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V.S. Naipaul, RIP
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A weird headline in the New York Times:

V.S. Naipaul, Who Wrote Unsparingly of Colonialism, Is Dead
By RACHEL DONADIO 8:21 PM ET

Mr. Naipaul, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2001, wrote about the liberation movements that swept across Africa and the Caribbean, where he was born. He was 85.

A more accurate headline might be:

V.S. Naipaul, Who Wrote Unsparingly of Post-Colonial Blacks and Muslims, Is Dead

The obituary itself is more accurate than the headline:

Compared in his lifetime to Conrad, Dickens and Tolstoy, he was also a lightning rod for criticism, particularly by those who read his portrayals of third-world disarray as apologies for colonialism.

Naipaul was a Hindu Trinidadian. The black Trinidadian CPA who lived upstairs from me in Chicago in the 1990s mentioned Naipaul had been his substitute teacher. He was a tough grader.

Sir Vidia didn’t think too highly of blacks or Muslims, and he was embarrassed by his fellow Hindus. He somewhat liked proper Englishmen, but mostly didn’t think all that much of anybody who wasn’t V.S. Naipaul. His travel writing protege Paul Theroux shared his misanthropy without as much of Naipaul’s amour propre.

Naipaul won the Nobel Prize for Literature in the wake of 9/11, which had made his distaste for Islam briefly less disqualifying.

 
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  1. Naipaul won the Nobel Prize for Literature in the wake of 9/11, which had made his distaste for Islam briefly less disqualifying.

    Perhaps 9/11 pushed him through. Perhaps Saul Bellow made a phone call to Stockholm on behalf of his neocon buddies.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    I think Naipaul's Nobel Prize was more a Nobel jury's confused naive white liberal reaction to 9/11. Sort of like, "maybe if we give a Prize to a brown guy they won't hate us as much, who could we give it to, oh hey, this Naipaul chap is not a bad writer," not realizing that Hindus, Muslims, Indians, Arabs, Africans, etc. are all different, don't like each other and are jealous of one another. In other words, the same thing they still don't understand.
  2. Naipaul rightly recognized that far from being an agent of diversity, Islam served to homogenize the distinct local cultures with Africa, Middle East, South Asia and Pacific.

    “There probably has been no imperialism like that of Islam and the Arabs. The Gauls, after 500 years of Roman rule, could recover their old gods and reverences; those beliefs hadn’t died; they lay just below the Roman surface. But Islam seeks as an article of the faith to erase the past; the believers in the end honor Arabia alone; they have nothing to return to.”

    • Replies: @vinny
    The Persians have held on a bit. And, for 13 centuries after the Arab conquests, before the troubles of the 20th centuries, there were many old time Christians in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Levant.
    , @bomag

    There probably has been no imperialism like that of Islam and the Arabs
     
    Seems that modern global materialism is erasing past cultures as fast as anything.
    , @Miro23

    Naipaul rightly recognized that far from being an agent of diversity, Islam served to homogenize the distinct local cultures with Africa, Middle East, South Asia and Pacific.

    “There probably has been no imperialism like that of Islam and the Arabs. The Gauls, after 500 years of Roman rule, could recover their old gods and reverences; those beliefs hadn’t died; they lay just below the Roman surface. But Islam seeks as an article of the faith to erase the past; the believers in the end honor Arabia alone; they have nothing to return to.”
     

     
    The Islamic Empire will fail the same as all the others. In fact it's already happening as their people every year see how maladaptive it is to modernity. They start to take off their headscarves and look around at alternatives.
  3. • Replies: @Old fogey
    Thanks for the link. I, too, am glad to hear that they settled their disagreement. I have always enjoyed their work.
  4. Of course it’s inept, the writer is female.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1393365/V-S-Naipaul-slams-women-writers–including-Jane-Austen–sentimentality-feminine-tosh.html
    —-
    OT RUMOR Antifa got ready to rumble in Charlottesville but evil Nazis never showed up. So they devoted their energy to helping white homeless vets. Just kidding, they are claimed to be invading a hospital with the highly iatrogenic chant “COPS ARE RACIST!”

    • Replies: @Rosamond Vincy
    Austen isn't a patch on the Romantic poets for sentimentality. Charlotte Bronte, heavily influenced by Byron, described Pride and Prejudice thusly:

    An accurate daguerreotyped portrait of a common-place face; a carefully fenced, highly cultivated garden, with neat borders and delicate flowers—but no glance of a bright vivid physiognomy—no open country—no fresh air—no blue hill—no bonny beck. I should hardly like to live with her ladies and gentlemen in their elegant but confined houses.
     
