Bloggers give three cheers for Salman Rushdie’s knighthood, boo the revelation of more deleted RNC e-mails, and wax skeptical about Yahoo!’s new chief exec.
A knight’s tale: Iran and Pakistan are up in arms after Queen Elizabeth knightedSatanic Verses author Salman Rushdie. Pakistan’s religious affairs minister complained that the move insulted Islam and warned that it could provoke terrorist attacks. Meanwhile, an Iranian group raised the bounty on Rushdie’s head to $150,000. Bloggers side with Sir Salman.
Bryan Preston at conservative Hot Air applauds the knighthood: “For the 81 year old queen to end a long succession of badly chosen knighthoods — Elton John, etc — by knighting someone who has actually stood up in the face of mullah-inspired murder plots for nearly 20 years … it’s an act of sound judgement and even courage.” Brit blogger “Gracchi” at Westminster Wisdom calls it a proud day for England: “It strikes me that writers and philosophers the world over will always insult the sensibilities of all the religions. It gives me great pride as a Briton that we could recognise Sir Salman for his literary merit, just as we would recognise a poet that insulted Christianity, without worrying about the sensibilities of those who would close down expression.”
Tory blogger Young Fogey argues that Iran wastes its time: “Rather than criticise the British government, Iran should congratulate Britain for having recently raised a number of British Muslims to the highest ranks of British Society as members of the House of Lords. … Of course this incident does give rise to the question: Which is the greater honour? To have received a Fatwa or a Knighthood?” Mark Vuletic at The Atheologian thinks the queen could have gone further: “Personally, I wish the Queen would give Rushdie a white horse and a silver sword, and let him gallop all over Persia. Of course, this particular knight has done more violence to dragons with his pen than St. George ever did with his lance.”
Janean Patience, writing at discussion community Barbelith Underground, wonders about the timing of the award: “It being given now, when he’s written nothing notable for ages and when we’re in a bad mood with Iran, there’s a strong possibility that this is a political act.” Canadian Phanton Observer disagrees on the political question: “Sir Salman didn’t get the knighthood because the Queen wanted to stick a jalapeno up the bottom of Islam. He got it because a lot of people happen to like his books (God knows why) and that happens to merit some form of recognition.”
Conservative Meryl Yourish recommends the British government ignore accusations of Islamophobia: “I think the appropriate answer here from the Brits would be, ‘Yeah, what-EVER.’ On the other hand, raise hands, those of you who have ever read The Satanic Verses.”
The dog ate my e-mail: A congressional investigation has concluded that White House officials used RNC e-mail accounts to conduct official business more often than previously disclosed and cites “extensive” destruction of e-mails. White House spokesman Tony Snow responded that the White House was simply following the Hatch Act, which forbids using official channels for partisan activities.
British physicist Adam at The Crossed Pond suspects that if the mass deletions were indeed a mistake, it was a very, very stupid one: “I’ve never worked somewhere that deletes my emails without me asking for them to be deleted and I can’t imagine that the RNC are short of cash for providing storage, but mistakes (as well as deliberate actions) do happen.”
At Daily Kos, Kagro X announces “The Return of the 18-minute Gap” and warns, “The undead body of Watergate still lumbers through Republican White Houses.” Arlen Parsa at The Daily Background notes that the Presidential Records Act in fact came in the wake of Watergate: “In terms of paralells between this Administration and Nixon’s, it’s ironic how many of these types of specific post-Nixon laws that Congress created that this Administration [has] broken.”
Kevin Drum at Washington Monthly’s Political Animal quotes Tony Snow’s reaction to the revelation that 140,000 of Karl Rove’s RNC e-mails had been lost: “That is a whole lot of email.” “Sure,” Drum responds, “but most of it was probably just Viagra come-ons. So, you know, there was no real reason to bother archiving this stuff.”
At Education Week, Alexander Russo strains to give Rove the benefit of the doubt: “Maybe the RNC email system just works better? And what about personal preference? I mean, I like Gmail, but some folks like AOL or Earthlink.”
New boss, same as the old boss: Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel announced his resignation Tuesday amid growing tensions with investors. Semel will stick around in an advisory role, while company founder Jerry Yang will replace him.
CNET.com editor Charles Cooper agrees that the change was probably necessary, but doubts Yang is the man for the job: “Yang’s about as exciting as melting vanilla ice cream on a hot summer’s day. Droning on about the management changes at Yahoo during a teleconference Monday, Yang sounded like a male version of the Stepford Wives. Rumor has it that indeed his pulse was working, though you could have fooled the listeners.” To Gary Sattler at AOL’s Blogging Stocks, the resignation “smacks of a shuffling of wigs more than a changing of the guard.” Semel, he argues, “should be moving down the road. … Instead, he has gingerly stayed in his chairman role, in a non-executive role, hanging around like the brother-in-law who just wrecked your car and says he’ll help you fix it.”
California-based Valleywag calls Yang a “stopgap. Sure, there are heartening precedents for the triumphant return of a chief exec. Steve Jobs came back to Apple, a charismatic entrepreneur, seasoned by reverses, to turn around the company. But Jerry Yang is no Steve Jobs.”
Read more about the shakeup at Yahoo!