Michel Houellebecq's 'Submission', the state of Europe, and other related thoughts

Discussion in 'Off-topic archive (read-only)' started by Mozambiguous, Jan 7, 2015.

  1. Mozambiguous

    Mozambiguous Member

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    Who here is going to read Michel Houellebecq's 'Soumission', which hits stores today? I will, as soon as I can get hold of an English language translation. Perhaps they already have been translated, even before the French version comes out, and they're shipped abroad to be released at the same time? I'm not sure how it works, but I doubt Monsieur Houellebecq will deny publishers the right to translate his work for overseas consumption - that's the territory of a certain English singer-songwriter. [Speaking of whom, his upcoming novel could easily explore similar themes to 'Soumission', if past comments are anything to go by. Will he allow his trolling tendencies to seep into his fiction? Would he have the audacity? That's an in-depth discussion for another thread, which we'll return to at a later date.]

    http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-e...e-says-novel-is-not-islamophobic-9958954.html - Houellebecq looks more like Phil Spector with each passing year. It's a shame that his novels can't act like a 'Portrait of Dorian Gray' for him, but he seems to carry around the torment and suspicion in his everyday life.
    http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2015/01/02/scare-tactics-michel-houellebecq-on-his-new-book/ - in this picture he looks identical to A.N. Wilson. I'm not sure which is worse.
    http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02386/an-wilson-portrait_2386772b.jpg

    I've been aware of Houellebecq since two years ago when a 78 year old man walked into a French cathedral and shot himself in front of 500 people in protest against same-sex marriage legislation, and also as a warning "that the "population of France and Europe" were going to be "replaced" and brought under "Islamist control" and "sharia law".
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/w...-in-protest-against-gay-marriage-8625877.html

    Houellebecq's name came up during the ensuing furore. I note in the first article above that Houellebecq was "prosecuted and acquitted" for his comments on Islam in 2002, where he called it "the most stupid religion" in an interview. If he was tried for that, then why was Christopher Hitchens not arrested for saying basically the same thing (in fact he went a step further and called the religion's teachings "bullshit") https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tN75e5gtw4

    I clasped my head in agony when I saw this video three months ago (skip to 1:15 to see Ben Affleck blowing a gasket about Bill Maher and his guest criticising aspects of Islam, and Liberals' cowardice on the subject - if you haven't seen it already) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vln9D81eO60

    It's brave of Houellebecq to write a book about this, when you consider the Salman Rushdie fatwa, the reaction to the prophet Muhammad cartoons in a Danish newspaper in 2005, and the killing of Theo Van Gogh in 2004 because of a film where he called into question the treatment of women in Muslim societies. The film was called 'Submission' - the same as Houellebecq's book. http://www.france24.com/en/20110916...dsk-tristane-banon-socialists-hollande-royal/

    The reaction to the book is telling; there has been uproar even before its release. I'm reminded of the banning of Madame Bovary and trial of Flaubert during the 1850s and wonder if the current era is as progressive as we'd like to think. There can be little doubt, that if they could incriminate Houellebecq, and ban his book, then some modern 'progressives' would do so with glee. For that I'm eager to read it; but without the commotion it would have passed by unnoticed. The discussion is needed, although some 'liberal' people have been trying to contain it, and silence 'dissidents', for well over a decade. That post-colonial guilt rears its shameful head again. I wonder where Zizek et al. (public intellectuals) stand on this issue?

    Dieudonné was successfully silenced by the French Establishment a year ago. Francois Hollande says he'll read Houellebecq's book; however he wanted Dieudonné's shows to be shut down at the time. I couldn't judge for myself as none of his videos online were translated into English - it's at times like these that I wish I were multilingual - but from what I read, I could see why the government took the position that they did (Dieudonné is purportedly an anti-semite and holocaust denier, and a 'comedian' - who had an influence on some footballers and other celebrities with his 'anti-Establishment' hand gesture - some say its an anti-semitic inverted-Nazi salute - called the 'quenelle').
    http://cdn.images.express.co.uk/img/dynamic/67/590x/secondary/119455.jpg
    http://www.theguardian.com/theobser...s-hollande-support-ban-comedian-france-debate

    http://oi57.tinypic.com/312jt3l.jpg
    http://oi62.tinypic.com/5bbqcg.jpg -Wait a minute, he's not doing what I think he's doing, is he? LOL! Get the NME on the phone, we have our latest exposé!

    I thought Hollande would similarly support a ban on Houellebecq's book, so I was surprised when he said that he'll read the book himself. It seems somewhat inconsistent. You would think he would support either the banning of both men's work or of none. Especially because Houellebecq's book *will* be used by some far-right protesters as a justification for their actions.

