.

Stab back: cmnewman99-at-yahoo.com


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Wednesday, September 18, 2002
BIENVENUE: For the convenience of those sent here by Emmanuelle, the most meaty (though far from only) Fallaci-related posts are the following:

This is a response to a rabid anti-Fallaci review by Rana Kabbani in the Guardian.

This is an account of a lawsuit Fallaci filed in Italy that involves the (somewhat overblown) claim that death threats were made against her by a certain Muslim writer.

I don't have any translations posted on this website. Mine were unauthorized, and there is now an authorized one, entitled The Rage and the Pride. It's available for preorder on amazon, and they're now giving October as the publication date. If you're interested in the article Fallaci wrote about the response to her book in France, send me an email.

By the way, I don't recall the "a billion rats" quote appearing in Fallaci's book. (I'm certain it wasn't in the original article.) I know Kabbani quoted a passage purportedly describing Muslim immigrants as "breeding like rats." I'm going to have to go back and look at the book to check these passages. There were definitely things in there that I wish she hadn't said, or hadn't said quite the way she did, things that threatened to detract from the moral force of her message and provide gratuitous and easy targets for those who'd like to dismiss her completely. Fallaci is right to reject the claim that it is racist to condemn Islamist oppression and violence. Nor is it necessarily racist to excoriate illegal immigrants when they invoke the legal protections granted them by a society while showing flagrant disrespect for its culture and citizenry. Nevertheless, Fallaci paints with a brush rather broader than might be desired of one trying to maintain these distinctions, and one need not accept the strictures of political correctness to wince at some of her rhetorical choices. The ironic point, however, is that we have to take these flaws seriously only because our culture, the culture Fallaci is trying to defend, believes in tolerance, objectivity, individualism, freedom. I find it unbearably grotesque to imagine her being haled into court to answer for the "crime" of a tactless metaphor to victims whose cries of outrage will no sooner have died down than they are back at home repeating the blood libel to their children.

(No, this doesn't really count as a post, Adam.)

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