    OTOH, Emily Bronte, who could out-Byron her sisters and possibly Byron himself, managed to combine Romantic sensibility with utter cynicism. Both of her famous lovers, despite their moor-frequenting, nature-lovin' characters, are barking mad. They openly jeer at Isabella's romantic notions about Heathcliff, who is almost certainly a sociopath, while Catherine looks like a classic case of BPD with a generous touch of narcissism. Their effect on civilized people is catastrophic. Most productions try to shift all the blame to civilized people so we can identify with Cathy and Heathcliff, but Bronte herself didn't.

    Charlotte might not have been able to stand up to Naipaul's comments about women writers; I can imagine her collapsing in tears after initial protests. Emily, however, would quietly ignore him, and then go do whatever she was going to do in any case.
  5. Anon[425] • Disclaimer says:

    I always find stuff like this amusing…

    Today, the elites promote Rap and Porn.

    But they whine about men like Naipaul not having had kumbaya feelings for everything that moved.

    As long as we are playing that game, what was the record of MLK? Naipaul said some things. MLK acted wild and crazy.

  6. @Jimi
    Naipaul rightly recognized that far from being an agent of diversity, Islam served to homogenize the distinct local cultures with Africa, Middle East, South Asia and Pacific.

    "There probably has been no imperialism like that of Islam and the Arabs. The Gauls, after 500 years of Roman rule, could recover their old gods and reverences; those beliefs hadn't died; they lay just below the Roman surface. But Islam seeks as an article of the faith to erase the past; the believers in the end honor Arabia alone; they have nothing to return to."
     

    The Persians have held on a bit. And, for 13 centuries after the Arab conquests, before the troubles of the 20th centuries, there were many old time Christians in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Levant.

    • Replies: @Macon Richardson
    You said, "The Persians have held on a bit. And, for 13 centuries after the Arab conquests, before the troubles of the 20th centuries, there were many old time Christians in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Levant."

    I'm not sure how your comment relates to V. S. Naipaul nor do I see that your first and last sentence have any relationship at all.

    However, to add to your assertion that there were many old time (0ld-line?) Christians in Mesopotamia, Egypt and the Levant, there were many, many indigenous Jews in those same places until the nasty Zionist horror began after 1947.
  7. Follow up: more reports of Antifa violence in Virginia. Gosh, it’s a good thing no evil Nazis were there.

    https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2018/08/video-liberals-repeatedly-attack-nbc-reporter-in-charlottesville-at-black-lives-matter-protest/

    Protesters very aggressive with media. #Charlottesville pic.twitter.com/CSYNyvBbeG

    — Cal Perry (@CalNBC) August 12, 2018

    “Fu** you, snitch ass news bitch. Fu** you”. #Charlotsville pic.twitter.com/JPl3480FUG

    — Cal Perry (@CalNBC) August 12, 2018

    Yeah. We’re getting a lot of this. Protesters trying to grab our camera. #Charlotsville https://t.co/xIWLXPdkLt

    — Cal Perry (@CalNBC) August 12, 2018

    As [NBC News video journalist] Perry was walking and filming, a man wearing a dark cap, with facial fair and clear glasses approached from his left and started cursing Perry, “F*** you snitch a** b****! F*** you!”
    BONUS
    anonymous claim:
    About 9:30 tonight, maybe 500 or so mostly white antifas marched through my (almost entirely black) neighborhood chanting “whose streets? our streets!”

    • Replies: @Harry Baldwin
    And yet, to the press, these are still the good guys, right?
    , @AndrewR
    This is an internecine feud AFAIC
  8. I guess V.S. Naipaul died before he could be #metooed. Of course, there would have been much to reveal, since he himself spoke about his truly awful behavior towards the women in his life. And he was consistently forgiven for his behavior by women.

    https://www.elle.com/culture/books/a9008/brilliant-monsters-264034/

    His travel books about the Islamic world in our times, about Africa, and his three books about India are simply extraordinary. It tends to be less remembered, but he wrote a book about the American South, A Turn in the South, and he viewed Southern whites empathetically.

    https://www.nytimes.com/1989/01/25/books/books-of-the-times-exploring-the-south-or-rednecks-reconsidered.html

    https://www.nytimes.com/1989/02/05/books/rednecks-millionaires-and-catfish-farms.html?pagewanted=1

    Like most of the larger Southern cities, Atlanta now has a black government, a black aristocracy and black millionaires. But Mr. Naipaul was reminded of something he had seen before. Those grand towers and buildings of Atlanta, he thought, probably ”had as little to do with blacks as the buildings of Nairobi, say, had to do with the financial or building skills of the Africans of Kenya,” and ”the talk of black power and black aristocracy was a little too pat and sudden.”

