View Single Post
Old 06-01-2012, 02:48 PM   #282
Fred Little
Dojo: NJIT Budokai
Location: State Line NJ/NY
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 632
Re: Spiritual and i/p

David Orange wrote: View Post
What if Rushdie said he got the idea for his book from you?
Dear David,

I don't need to ask speculative questions about Mr. Rushdie.

In 1990, I was working for the Dean of the Columbia School of Journalism, Joan Konner, as a speechwriter. She handed me a copy of a publication by ARTICLE 19 and suggested that I read it and then write up a dream-list of questions to ask Salman Rushdie. I did so and gave it back to her. That dream-list was transmitted to his agent, Andrew Wylie, and went from Wylie's office to Rushdie, then at an undisclosed location as a result of the fatwa which had been pronounced upon him and his works.

I was later told by Dean Konner that Mr. Rushdie's decision to (at that point momentarily) come out of hiding for the purpose of speaking at the J-School's 200th anniversary celebration of the First Amendment was a direct response to that list of questions: he felt it was what he wanted and needed to do, given the clear engagement with the spirit of his work evidenced in those interrogatives. And I can assure you, the State Department was none too happy about either his decision to speak, or Dean Konner's acceptance of his offer to speak, or the NYPD's offer to insure his security. For that matter, when Bella Abzug arrived at the event itself and we advised her that the doors would be locked once all the guests were inside and no one would be permitted to leave until the end of the evening, she wasn't too happy about it either. But that's another story.

What if? It's not just an analogy to me. I never exchanged a word with the man directly and never shook his hand, but nonetheless, I'll own that moment with pride for the rest of my natural days, as I will the image of his NYPD helicopter's lights rising through the north windows of Low Memorial Library as he and his security team made their way out of the venue before the doors were unlocked.

And should some student of mine have a part in a similar occurrence in the future? I should be so lucky.

The rest of your examples relate to entirely different sorts of lapses in personal integrity, which I would view as essential failings, rather than as actions with negative consequences, and I do think this is an important distinction.

Similarly, I think that your point about Ueshiba's pre-war and post-war doctrine is a critical one. That point was echoed by Kuroiwa Sensei in his assertion that the choice to refrain from violence has meaning only if one has the capacity to engage in violence. That's too bitter a pill for many to swallow, but there it is.

Be well,