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« Tragedy of the Commons = Rorschach Test? (Joe) | Main | National Be Kind to Lawyers Day - Today! (Joe) »

April 14, 2009


I take it, Ruchira, that this is not for you, then. Me, neither, although I confess I get a kick out of "Lebanese."

I have never heard of nor seen Lakshmi until now, never read Rushdie--who is, after all, a self-important little twerp--and long ago I abandoned fast food of the chain variety. No TV, either, so I only catch glimpses of these obnoxious ads. I suppose I agree the ads "work" inasmuch as I remember the brand...but only to avoid it. If I were starving I wouldn't accept a freebie from Carl's, so naturally I'm never going to pay for it!

I'm a little surprised that they would think combining "sex" with "disgusting fast food" would make for an effective marketing campaign. But presumably they have numbers validating the strategy (or else a badly run business).

I want to quibble with Dean, though. I also have never read Rushdie, but I object to the notion that anyone who qualifies as a faculty member of the Emory English department could be a self-important little twerp. (And no, I probably cannot square that statement with my views of the new Mark Bauerlein.)

Rushdie is indeed a self-important twerp and worse, utterly boring too. You should check out his "Midnight's Children" (at least, a few pages of it), which is touted as his most important work.

Hey, hey, hey, Kumar! I wouldn't defend Rushdie for his "self-important twerpiness." But Midnight's Children is far from boring though I admit that my enjoyment of the Rushdie series has been on a steadily declining scale over the years.

I discovered S.R. in the early 1980s ( his other lesser known early book, Shame is better than Midnight, in my opinion) before the fatwa and before most people had heard of him. I was struck by his lack of "boringness" actually - he is hyper, a considerable show-off and all over the place in story telling. But I must concede that his books probably appeal more to Indian and British born readers of a certain age (mine) than to others. I doubt that Rushdie would have figured at all on the American and continental readership radar, had it not been for the lethal intent of Khomeini.

I don't know, Ruchira. I'll read Shame to be sure. But plodding through Midnight's Children, I struggled to find anything that would justify reading another book on post-colonial India, some new perspective, some insight that had escaped earlier writers,or even a clever way of telling old tales but zilch. His magical realism thing doesn't work for me, perhaps because he fails so miserably to pin down the spirit of old Delhi, where I've lived, and other Indian cities which I know one way or another. To be fair, I liked the beginning Kashmir part, but the magic wore off as soon as he reached Amritsar. One thing that he really deserves credit for is that he managed to capture the peculiar phrasing of Indian English, better than most other writers.
Then of course, there is the matter of personal taste. I generally prefer minimalist writing, so a hyper, show-offish writer doesn't necessarily mean less boring.

I liked Rushdie's Haroun and the Sea of Stories, but then it was so derivative of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and lacked the "preciseness" of the original.

Fair enough, Kumar. Actually, my husband's take on Rushdie is very similar to yours. I had urged him to try Shame and he came away with the same irritation that you felt with Rushdie's "hyper, show off, magical realism." I have never recommended Rushdie to any of my book club friends here who are avid readers but are so far removed from the world the author evokes that I felt they will be totally frustrated with his narrative style.

The odd thing is that I have read every book by S.R. up until Fury (which infuriated me so much that I haven't read him since) but I never did read Haroun. I had purchased a copy for my daughter when she was a school girl but did not check it out myself. I looked for it the other day in the book shelves. It is not there. My daughter must have taken it with her when she left home. Perhaps I will get it from the local library.

Being a Delhiite myself, I also agree with you that Rushdie does a poor job of capturing the flavor of Delhi. He is far more authentic and convincing with Bombay. But then, that's his hometown.

BTW, are you the same Kumar who used to visit us earlier and occasionally left a comment? Just curious.

this is an issue worth researching on. junk food packaged with sexappeal! it speaks volumes about the targeted audience.

KPJ, what do you think of the target audience here?

No, not the same Kumar. Interesting discussion on Indian jews, btw.

I know Bombay only through friends and infrequent visits, so can't really say. But most from Bombay agree that Rushdie did a good job with it.

ruchira, went the piece. speaks of how culture industry moulds the consumer. marx did not bargain for the sustained chameloen-like manipulative power of culture industry when he gave just 100 yeas to capitalism.

Burger chains just don't get it. Or maybe they do. Perhaps consumers like the picture of a beautiful munching down on a greasy hamburger. Doesn't do much for me though

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