    Well beyond the city limits lay ”the great encircling wealth and true power of white Atlanta,” which ”could get by quite well without the black-run city center.” Well-to-do whites found other cause for self-esteem, but poorer whites still depended heavily on race. That lay ”at the back of everything, however unspoken: the thought of race, the little neurosis, the legacy of slavery.”

    Then what about the achievements of the civil rights movement? The answer often heard from blacks was skeptical. Martin Luther King Jr., says one, ”was a great mental-health cure for white Americans,” but for blacks losses often outweighed gains. Segregation had united and preserved the black community, built those all-black churches, schools and fraternities out of which the movement against segregation sprang. The success of the movement, ironically, deprived blacks of old incentives to unite and resist and forced upon them the realization ”that being a white American wasn’t all that great.” …

    • Replies: @Clyde

    His travel books about the Islamic world in our times, about Africa, and his three books about India are simply extraordinary. It tends to be less remembered, but he wrote a book about the American South, A Turn in the South, and he viewed Southern whites empathetically.
     
    Great writer! I read Turn in the South, his two books on the Muslim world and many others. He was funny and witty. RIP!
    , @JohnnyWalker123
    He was a talented and unflinching writer, but he had an almost sociopathic disregard for other human beings.

    Just read this.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/donotmigrate/3672030/Sex-truth-and-Vidia-Patrick-Frenchs-biography-of-VS-Naipaul.html

    The following night, Patricia Naipaul fell into a coma. Vidia removed her Cartier watch for fear it might be stolen by a passing health worker. The next morning, on Saturday, February 3, 1996, a little before seven o'clock, she passed away. After the cremation, Vidia returned to Dairy Cottage and took photographs of Pat's meagre possessions: her bed, her spectacles, her shoes, her medicines, and the snow outside. Angela went to Sainsbury's to buy food: cheese, Cox's apples, black and green olives. Vidia noted on the receipt: 'The olives were for Nadira, arriving on the 9th Feb.' A local taxi drove Vidia up to Heathrow to collect Nadira, while Angela, shocked to the core, prepared the food for his bride. And so it was that on the day after he had cremated his wife, VS Naipaul invited a new woman into her house - or his house - and the funeral green olives did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.

     

  9. Nobel nota bene: A Harvard prof, a Kiwi no less, just published Why Bob Dylan Matters.

    When will anyone write Why V S Naipaul Matters?

  10. @J.Ross
    Follow up: more reports of Antifa violence in Virginia. Gosh, it's a good thing no evil Nazis were there.

    https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2018/08/video-liberals-repeatedly-attack-nbc-reporter-in-charlottesville-at-black-lives-matter-protest/

    Protesters very aggressive with media. #Charlottesville pic.twitter.com/CSYNyvBbeG

    — Cal Perry (@CalNBC) August 12, 2018

    “Fu** you, snitch ass news bitch. Fu** you”. #Charlotsville pic.twitter.com/JPl3480FUG

    — Cal Perry (@CalNBC) August 12, 2018

    Yeah. We’re getting a lot of this. Protesters trying to grab our camera. #Charlotsville https://t.co/xIWLXPdkLt

    — Cal Perry (@CalNBC) August 12, 2018

    As [NBC News video journalist] Perry was walking and filming, a man wearing a dark cap, with facial fair and clear glasses approached from his left and started cursing Perry, “F*** you snitch a** b****! F*** you!”
    BONUS
    anonymous claim:
    About 9:30 tonight, maybe 500 or so mostly white antifas marched through my (almost entirely black) neighborhood chanting "whose streets? our streets!"

    And yet, to the press, these are still the good guys, right?

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    The press will either memory hole it, or they will say that the good guys were reacting to the bad guys, or they will talk with dishonest vagueness about "violence" without specifying the responsible party.
    , @lavoisier
    These anti-fascist guys are really the new fascists. They have the state behind them--government, media, the wealthy--so they are given sanction to go out and beat up anybody that they don't like.

