Sunday, February 12, 2012
The Compleat Satanic Verses
Tonight I finished a piece that I've been working on for about a year. I'm reasonably elated that it's done, as it's already sold, and the money long spent. But before I ship it off to the collector, it's going to be in a show in March. That was part of the deal. I hope he likes it; it's one of my favorite text drawings to date.
The piece is called 'The Satanic Verses', and here's what it's about: You know the novel 'The Satanic Verses' by Salman Rushdie? The one that got him in a whole lot of trouble with those darn Muslims? Yeah, well, he's still got a fatwah out on him, if you can believe it. See, the novel sorta poked fun at Islam, and specifically at Mohammad. Some Muslims didn't find it humorous, thus the fatwah. So I've taken Rushdie's novel and cut it up, letter by letter, and rearranged the letters to create a chapter from the Koran called 'Repentance'.
Now, this could potentially get me in some trouble. Some Islamic fundamentalists may feel that I too am insulting Islam or Mohammad. But is that true? Is it an insult? Or is the act of cutting up the offensive novel, then reconfiguring it back into the Koran, an act of restitution? A form of repentance? Not my repentance, not Salman Rushdie's repentance, but a sort of all-encompassing repentance for sins already achieved, as well as those waiting in the wings? A big, fat mea culpa, as it were, for the collective sins of humankind, so that we can just get on with it, and stop being so gosh darn morose and dogmatic?
Religions–the whole lot of them–seem to encourage their followers to be unyielding and brittle. This is known as fundamentalism, and its stench reeks to the highest heaven. I believe that God, Allah, Yahweh, et al have a decent sense of humor. They'd have to, to put up with us. They know how to go with the flow. Consciousness (my term for God) is nothing if not accepting of What Is. Everything that exists, everything that happens, is perfect. Including insults, real or imagined.
So when there is an offense, one has to ask, who is it that's offended? Because it's not Consciousness, so....who?