There’s No Such Thing as Bad Publicity
Not often does an individual’s attending a gathering of writers make so much news as the Salman Rushdie saga has over the past week. Salman Rushdie’s presence at the Jaipur Literature Festival has suddenly become an issue of national importance even bigger than the dress Katrina Kaif wore at her latest public appearance.
But as is the mantra these days, there’s nothing like bad publicity.
Salman Rushdie is back in the public eye, and most certainly his book sales have spiked. Best part is, he didnt even have to do much to get there. All he had to say was he is willing to attend the festival.The clerics who want him killed and the state which has become so very susceptible to blackmail made it easy for him.
More importantly, Rushdie has now opened up the forum for others. Everybody and their mother-in-law has an opinion around the Rushdie saga. Doesn’t matter if they even knew what Rushdie had done to offend so many people, or read a single page of his ill-fated book.
There were brownie points to be earned. You don’t need to read books for that.
Once a door for publicity is opened, its a free for all. You can always jump in and ride the wave. Remember how Kolaveri sparked a million remakes, and most of them got reasonable success? In a way, publicity is like a farm of 6 feet tall, ready to harvest Sugarcane. Jump in, harvest the lot, enjoy while the stock lasts.
The ones who were the first to express support for the banned writer gained the most points. Late arrivals to the party had to resort to strong opinions to get their share of the fame.
Taslima Nasreen, that wonderful woman who would rid the world of all men if she could, jumped in scoring quick boundaries like a Sehwag on a flat track.
Stronger words followed, from one exiled person banished by religious fanatics to another one.
Taslima ji raced to her hundred in double quick time. Meanwhile, lesser celebs on Twitter kept fishing for RTs via their own thoughts on the matter. It was good karma floating all around.
Chetan Bhagat, India’s best selling author of modern times went for the long handle.
‘Banned writers aren’t heroes.’ The ball was out of the park. First ball hit for a six. He went on to elaborate. “Banned books have hurt people, they have hurt the Muslims. Let’s not make heroes out of them (referring to Rushdie).” There’s a reason the man has sold billions of books.
By now, nearly everybody who matters has expressed their opinion. It is so heart warming to see all the love going around.
Everybody’s a winner in the Salman Rushdie affair. The clerics who wanted him away got what they asked for. The govt asked him to not come, and had their way. Salman Rushdie got talked about more than if he had come to the festival, so obviously he has nothing to complain about. Taslima Nasreen got some points. Chetan Bhagat managed to prove his secular credentials. I got to write a post.
This is the stuff humanity is made of. Whoever said life was a zero sum game? Play it well, and everybody can win.
Gandhiji would be so proud of us today. I think i’ll cry.