    The guys are itching to pick a fight and so far no one on the right has been able to mount a serious challenge to these pajama boy bullies.

    They would not be so brave if there was a level playing field and the government had not been on their side.

    But a few beat downs by the thugs against the media might enlighten some of the clueless liberals about the nobility of this "virtuous" rabble.
  11. A Bend in the River is not to be missed for its unflinching portrayal of sub Saharan Africans.

    I’ve read several of his books and all were good. He was a truly talented writer.

    • Replies: @Clyde

    A Bend in the River is not to be missed for its unflinching portrayal of sub Saharan Africans.
     
    Paul Theroux is harsh in two books 40 years part and he is an Obama luvin lib these days. I don't see it on the internet anymore but he ran into Obama in Hawaii in 2004 or 6 (O was just elected Senator) and they had a long lunch at a well known hamburger joint.
    , @International Jew
    I second that recommendation of A Bend in the River. Read it back to back with Updike's The Coup!
  12. He somewhat liked proper Englishmen, but mostly didn’t think all that much of anybody who wasn’t V.S. Naipaul.

    He did apparently have words of praise for Country-Western songwriter Bob McDill, who penned Don Williams’ hit “Good Ole Boys Like Me”. Proper Southrons seem to have been okay in his book, too.

  13. @PiltdownMan
    I guess V.S. Naipaul died before he could be #metooed. Of course, there would have been much to reveal, since he himself spoke about his truly awful behavior towards the women in his life. And he was consistently forgiven for his behavior by women.

    https://www.elle.com/culture/books/a9008/brilliant-monsters-264034/

    His travel books about the Islamic world in our times, about Africa, and his three books about India are simply extraordinary. It tends to be less remembered, but he wrote a book about the American South, A Turn in the South, and he viewed Southern whites empathetically.

    https://www.nytimes.com/1989/01/25/books/books-of-the-times-exploring-the-south-or-rednecks-reconsidered.html

    https://www.nytimes.com/1989/02/05/books/rednecks-millionaires-and-catfish-farms.html?pagewanted=1

    Like most of the larger Southern cities, Atlanta now has a black government, a black aristocracy and black millionaires. But Mr. Naipaul was reminded of something he had seen before. Those grand towers and buildings of Atlanta, he thought, probably ''had as little to do with blacks as the buildings of Nairobi, say, had to do with the financial or building skills of the Africans of Kenya,'' and ''the talk of black power and black aristocracy was a little too pat and sudden.''
    ...
    Well beyond the city limits lay ''the great encircling wealth and true power of white Atlanta,'' which ''could get by quite well without the black-run city center.'' Well-to-do whites found other cause for self-esteem, but poorer whites still depended heavily on race. That lay ''at the back of everything, however unspoken: the thought of race, the little neurosis, the legacy of slavery.''
    ...
    Then what about the achievements of the civil rights movement? The answer often heard from blacks was skeptical. Martin Luther King Jr., says one, ''was a great mental-health cure for white Americans,'' but for blacks losses often outweighed gains. Segregation had united and preserved the black community, built those all-black churches, schools and fraternities out of which the movement against segregation sprang. The success of the movement, ironically, deprived blacks of old incentives to unite and resist and forced upon them the realization ''that being a white American wasn't all that great.'' ...

     

    His travel books about the Islamic world in our times, about Africa, and his three books about India are simply extraordinary. It tends to be less remembered, but he wrote a book about the American South, A Turn in the South, and he viewed Southern whites empathetically.

    Great writer! I read Turn in the South, his two books on the Muslim world and many others. He was funny and witty. RIP!

  14. I read Sir Vidias Shadow by Paul Theroux and was convinced that he was a great writer.

  15. @Harry Baldwin
    And yet, to the press, these are still the good guys, right?

    The press will either memory hole it, or they will say that the good guys were reacting to the bad guys, or they will talk with dishonest vagueness about “violence” without specifying the responsible party.

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    As far as I could tell, almost every single thing the press wrote about Charlottesville was a lie. Not that that should be surprising. Antifa essentially gets a pass to harrass and intimitate anyone the establishment deems to be an unperson, and the media will simply describe them as "counter protesters" rather than as "commie street-thugs". And yet they pretend that they stand in opposition to the establishment, whereas in reality they are their unofficial muscle.
  16. @Johnny Smoggins
    A Bend in the River is not to be missed for its unflinching portrayal of sub Saharan Africans.

