Remember when absurdist Brit novelist Martin Amis said a Racist Thing in the London Times Magazine back in 2006? "There's a definite urge—don't you have it?—to say, 'The Muslim community will have to suffer until it gets its house in order.' What sort of suffering? Not let them travel. Deportation, further down the road. Curtailing of freedoms. Strip-searching people who look like they're from the Middle East or Pakistan... Discriminatory stuff, until it hurts the whole community and they start getting tough with their children." Now he's given an "Exclsuive [sic] interview" post-debacle to the Huffington Post (why them? It's as puzzling as his poorly-chosen remarks). His excuse?
"I really am not racist, and I just don't feel it," Amis says, inhaling more nicotine. "You have to look at the timing of the thing. The third jihadist conspiracy in thirteen months [to blow up a series of jumbo jets over the Atlantic] had just been exposed. My children were taking trans-Atlantic flights all that summer. And - I know this is sublime-ridiculous - but I had just had someone come up from London to stay and they were telling me how they couldn't take a book on a trans-Atlantic flight. I just thought this was a triumph for the forces of stupidity, literalism, ignorance, humourlessness." He says he isn't going to deny he felt that way, for a moment - but it wasn't a proposal, just a "thought experiment", and it wasn't "racist, just retaliatory."
And besides, he's totes not racist because he's shagged—well, kissed, but maybe shagged—lots of Muslim girls.
He has always loved this multiracialism, he says. "At that time I had a Pakistani girlfriend, I had an Iranian girlfriend, I had a South African girlfriend, all of whom were Muslim. It's interesting, the Iranian one, this is 1969, was mini skirts and discos because she was not an inhabitant of an Islamic Republic but of a decadent monarchy ten years before the revolution. The Pakistani girl was just beginning to kind of Westernise. You would - I don't know - just look at her and just feel eons between you."
Shagging will trump racism eventually.