Forgive me this indulgence as I await yet another interminable computer processor rendering of my 88-minute sequence. Except this time, to cut down on the waiting time (and huge amount of disk space required), I've cut it in half, so we're looking at 44 minutes for Part 1. Four hours to render this particular section of sound, fury and assorted effects. And that's just the beginning of the painful procedure.
Also forgive this ripe overwriting style of mine. It's a seasonal thing. Whenever a new Salman Rushdie book is released, I must read it immediately. And it infects everything around me. Except I don't really have time to read right now, so I've got the audio version of Shalimar the Clown on my iPod. Any pedestrian errand, or excuse for exercise (lawnmowing, garage cleaning, dog walking) allows me to read while walking. First it was Ender's Game. Now it's Rushdie.
He's challenge enough to read. But when the thick prose goes coursing by your ears with no time to absorb it, there's dire need for a primer -- just a book jacket would do as well. So I've been perusing various book reviews on another computer during the middle of this render.
And I've stumbled across this excellent one in the Village Voice. A couple of lines really caught my attention. I think I can tie it in somewhat with our documentary:
The events of Rushdie's life are allegory for the unavoidable world-historical collision between rootless cosmopolitanism and theocratic absolutism, between civilization (with its values of secularism, skepticism, and relativism) and the gathering forces of a new medievalism.
I met Rushdie when he was still under his Islamo-Fascist death sentence in the mid-90's. It was a clandestine, star-studded affair at the New York Public Library down on 42nd and 5th. Security was tight. But not so tight as to deter David Byrne and Richard Gere. Or my former NBC boss Brokaw as we got permission to do an interview. I think Tom introduced me to Salman as "an Indian, just like you." Which of course isn't quite true. But it got me an autographed copy of The Moor's Last Sigh. Suddenly, I became one of the few people on this good planet to make it through all of The Satanic Verses. And of course, I had to read Midnight's Children on an overnight train from Mumbai to New Delhi.
But back to the words "new medievalism." I have sometimes wondered whether the crass code-words of "activist judges," the resurrection of creationism, and the rise of militant mullahs and radical rabbis are direct attacks on the very Age of Enlightenment that lies at the foundation of our democracy.
Then again, I'm worried that Independent America's embrace of the virtues of local might be considered a new world throwback to the feudal system. When everything was within reach, within towering walls and prone to neighborly warfare within a stone's throw of home.
Then again...again, "New Medievalism" could be a necessary worldwide pendulum swing away from our overbearing worship of technology, celebrity and profanity. That somehow holism, spirituality and swadeshi got weeded out by Voltaire, Locke and Bentham in the rush for Progress. Which makes some wistful. A few return to the farm. And others become very, very angry. Like Shalimar the Clown.
Alright, if you've made it this far in this post, rest assured, when I start to "underwrite," I must be reading Dan Brown. (That wasn't meant to rhyme with the end of the penultimate paragraph. But I do like how it does. Curse you Rushdie!)