    I've read several of his books and all were good. He was a truly talented writer.

    A Bend in the River is not to be missed for its unflinching portrayal of sub Saharan Africans.

    Paul Theroux is harsh in two books 40 years part and he is an Obama luvin lib these days. I don’t see it on the internet anymore but he ran into Obama in Hawaii in 2004 or 6 (O was just elected Senator) and they had a long lunch at a well known hamburger joint.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Theroux is just about the only High Culture figure who lives in Hawaii these days.
  17. Rachel Donadio wrote a profile of Naipaul some years back, for the NYT magazine, maybe. I remember one terrible sentence she wrote in it about how Naipaul included the “heartbreaking detail” that some Iranian guy he was interviewing over lunch was eating scrambled eggs. WTF is heartbreaking about scrambled eggs?

    • Replies: @El Dato
    Breaking eggs smacks of white colonialism.
  18. @Clyde

    A Bend in the River is not to be missed for its unflinching portrayal of sub Saharan Africans.
     
    Paul Theroux is harsh in two books 40 years part and he is an Obama luvin lib these days. I don't see it on the internet anymore but he ran into Obama in Hawaii in 2004 or 6 (O was just elected Senator) and they had a long lunch at a well known hamburger joint.

    Theroux is just about the only High Culture figure who lives in Hawaii these days.

    • Replies: @Clyde
    I read Theroux's semi-recent book about living in Hawaii but found it boring and could only get through 100 pages.
    , @Art Deco
    About 40% of Hawaii's population is exurban, small-town, and rural. The majority live in greater Honolulu. The haolie population is a concatenation of people who like the climate better than all the things you might like about the place you grew up. The layout, the architecture, and the amenities aren't ordered to appeal to the sort of people who write for a living or study for a living. The state university is spoken of in a deprecatory manner by people who live there. I think it had at one time sort of a niche it developed in the study of Polynesia, but otherwise it's a common-and-garden state campus that's there for its utility.
    , @Spike Gomes
    He seems to regard Hawaii as something of both a refuge from intellectual types, and a form of self martyrdom as an intellectual. I remember when the local paper interviewed him at a local Chinatown bar and he made the loud exclamation, "And no one here has read "Madam Bovary'!" And the interviewer noted someone piped up at the bar and said they had.

    I don't blame him overmuch. What passes as "cultured" here is pretty pathetic, but at the same time, we're not savages.
  19. Pheasant [AKA "Peasant"] says:

    RIP

    Have read a few of his books (a turn in the south, the middle passage, among the believers) and thought he was a great reactionary writer. His brother Shiva Naipaul died tragically young and his book north of south (i.e the part of the continent that is north of what was then aparthied South Africa) is like a more honest less elaborate look at Africa. I particularly like the part where he upbraids the English kenyan tea planters as hopelessly incapapble of understanding africans on their own terms. Also the part about the social climbing black woman who goes bankrupt trying to imitate the local White farmers. Imitation isnt good enough and she has no idea how to farm all while hating herself for being black and pretending to be White.

    If anyone here remembers the old Exile magazine based out of Russia they had a good run down of naipaul (dont think it was John Dolan, must have been Mark Ames) and why he was not accepted by either the Blacks in his homeland (being Asian) or the White liberals so he became a reactionary. From what I underatand his nobel prize was due to unseemly personal lobbying rather than neoconservative boosting (its hard to use an anti Islam writer to boost neoconservatism when he isnt exactly a blank slatist) as he was actually rather disliked in the publishing industry. His first editor after being let go after a couple of decades finally felt like she could now say she respected his writing but did not like him as a person. Anyway an excellwnt travel writer at the very least.

    • Replies: @JohnnyWalker123

    If anyone here remembers the old Exile magazine based out of Russia they had a good run down of naipaul (dont think it was John Dolan, must have been Mark Ames) and why he was not accepted by either the Blacks in his homeland (being Asian) or the White liberals so he became a reactionary.
     
    Maybe it was sexual and romantic frustration.

    According to what I've read, he wasn't attracted to his wife and sought to have an extramarital affair. However, he readily admitted that he failed at this and developed acute frustration over his inability to seduce English women. He also admitted that he then developed a predilection for prostitutes, who couldn't satisfy him sexually. It wasn't until he met his Anglo-Argentine mistress that he finally found the type of sexual partner he desired. Unfortunately for him, his mistress carried on an affair with a banker, to which he responded by beating her.

