The Guardian lends a hand

The Guardian also has a piece on the story, a subtly, covertly snotty one – snotty about Jones, not Spellberg. ‘The Jewel of the Medina, a first book by Sherry Jones, 46, was to have been released on August 12′ – what’s with that ’46’? It doesn’t say how old Spellberg is. The point seems to be that Jones is old for a first novel – which has to be just covert sneering, sneering that’s embarrassed to be overt about it. ‘She claims to have spent two years researching the novel’ – there it is again – she claims? Couldn’t that have been she said? Yes, but apparently that wouldn’t have been snide enough. For some reason, the Guardian had to frame this story as a veiled attack on Jones. Odd. Maybe they think she’s a horrible Islamophobe but they don’t have any evidence for that so they just thought they’d sneer at her in the meantime?

Spellberg told the Guardian yesterday that she had been receiving hate mail accusing her of acting as a censor for Muslim jihadis after the piece in the WSJ, which cast her as the sole academic critic of the novel.

Gee, now why would anyone accuse Spellberg as acting as a censor? I can’t imagine, can you?

Spellberg, however, was horrified by the end product. “It is not just that there were issues with historical accuracy. This was quite deliberately provocative. She objectified the wife of the prophet as a sex object and made her violent as well,” she told the Guardian. The book’s marketing blurb and the prologue, both online, suggest Spellberg had cause for her fears. The novel is a luridly written amalgam of bodice-ripper and historical fiction centred on Aisha, the favourite wife of the prophet Muhammad.

Has Suzanne Goldenberg read the novel? That seems unlikely, since it’s been pulled, and she doesn’t say she has, and she refers to the blurb and the prologue. But then why does she say the novel is luridly written? Is she just taking Spellberg’s word for it? If so, she should have said so. If she’s read the novel, she should have made that clear. At any rate, what does she mean ‘suggest Spellberg had cause for her fears’? So it’s a luridly written historical bodice-ripper, why would that suggest that Spellberg ‘had cause for her fears’ that ‘there is a very real possibility of major danger for the building and staff and widespread violence…it is ”a declaration of war…explosive stuff…a national security issue.”…it will be far more controversial than the satanic verses and the Danish cartoons’? It is not obvious why such a novel would cause ‘major danger for the building and staff and widespread violence’ or be ‘far more controversial than the satanic verses and the Danish cartoons’ – so why is the Guardian agreeing with Spellberg? Because she’s fighting the good fight against Islamophobia? Who knows. It’s all sickening stuff.

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