Salman Rushdie

  • Aired:  09/18/12
  •  | Views: 68,391

"Joseph Anton" author Salman Rushdie remembers the moment he learned of Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa, and also discusses the a**hole behind "Innocence of Muslims." (7:50)

>> Jon: MY GUEST TONIGHT IS BEST SELLING AUTHOR, HIS NEW BOOK IS A MEMOIR CALLED "JOSEPH ANTON."

PLEASE WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM SALMAN RUSHDIE.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) HOW ARE YOU?

>> NOT SO BAD, THANK YOU.

>> Jon: UM, WOW.

(LAUGHTER) "OWE JOSEF ANTON: A MEMOIR." YOU WENT THROUGH HELL.

BUT I THINK IT'S VERY DIFFICULT TO PLACE YOURSELF IN SOMEONE ELSE'S SHOES UNTIL YOU READ ABOUT IT IN VIVID AND QUITE

BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN PROSE.

>> OH, THANK YOU.

>> Jon: OH, YOU'RE VERY WELCOME.

DESCRIBE THAT-- IT'S SORT OF THIS INCREDIBLE DAY, IT'S VALENTINE'S DAY.

GO THROUGH THE DAY YOU FIND OUT THAT ANOTHER NATION'S LEADER HAS SINGLED YOU OUT TO DIE FOR A BOOK YOU WROTE.

>> WELL, I WAS SITTING AT HOME, I GOT CALLED AT HOME BY THE BBC.

>> Jon: THIS ISES PRETWITTER?

(LAUGHTER)

>> PRETWITTER, PREFACEBOOK, THERE'S NO CELL PHONE.

THERE'S JUST FAX MACHINES.

REMEMBER THOSE?

>> Jon: I DO REMEMBER THOSE.

(LAUGHTER)

>> WELL, THAT'S HOW LONG AGO IT WAS.

ANYWAY, THE PHONE RINGS, A LAND LINE PHONE JON.

(LAUGHTER).

>> Jon: WITH, LIKE, A CORD?

(LAUGHTER)

>> YES, WITH, LIKE, A CORD.

WITH THE HANDLE ATTACHED TO THIS--

>> Jon: LIKE A LIME GREEN KITCHEN PHONE AND YOU'RE JUST TALKING AROUND LIKE-- YOU'RE IN A ROBE MAKING A SMOOTHIE, WHATEVER.

>> EXACTLY, HUMMING EARLY BEATLES SONGS.

>> Jon: YES!

>> ANYWAY, THIS WOMAN SAYS TO ME ON THE PHONE "HOW DOES IT FEEL THAT-TO-KNOW THAT YOU'VE JUST

BEEN SENTENCED TO DEATH BY THE YATOLLAH KHOMEINI?"A I THOUGHT "GOOD QUESTION." (LAUGHTER) AND I SAID SOMETHING STUPID

LIKE, YOU KNOW, IT DOESN'T FEEL THAT GOOD.

AND THAN I RAN DOWN STAIRS AND RIDICULOUSLY LOCKED THE FRONT DOOR.

(LAUGHTER) SO THEN IT WAS OKAY.

>> Jon: RIGHT, RIGHT.

PULL THE BLINDS.

>> YEAH, EXACTLY.

>> Jon: IT DOESN'T START TO DAWN ON YOU-- IT'S SO INTERESTING, TOO.

YOU WRITE ABOUT THIS AS SORT OF TH-T ANOTHER PERSON.

>> WELL, IT SORT OF WAS ANOTHER PERSON, YOU KNOW?

I-- I FELT-- I MEAN I FEEL NOW LIKE THAT WAS HAPPENING TO SOMEBODY ELSE.

AND I WROTE THE BOOK BECAUSE I-- LIKE A NOVEL BECAUSE I FELT THAT SOMEHOW MY LIFE TURNED INTO A SORT OF SPY NOVEL.