    He later left his wife, who was then dying of cancer, for some Pakistani Muslim journalist who seduced him. By then, his mistress was gone from his life too.

    He seems to have been a male version of Sarah Jeong.
  20. @Dave Pinsen
    Rachel Donadio wrote a profile of Naipaul some years back, for the NYT magazine, maybe. I remember one terrible sentence she wrote in it about how Naipaul included the “heartbreaking detail” that some Iranian guy he was interviewing over lunch was eating scrambled eggs. WTF is heartbreaking about scrambled eggs?

    Breaking eggs smacks of white colonialism.

  21. @PiltdownMan
    I guess V.S. Naipaul died before he could be #metooed. Of course, there would have been much to reveal, since he himself spoke about his truly awful behavior towards the women in his life. And he was consistently forgiven for his behavior by women.

    https://www.elle.com/culture/books/a9008/brilliant-monsters-264034/

    His travel books about the Islamic world in our times, about Africa, and his three books about India are simply extraordinary. It tends to be less remembered, but he wrote a book about the American South, A Turn in the South, and he viewed Southern whites empathetically.

    https://www.nytimes.com/1989/01/25/books/books-of-the-times-exploring-the-south-or-rednecks-reconsidered.html

    https://www.nytimes.com/1989/02/05/books/rednecks-millionaires-and-catfish-farms.html?pagewanted=1

    Like most of the larger Southern cities, Atlanta now has a black government, a black aristocracy and black millionaires. But Mr. Naipaul was reminded of something he had seen before. Those grand towers and buildings of Atlanta, he thought, probably ''had as little to do with blacks as the buildings of Nairobi, say, had to do with the financial or building skills of the Africans of Kenya,'' and ''the talk of black power and black aristocracy was a little too pat and sudden.''
    ...
    Well beyond the city limits lay ''the great encircling wealth and true power of white Atlanta,'' which ''could get by quite well without the black-run city center.'' Well-to-do whites found other cause for self-esteem, but poorer whites still depended heavily on race. That lay ''at the back of everything, however unspoken: the thought of race, the little neurosis, the legacy of slavery.''
    ...
    Then what about the achievements of the civil rights movement? The answer often heard from blacks was skeptical. Martin Luther King Jr., says one, ''was a great mental-health cure for white Americans,'' but for blacks losses often outweighed gains. Segregation had united and preserved the black community, built those all-black churches, schools and fraternities out of which the movement against segregation sprang. The success of the movement, ironically, deprived blacks of old incentives to unite and resist and forced upon them the realization ''that being a white American wasn't all that great.'' ...

     

    He was a talented and unflinching writer, but he had an almost sociopathic disregard for other human beings.

    Just read this.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/donotmigrate/3672030/Sex-truth-and-Vidia-Patrick-Frenchs-biography-of-VS-Naipaul.html

    The following night, Patricia Naipaul fell into a coma. Vidia removed her Cartier watch for fear it might be stolen by a passing health worker. The next morning, on Saturday, February 3, 1996, a little before seven o’clock, she passed away. After the cremation, Vidia returned to Dairy Cottage and took photographs of Pat’s meagre possessions: her bed, her spectacles, her shoes, her medicines, and the snow outside. Angela went to Sainsbury’s to buy food: cheese, Cox’s apples, black and green olives. Vidia noted on the receipt: ‘The olives were for Nadira, arriving on the 9th Feb.’ A local taxi drove Vidia up to Heathrow to collect Nadira, while Angela, shocked to the core, prepared the food for his bride. And so it was that on the day after he had cremated his wife, VS Naipaul invited a new woman into her house – or his house – and the funeral green olives did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan

    And so it was that on the day after he had cremated his wife, VS Naipaul invited a new woman into her house – or his house – and the funeral green olives did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.
     
    Patrick French's biography also notes that that day, he dispassionately handed Patricia ashes in a plastic bag to Nadira, and told her to dump them in the backyard. Patricia Hale had been his long suffering wife for 41 years, as he had woven a web of psychological dependence around her soon after they were married in the mid-1950s.

    The word gets misused a lot these days, but Naipaul was a misogynist, the real deal. The wonder is that so many journalistic articles written by women, over the years, let him off the hook quite lightly, even if they explicitly discuss examples of his nastiness to the women in his life.

