Michel Houellebecq: ‘Am I Islamophobic? Probably, yes’

As in all of Houellebecq’s novels, Submission has an atmsophere of anguished ambiguity. “One very important condition of writing a novel is not to try to understand everything,” he says. “It’s best to observe the facts without necessarily having a theory.”

With the characters in Submission all giving their competing views, encased in what has been called Houellebecq’s famous overarching clinical neutrality, some critics have said it’s hard to know what he really thinks. “It’s deliberate,” he concludes. “No doubt because actually I think nothing at all.” [1,086 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 179 votes] If the Nazi’s had coined the term ‘naziphobic’, and had the PC industry on hand, they’d still be in power today, with nobody allowed to say boo to them.

[2ND 151] I wonder what would happen were France or another Western country to vote in place an Islamist government in the future? Should we not be a bit worried that writing a book should lead to need for police protection?

[3RD 144] “Houellebecq’s main target in Submission is what he believes is France’s limp and cowardly intellectual and political class.”

I don’t know how he could possibly have got that idea. After all, the response of the French prime minister to the murder of French citizens by the fascistic adherents of a foreign religious fundamentalist movement that has been imported into France was this…

“The next day, the Socialist prime minister, Manuel Valls, seeking to unite the nation against what he deemed the hateful fingerpointing at ordinary Muslims, said: “France is not Michel Houellebecq … it is not intolerence, hatred and fear.”

To the prime minister, the problem facing French society is not imported religious fascism, it is French citizens like Houellebecq exercising their liberté and bringing religious violence down on France’s head. As if the response of the religious fascists to the exercising of free speech was understandable. As if imported religious fascism has any place in France at all.

[4TH 117] Provocateurs anger and outrage people. It’s what they do. We could do with a few in Britain, where every intellectual reads The goddam Guardian and wants to be liked by its readers. Conformity and self-censorship are worse for the literary imagination than repression. [The Guardian] Read more

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