    Hollande probably should have opted out of both discussions, or at least waited until reading the book before commenting. I thought one of the fundamental principles of European societies is that you defeat your opponents with logic and reason, not by attempting to censor them (take note, 16th century freedom-of-speech decriers of Morrissey-solo).

    As pernicious as Dieudonné and his supporters seem, it may have been wiser not to ban his shows, because then you only give him more fire-power against Establishment figures, and his admirers feel aggrieved and wronged. But it is indicative of Europe in the current era, where even leading figures have no definite values, and consequently they jump back and forth on different issues, often seeming hypocritical or conflicted.

    Even some Feminists, who fight for women's rights in Europe, will still call people 'Islamophobic' for their criticism of Islam and Muslim societies, despite many of the women there having the bleakest of existences, beyond our comprehension.

    We're living in a very confused society. But I'm looking forward to the book. Which may make some things clearer - and encourage a discussion of Europe's future and what kind of society we want it to become - or it may descend into chaos and make modern life seem even starker and less stable than before. Time will tell.
    (Or we could avoid reading it, and all the palaver will die down within a few weeks, and we'll forget it ever occurred.)

    But no, I'm intrigued by it all. It's a Cause Célèbre. He was very clever to release the book so soon before the French Presidential election, I'll give him that, considering the issues on which some of the candidates will be campaigning it was bound to attract attention . Along with 'The Interview' film, it's likely to be looked upon as one of the defining releases of this year - with the buzz entirely micromanaged by the ubiquitous and all-powerful media conglomerates of course.

    On the artistic merit of Houellebecq's work, I found this too, from 2010: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/wor...ebecq-accused-of-Wikipedia-cut-and-paste.html

    It cheapens the upcoming work if true. I can see him typing at his computer, stopping to Google something, reading it for two minutes, then pasting a couple of the sentences into his word file. It only would have taken an extra two minutes to completely rewrite the sentences, or to leave them out entirely. It's not like the passages which he was accused of plagiarising were at all riveting.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/wor...rs-Behring-Breivik-plagiarised-Unabomber.html

    Both of those Telegraph articles are full of spelling errors. It's a shame that the articles' authors didn't copy-and-paste some sentences from people who could spell. In this case, two 500 word news stories, it would have been a marked improvement on their own writing.

    'Mozambiguous' wrote the above post earlier this morning. Although he's in the process of retiring from Morrissey-solo.com (maybe permanently, or will he "come back like Jordan wearing the 4-5"?), he decided to have one last hurrah before he leaves. He might email me his thoughts on 'Soumission' after he reads it, and I would be more than happy to post his findings here, that is unless he wants a *complete* break from this website. He's still plotting his next step, and I know better than to ask before he's ready to divulge.

    Hopefully the above musings will spark an invigorating debate on the book in question. 'Mozambiguous' won't be able to partake, I offer my condolences to you all, as you're really missing out, but he doesn't post here any more. However, I will keep an eye on how the thread develops, and report back to him with any pertinent comments. So now, in the words of Admiral General Aladeen "enjoy, enjoy". There'll be no censoring here! You can breathe free and be happy, and debate to your heart's content.

    See you again in 25 years,
    Sookie R. Wang, secretary, and informant, to the poster formerly known as 'Mozambiguous'

    Vive la France!
    http://pics.filmaffinity.com/Vive_la_France-972443544-large.jpg
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mOrkSF8HQI
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2015
  2. realitybites

    realitybites making lemonade Subscriber

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    The difference is that Houellebecq is French. The charges had been brought by France's Human Rights League. Hitchens was an American resident (later citizen) who was protected by the First Amendment. :)

    Affleck is an idiot.

    Yes.

    Yes.

    This is reprehensible.
     
  3. realitybites

    realitybites making lemonade Subscriber

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  4. Emil

    Emil A Burnt Child

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    Michel Houellebecq is a horrible (and yes - racist) human being, but a great novelist. The Celine of his day indeed.
     
  5. Charlie Cheswick

    Charlie Cheswick Well-Known Member

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    I don't know much about him, also don't speak a lot of French, but was he more anti-religion rather than racist?

    He only came on to my radar as there was a bit of a controversy about him last year in the UK and I did a bit of googling. Also with the Nicoloas Anelka incident.

    I've been watching a bit of the News footage of this debacle in Paris and they've just interviewed a Muslim woman who was banging on about the magazine at the centre of the incident being racist. There's a big difference for me between being anti-organized religion and racism. I guess the people who worked at that magazine have been vindicated by what's happened today, unfortunately murdered too.
     