    , @dearieme
    At least he'd good taste in apples.
  22. @Pheasant
    RIP

    Have read a few of his books (a turn in the south, the middle passage, among the believers) and thought he was a great reactionary writer. His brother Shiva Naipaul died tragically young and his book north of south (i.e the part of the continent that is north of what was then aparthied South Africa) is like a more honest less elaborate look at Africa. I particularly like the part where he upbraids the English kenyan tea planters as hopelessly incapapble of understanding africans on their own terms. Also the part about the social climbing black woman who goes bankrupt trying to imitate the local White farmers. Imitation isnt good enough and she has no idea how to farm all while hating herself for being black and pretending to be White.

    If anyone here remembers the old Exile magazine based out of Russia they had a good run down of naipaul (dont think it was John Dolan, must have been Mark Ames) and why he was not accepted by either the Blacks in his homeland (being Asian) or the White liberals so he became a reactionary. From what I underatand his nobel prize was due to unseemly personal lobbying rather than neoconservative boosting (its hard to use an anti Islam writer to boost neoconservatism when he isnt exactly a blank slatist) as he was actually rather disliked in the publishing industry. His first editor after being let go after a couple of decades finally felt like she could now say she respected his writing but did not like him as a person. Anyway an excellwnt travel writer at the very least.

    If anyone here remembers the old Exile magazine based out of Russia they had a good run down of naipaul (dont think it was John Dolan, must have been Mark Ames) and why he was not accepted by either the Blacks in his homeland (being Asian) or the White liberals so he became a reactionary.

    Maybe it was sexual and romantic frustration.

    According to what I’ve read, he wasn’t attracted to his wife and sought to have an extramarital affair. However, he readily admitted that he failed at this and developed acute frustration over his inability to seduce English women. He also admitted that he then developed a predilection for prostitutes, who couldn’t satisfy him sexually. It wasn’t until he met his Anglo-Argentine mistress that he finally found the type of sexual partner he desired. Unfortunately for him, his mistress carried on an affair with a banker, to which he responded by beating her.

    He later left his wife, who was then dying of cancer, for some Pakistani Muslim journalist who seduced him. By then, his mistress was gone from his life too.

    He seems to have been a male version of Sarah Jeong.

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan

    He seems to have been a male version of Sarah Jeong.
     
    That flatters Sarah Jeong to an absurd extent.
  23. @Johnny Smoggins
    A Bend in the River is not to be missed for its unflinching portrayal of sub Saharan Africans.

    I've read several of his books and all were good. He was a truly talented writer.

    I second that recommendation of A Bend in the River. Read it back to back with Updike’s The Coup!

    • Replies: @Simon
    Book note: I’m almost exactly halfway through A Bend in the River and, sorry to say, am increasingly bored, disappointed, and annoyed by it. I wanted to like it -- in part because, through a strange coincidence, I'd begun it just one day before hearing the news of Naipaul’s death, but mainly because I was eager to read some fiction by this revered but notoriously thorny, politically incorrect writer. (I had never made it through The Enigma of Arrival but remembered a travel piece on the American South.)

    The trouble with Bend – judging, admittedly, from the first half – is that it’s stuffed with windy pronouncements, page after page, about the African soul, modern Africa, the bush, revolution, the clash of civilizations, the tides of history, and other abstract ideas, but there’s virtually no story – just the shy, lonely narrator, a nonpracticing Muslim Indian from the coast, ruminating about his circumstances in the remote little African town where he’s more or less washed up and where he’s purchased, and now manages, a shabby general store. Despite its central role in the novel, you never get much sense of the town – it’s barely described and never comes to life, even as, throughout the book, it supposedly grows, decays, thrives again, etc. – or much sense of any other characters; the supposed changes they undergo are described in the vaguest, most general terms. Several scenes recount longwinded, stilted conversations that are just excuses for characters to air various opinions about Africa. Good fiction, I think, depends on specific concrete details; this barely feels like a novel. Maybe Updike’s The Coup will be more satisfying.

    P.S. I’ve read Out of Africa, but it’s mixed up with my memory of the movie. The best book, by far, that I’ve ever read about that continent is, ironically, Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux, Naipaul’s onetime protégé and for many years his celebrated literary enemy. It's a typically acerbic Theroux travel book, often quite funny. I have to say that probably one of the reasons I enjoyed it is that it confirmed all the worst prejudices I have about Africa (dirty, backward) and Africans (lazy, stupid, superstitious, corrupt, untrustworthy, and potentially violent).