SUDDENLY THERE WERE ARMED POLICEMEN AND THERE WERE-- I WAS TAKE ON THE THE JAMES BOND BUILDING ON THE THAMES WITH

PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY HAD DOUBLE-O PREFIXES AND THEN I WAS BEING TOLD THAT THERE WERE ASSASSINATION SQUADS ON THE WAY

FROM SOMEWHERE, YOU KNOW?

AND I MEAN THIS IS KIND OF-- NOW IT MAKES A GOOD BOOK.

AT THE TIME NOT SO GOOD.

(LAUGHTER).

>> Jon: SURE.

THERE ARE OTHER WAYS TO GET GOOD MATERIAL FOR A BOOK.

SEBASTIAN JUNKER WILL SOMETIMES CLIMB SOMETHING.

>> Jon: I THINK IF YOU CAN AVOID BEING SENTENCED TO DEATH BY THE AOEU TOE LACOMBE MAINNY AND HAVE DEATH SQUADS, AVOID IT.

(LAUGHTER).

>> Jon: SO ALL TOGETHER THE LESSON HERE IS NOT REALLY WORTH A GOOD BOOK.

>> WELL, YOU KNOW, I'M A WRITER.

I MEAN, SEBASTIAN JUNGER CLIMBS MOUNTAINS, I DO STUFF FOR BOOKS.

>> Jon: WHEN YOU LOOK AT WHAT'S GOING ON TODAY, IS IT LIKE WATCHING THE SEQUEL TO A TERRIBLE MOVIE THAT YOU WERE

INVOLVED IN AND NOW OBVIOUSLY YOU'RE HAPPY IT'S STARRING A DIFFERENT ACTOR OR--

>> EXCEPT IT'S GOTTEN A (BLEEP) IN THE CENTRAL ROLE.

(LAUGHTER).

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

>> Jon: SO THIS IS VERY INTERESTING.

SO YOU LOOK AT THE GUY IN THE CENTRAL ROLE HERE AND FOR YOU YOU GO, OKAY, THAT GUYS AN AS (BLEEP).

IS IT STILL-- DOES YOUR HEART GO OUT TO HIM OR DO YOU FEEL LIKE, OH, WELL THIS GUY WAS TRYING TO BE PROVOCATIVE.

YOU WERE NOT TRYING TO BE PROVOCATIVE.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE IN YOUR MIND?

>> WELL, LOOK WE HAVE TO DEFEND HIS RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH.

WE HAVE TO.

THE FIRST AMENDMENT IS ONE OF THE MOST VALUABLE THINGS WE HAVE.

BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN WE HAVE TO NOT SAY HE'S A JERK.

>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> BECAUSE EVEN JERKS HAVE THE RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH BUT THEY'RE STILL JERKS AND HE DID SOMETHING

CLEARLY IN ORDER TO INCITE A RESPONSE.

>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> AND THE SAD THING IS THAT HE GOT EXACTLY THE RESPONSE HE WAS TRYING TO INCITE ONLY IN SPADES.

SO IT'S LIKE BOTH SIDES KIND OF COLLABORATING TO CREATE THIS CALAMITY.

>> Jon: AND WHAT IS-- WHAT IS THIS CALAMITY?

BECAUSE ULTIMATELY IS THIS AN EXERCISE IN LEADERS OF OTHER COUNTRIES FINDING A DISTRACTION?

HOW MUCH OF THIS DO YOU FEEL LIKE WAS HEART FELT INSULT ON THEIR PART AND HOW MUCH OF IT WAS CYNICAL MANIPULATION OF THE POPULATION?

>> I THINK IT'S MOSTLY CYNICAL MANIPULATION.

I THINK NOW UNFORTUNATELY IN PARTS OF THE ISLAMIC WORLD THERE'S A KIND OF OUTRAGE INDUSTRY, YOU KNOW?

WHERE PEOPLE ARE THERE TRYING TO FINE THINGS THAT THEY CAN THEN WIND UP THE TROOPS AND LAUNCH THEM, USUALLY AT AMERICAN TARGETS.

>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> YOU KNOW, IF YOU HAVE THE LEADER OF HEZBOLLAH SAYING THAT THIS WAS ALL PLANNED BY U.S.

INTELLIGENCE--

>> Jon: THEY HAVE NOT SEEN WHAT WE CAN DO.

(LAUGHTER) WE DON'T PULL A LOT OF THIS STUFF UP.

YOU KNOW, WHAT STRUCK ME IS THIS COMES FROM YOUTUBE AND IT'S SOME GUY.

IS IT BECAUSE IN THAT PART OF THE WORLD THE GOVERNMENT DOES CONTROL A LOT OF THE MATERIAL THAT COMES OUT SO THEY HAVE A

HARD TIME IMAGINING JUST INDIVIDUALS UPLOADING SOMETHING ON THEIR OWN?

>> OR THEY CAN BE FOOLED TO THINK THAT IT'S SOMEHOW PART OF THE GOVERNMENT.

THE GOVERNMENT HAD TO APPROVE IT BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, YOU LIVE A PART OF THE WORLD THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAS TO APPROVE EVERYTHING.

IF YOU WANT TO TAKE A PHOTOGRAPH OF YOUR WIFE, THE GOVERNMENT HAS TO APPROVE IT.

BUT IT'S-- NO, IT IS REALLY A POWER PLAY.

THIS IS PEOPLE TRYING TO BID UP FROM EACH OTHER ABOUT WHO GETS TO SHAPE THE FUTURE OF THAT PART OF THE WORLD.

>> Jon: IT WAS INTERESTING.

EVEN IN IRAN WHEN THEY WERE DOING THE GREEN REVOLUTION RIGHT AFTER THE ELECTION THERE AND AHMADINEJAD WAS REELECTED IN

IRAQ AND ACCUSATIONS OF FRAUD EVEN THEN THE GOVERNMENT WAS SAYING "THESE ARE NOT OUR PEOPLE RISING UP, THESE ARE WESTERN

AGENTS WHIPPING UP, THESE ARE SABOTEURS."

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

>> Jon: THERE IS NEVER ANY SENSE THAT THERE'S FALLIBILITY.

>> NO, IT'S ALWAYS DEFLECTED INTO AN ANTI-WESTERN-- ONE OF THE THINGS I TRY TO SAY IN THE BOOK IS THAT WHAT HAPPENED TO ME

WAY BACK IN THE DAYS OF FAX MACHINES WAS A KIND OF PRELUDE, A KIND OF PROLOGUE, IF YOU LIKE, TO WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW.

BECAUSE I THINK YOU CAN DRAW A STRAIGHT LINE FROM THEN TO NOW AND SEE THE GROWTH OF THIS PHENOMENON OF SORT OF ORGANIZED OUTRAGE.

>> Jon: AND WHAT STOPS IT?

IN YOUR MIND IS IT EVERYONE STANDING UP AT ONCE OR IS IT SOMETHING THAT HAS TO BURN OUT WITHIN ITS OWN POPULATION?

>> I THINK UNFORTUNATELY THAT, PROBABLY.

AND I THINK THERE'S TIMES THAT IT DOES.

I MEAN, YOU KNOW, THE RULE OF THE AOEU TOE LA IS NOT POPULAR IN IRAN.

THE RULE OF THE TALIBAN WAS NOT POPULAR IN AFGHANISTAN.

SO THIS STUFF DOES SEEM TO TAKE OVER, PARTICULARLY ATTRACT YOUNG MEN WITH NOTHING BETTER TO DO, NO GIRLFRIENDS.

(LAUGHTER).

>> Jon: RIGHT.

OH, MY GOD, THIS COULD ALL BE SOLVED BY J-DATE.

WELL, NOT J-DATE, BUT I-DATE.

THAT COULD DO IT.

YOU HAVE TO GO, YOU'RE RUNNING.

OTHERWISE WE WOULD TALK FOR--

>> OTHERWISE I'D STAY HERE.

>> Jon: YOU'D STAY HERE FOR THINGS.

"JOSEPH ANTON." IT'S ON THE BOOKSHELVES NOW.

AN INCREDIBLE STORY.

SALMAN RUSHDIE, EVERYBODY.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

Loading...