  6. realitybites

    realitybites making lemonade Subscriber

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    Vindicated? Seriously. Terrorism and murder are acceptable solutions/retributions to feeling offended? You hurt my feelings, I kill you. Please. Oh and Islam is not a race; it is a religion.
     
  7. Charlie Cheswick

    Charlie Cheswick Well-Known Member

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    I think you've misunderstood what I was saying. The people who worked at the magazine were vindicated in what they were doing.
     
  8. realitybites

    realitybites making lemonade Subscriber

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    Oh, my apologies. I thought you meant the terrorists. :blushing:
     
  9. Charlie Cheswick

    Charlie Cheswick Well-Known Member

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    God no. Although unlike yourself I'm happy for people to be spiritual if it suits them but I'm extremely anti-organised religion with Islam and Catholicism at the top of my radar.
     
  10. Emil

    Emil A Burnt Child

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    I've read all of his novels and he hates arabs just as much as he hates Islam, if not more. The novel The Possibility of an Island showcases his feelings towards muslims at best. It's his worst novel though.
     
  11. Mozambiguous

    Mozambiguous Member

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    When and where did I give you permission to respond to one of my posts? In fact, I told you before that the next time you reference me in any way, you would earn yourself a special place on the 'Index Personas Prohibitorum'. I made my opinions towards you clear in my anonymous condemnations of your character over the past couple of weeks. And you can't say you didn't know it was me, because I revealed that it was, in this post: (I chose to write them anonymously because I didn't want to waste any more of my post count on you) http://www.morrissey-solo.com/threa...norama-gr-(Greek)?p=1986892369#post1986892369 "*Removes hood* Surprise! It was me all along!"

    I can do without reading your one word replies to my carefully considered prose. It's an insult, and I could hardly bring myself to waste the 30 seconds that it took to read it. My advice to you would be to delete your posts and we can try to forget that this unfortunate incident ever occurred.

    My question was rhetorical, to highlight the senselessness of Houellebecq's arrest, for his justified criticism of a Medieval ideology. But you think you've outsmarted me, and that's nice for you. Like the time you informed me about my misspelling of 'Maltesers' - another worthy contribution.

    That goes without saying. Although if you're going to say it I would prefer you wrote me 1,000 words on the subject. Not that I would deign to read any of it. But it would be the thought, and the effort you put in, that counts. Then I could say "Everything you just wrote is beneath contempt, but at least it took you more than five minutes to write it." - that still won't save you from the ignore function though.

    Sycophant.

    See above.

    That goes without saying. Although if you're going to say it then I wish you would think twice and not bother.

    The original post was written before I heard about the masked men who barged into the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in Paris today with kalashnikovs and other weaponry, murdering at least a dozen people. I dedicate this thread to their memory, and won't post in it any more out of respect. It would be a thoughtful gesture if everybody else did the same. That way it won't become another 20 page thread, full of egoism, self-aggrandizement and bickering. R.I.P.

    I agree that Houellebecq does for Literature what Celine Dion does for singing. Both giants of their respective fields - unmatched - from now until the journey to the end of the night. I know I'm in the presence of an unenlightened mind when they resort to using the "r" word. I called Skylarker that once, but that was just to pay him back for past indiscretions. It worked too, he had a mental breakdown, wrote a scathing message to realitybites, and then disappeared for two weeks. Definitely worth it. LOL! The word "racist" is often used by middle-class people as a way of belittling the working class. As if they ever had any power, or were responsible for the policies governments implemented.

    Yet it's a word which is overwhelmingly used against them today, while more affluent folk are better at concealing their prejudices thanks to their superior education. If middle class and upper class people want to call each other 'racists', then by all means, knock yourselves out. But once working class people are dragged into this dirty charade then my patience leaves me. It's laughable when a white person calls another white person a "racist" anyway - what are you trying to prove? Get a life, mt8!

    Dictated to Sookie the Secretary by 'Mozambiguous', who doesn't post here anymore.
     
  12. realitybites

    realitybites making lemonade Subscriber

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    ^^^ I take it you derive pleasure from poking me in the ribs.
     
  13. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Affleck is not an idiot. he may be ann uninformed jackass but hes not dumb. hes also not welcome in vegas because he counts cards
     
  14. realitybites

    realitybites making lemonade Subscriber

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    I didn't think he was either until I saw that YouTube clip of him on Bill Maher's show a few months ago. You can be intelligent and be an idiot--hold irrational beliefs.
     
  15. realitybites

    realitybites making lemonade Subscriber

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