Matters of Degree

Between the attack on Salman Rushdie, and book banners in the US. Both motivated by religion and ideology to suppress the thoughts of others.

NY Times, Jay Root et al, 12 Aug 2022: Salman Rushdie is attacked onstage in Western New York.

Mr. Rushdie had effectively been living under a death sentence since 1989, about six months after the publication of his novel “The Satanic Verses,” which fictionalized parts of the life of the Prophet Muhammad with depictions that many Muslims found offensive and some considered blasphemous.

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran after the 1979 Iranian Revolution, issued a religious edict known as a fatwa on Feb. 14, 1989, ordering Muslims to kill Mr. Rushdie. A price was put on his head of several million dollars. Mr. Rushdie, who lived in London at the time, went into hiding, and moved into a fortified safe house under the protection of the British police for most of the next 10 years.


NYT, Hurubie Meko, 12 Aug 2022: Stabbing sends ripples of ‘shock and horror’ through the literary world


Slate, Nitish Pahwa, 12 Aug 2022: Why the Attack on Salman Rushdie Is So Shocking

Subtitled: “Despite the famous threats against the author, there had been good reasons to believe they were in the past.”


The New Yorker, Robin Wright, 14 Aug 2022: Ayatollah Khomeini Never Read Salman Rushdie’s Book

Photo caption: “Khomeini often capitalized on issues that distracted public attention from the Iranian Revolution’s fissures and failures.”

(Sounds like Republicans.)


BBC, 14 Aug 2022: Salman Rushdie off ventilator and able to talk


We thought book bans in the US were a thing of the past too. But the Christians remain restless.

Salon, Gretchen Corsillo, 14 Aug 2022: When they came for the librarians: My profession is under attack — what happens now?

Subtitle: “People in my profession are used to mockery and low salaries. We didn’t expect constant insults and real danger”

So what happens when you come after librarians? If things keep getting worse, there is little incentive for us to remain in the field. We are categorically underpaid, and especially for those living in deep red states, the fear of losing our jobs over political differences is very real. With a recent high-profile study highlighting the trauma that library workers face, how can you blame us? Thanks to budget and staffing cuts, many of us are also chronically overworked. It wasn’t until I took my current job about two years ago that I could finally afford not to work a second job on top of full-time library work.

If librarians leave the field in droves, as teachers are doing right now, we have too much to lose as a society.

We will lose access to one of the last free, open and climate-controlled community spaces where people from all walks of life can gather freely.

We will lose a wealth of knowledge, experience and passion that helps connect readers with the right books.

We will lose a tremendous weapon in the fight against false information and fake news.

We will lose creative thinkers who work tirelessly to plan fun and informative events for you and your family, free of charge.

Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “I have an unshaken conviction that democracy can never be undermined if we maintain our library resources and a national intelligence capable of utilizing them.” In other words, if we lose our librarians, we lose a core element of our democracy. It’s time to stand up for our librarians and their institutions before it’s too late.

\ Right-Wingers Are Taking Over Library Boards to Remove Books on Racism


And there is the Facebook meme (which I can’t find a link for now) suggesting that, if public libraries had not already been invented, the idea of a public institution offering a wide range of books for free loans would have been attacked (by the right) as being irredeemable socialist.

Maybe this has finally occurred to Republicans who, if they can’t uninvent public libraries, are doing their best to inhibit them.

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