A New Hero for PEN
Sarah Palin – or someone pretending to be Sarah Palin – has tweeted that Salman Rushdie should invite Pamela Geller to the PEN gala dinner. She’s right. Geller is no pussy. She has courageously expressed her views thatMuslims should be expelled from the US and Europe, that they pray five times a day for the deaths of Christians and Jews, that Obama is the love child of Malcolm X and frequents 'crack whores',that the State Department, the American media and Campbell’s Soup have been taken over by 'Islamic supremacists', and so on.
The conference a few days ago in Garland, Texas, sponsored by her organisation, American Freedom Defense Initiative (also known as Stop Islamization of America), featured a keynote address by GeertWilders of the Dutch Party for Freedom and, deliberately timed to coincide with PEN's tribute to Charlie Hebdo, an exhibition of cartoon depictions of Muhammad and a $10,000 prize for thebest one. Now, having come under attack by two jihadis who were killed by police, she has vowed, as PEN would say, to 'soldier on'.
So far, no one has made the claim that the Geller-inspired cartoons are in the great American satirical tradition from Mark Twain to Thomas Pynchon. Nor has there yet been a postmodern explanationthat what look like crude racist cartoons are really parodies of crude racist cartoons. While we’re waiting, we can ponder this cover of a recent issue of Charlie: