Wednesday, 4 July 2007

If Paris Hilton's post-prison trip to Hawaii must have made a great change from solitary, Salman Rushdie's continuing high profile, following more protests (this time in Malaysia), must feel all too familiar.

Sharon Bakar of the Bibliobibuli blog snags a choice quote from the vice-chancellor of Universiti Sains Malaysia, Dzulkifli Abdul Razak, who says "to riot is a misplaced action" because it may "render the community to be somewhat like a Pavlovian dog that 'salivates' at will" (The New Straits Times).

But probably most Westerners do as The Sydney Morning Herald has done: move on. Not to Kuala Lumpur or London (where Rushdie lives) but *sigh* to Paris.

The broadsheet's 'Magwatch' column today compares the heiress with one of the century's most prominent lightening rods for popular sympathy: Nelson Mandela.

NOT since Nelson Mandela walked free from prison in 1990 has the liberation of a prisoner been so highly publicised. Hearts raced and spirits soared across the globe as Paris Hilton strode the catwalk outside the Century Regional Correctional Facility towards her waiting limousine, ready to begin a new post-party-girl life of good deeds and charity work, and saving dolphins and children and stuff.

So off to Hawaii. According to blog Paris Hilton Online, she's already back in LA. Some are wondering what'll come of the good intentions that were articulated under the influence of jail, as The Sydney Morning Herald reported on 12 June:

“I used to act dumb. It was an act. I am 26-years-old, and that act is no longer cute.”

Reuters reported that “she might like to help in the fields of breast cancer or multiple sclerosis, diseases that her grandmothers suffered, or build a ‘Paris Hilton playhouse’ for sick children”.

We'll see. Maybe Rushdie will be similarly inspired toward (though, we hope, not so easily, as it appears is true in Paris' case, discouraged from) going out on a limb-never-scrambled.

Such as, in Rushdie's case, opening a school for unlettered Muslims who might want to understand a bit more about modernism, and why it is common for writers who are exponents of it to question the grounds of any and all illogical, mass delusion.

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