Part Two-C: The Passive-Goebbels function:
“The sexual revolution,” he says, “was the greatest social change I lived through. It was a tremendous break with the past. You could feel it in the air. You knew something was happening. It was scary and intoxicating and definitely new. Suddenly you felt all these restraints were lifting and you were wondering how you were going to navigate this.” For boys this navigation could be fraught. But “the girls had to make all the difficult choices. And the girls suffered and some of them got a bit twisted out of shape. It was a very difficult manoeuvre for them”.
Amis can be such a credulous dick, sometimes. And, clearly, the great shift of the “sexual revolution” was not in the power-proportions of the relations between Male and Female but in the fact that, for the first time on the historical record, the Underclass were given sex lives more-or-less similar to the sex lives accessible to the Aristocracy, who have been into adultery, pedophilia, date rape and bestiality since long before Catherine the Great or Caligula, even. Suddenly, the pretty young offspring of the rubbish men and the seamstresses were not just available to be fucked-unwed, without consequence, by a Lord but also by each other.
Amis’s real concern here, he says, is to demonstrate that white Western men like himself once enjoyed supremely uncomplicated relationships with Muslim girls. Far from inciting Muslims by making big-bummed, gold-digging Gloria an apostate, he thinks the book promotes a “harmonial” view of interracial or interfaith relationships. Should he choose to, Amis would be able to say, like Keith, that he is “no stranger to Islamic talent”, having, as a young man, dated girls of Persian and Pakistani origin. His point is, “you had warm feelings for someone without being aware of religion. There we all were and it was not considered. The gulf was bridgeable and was quite frequently bridged without any ill-feeling or prejudice.”
“It was only in the new century, this idea of unappeasable hostility,” he continues. “It is an absolute pillar of al-Qaedaism that we are out to destroy Islam. No we’re not. We never were. We didn’t have any feelings about Islam except that it was not us – obviously. But not that it was a threat to Christianity, or to us. There was peaceful coexistence between us that was exploded in 2001, to the astonishment of the West.”
A. Yes, those Mullahs really should be pleased that hipster infidels have been fucking (or hankering to fuck) Persian beauties up the arse since the 70s; what’s the problem?
B. Ignoring the fact, of course, that al-Qaeda is comprised of a few dozen up-for-anything-because-we’re-horny teens, a few hundred agent provocateurs and the un-acronymed branch of the CIA in charge of shaping the narrative etc.
C. “We didn’t have any feelings about Islam except that it was not us – obviously.” Don’t forget the “feelings” we had about the oil, Mart.
Is Mart being evasive or naive? This dilutes the concept of his “authority”; when I put my Imagination in a writer’s ghostly hands I need to trust that she/he is in charge of the material. Is Mart in charge of the material? A self-righteous, hyper-masculinist Ur-dick who thinks anybody who knocks his Bearded, Vaguely Levantine, Anus-Free Sky Giant deserves to have her/his throat slit is not welcome to borrow my bicycle: no. But neither is a “public intellectual” who can’t tell the difference between that, as an odious Lifestyle choice, and a Phantom Super-Target for Perpetual War straight out of the Orwell/1984 playbook. Functioning as a Passive Goebbels is not, in my opinion, part of the writerly mission statement in a post-Enlightenment Dolcetopia.
In a Simulocracy, on the other hand: 2+2 = 5.