  24. @Percy Gryce
    Glad to see Naipul and Theroux patched up their feud before the end:

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/india/11361208/V.S-Naipaul-and-Paul-Theroux-in-emotional-Jaipur-Literature-Festival-reunion.html

    Thanks for the link. I, too, am glad to hear that they settled their disagreement. I have always enjoyed their work.

  25. JohnnyWalker123:

    One might say the same thing about Evelyn Waugh, that “he had an almost sociopathic disregard for other human beings”. I disagree. Despite outward crustiness, Waugh felt some albeit limited compassion for the inanities of the human condition.

  26. @JohnnyWalker123
    He was a talented and unflinching writer, but he had an almost sociopathic disregard for other human beings.

    Just read this.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/donotmigrate/3672030/Sex-truth-and-Vidia-Patrick-Frenchs-biography-of-VS-Naipaul.html

    The following night, Patricia Naipaul fell into a coma. Vidia removed her Cartier watch for fear it might be stolen by a passing health worker. The next morning, on Saturday, February 3, 1996, a little before seven o'clock, she passed away. After the cremation, Vidia returned to Dairy Cottage and took photographs of Pat's meagre possessions: her bed, her spectacles, her shoes, her medicines, and the snow outside. Angela went to Sainsbury's to buy food: cheese, Cox's apples, black and green olives. Vidia noted on the receipt: 'The olives were for Nadira, arriving on the 9th Feb.' A local taxi drove Vidia up to Heathrow to collect Nadira, while Angela, shocked to the core, prepared the food for his bride. And so it was that on the day after he had cremated his wife, VS Naipaul invited a new woman into her house - or his house - and the funeral green olives did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.

     

    And so it was that on the day after he had cremated his wife, VS Naipaul invited a new woman into her house – or his house – and the funeral green olives did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.

    Patrick French’s biography also notes that that day, he dispassionately handed Patricia ashes in a plastic bag to Nadira, and told her to dump them in the backyard. Patricia Hale had been his long suffering wife for 41 years, as he had woven a web of psychological dependence around her soon after they were married in the mid-1950s.

    The word gets misused a lot these days, but Naipaul was a misogynist, the real deal. The wonder is that so many journalistic articles written by women, over the years, let him off the hook quite lightly, even if they explicitly discuss examples of his nastiness to the women in his life.

    • Replies: @Johnny Smoggins
    By current year standards he was not only misogynist, but also racist (against blacks) and "islamophobic".

    That he was never called out for it, one can only attribute to brown privilege.

    He was correct in his attitudes of course, but a White man would've been hounded out of the industry for similar things decades ago.
  27. @JohnnyWalker123

    If anyone here remembers the old Exile magazine based out of Russia they had a good run down of naipaul (dont think it was John Dolan, must have been Mark Ames) and why he was not accepted by either the Blacks in his homeland (being Asian) or the White liberals so he became a reactionary.
     
    Maybe it was sexual and romantic frustration.

    According to what I've read, he wasn't attracted to his wife and sought to have an extramarital affair. However, he readily admitted that he failed at this and developed acute frustration over his inability to seduce English women. He also admitted that he then developed a predilection for prostitutes, who couldn't satisfy him sexually. It wasn't until he met his Anglo-Argentine mistress that he finally found the type of sexual partner he desired. Unfortunately for him, his mistress carried on an affair with a banker, to which he responded by beating her.

    He later left his wife, who was then dying of cancer, for some Pakistani Muslim journalist who seduced him. By then, his mistress was gone from his life too.

    He seems to have been a male version of Sarah Jeong.

    He seems to have been a male version of Sarah Jeong.

    That flatters Sarah Jeong to an absurd extent.

    • Agree: sayless
  28. Surely, no caste Hindus would ever have emigrated to Trinidad as part of the British Empire’s ‘indentured labor’ scheme.

    The provenance of the subcon diaspora in Trinidad, Guyana etc is a mystery.
    There seems to a natural, bitter antipathy between that particular subcon diaspora and the local blacks.

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan

    Surely, no caste Hindus would ever have emigrated to Trinidad as part of the British Empire’s ‘indentured labor’ scheme.
     
    They did.

    https://www.sadhana.org/blog-1/2017/3/15/caste-a-relic-of-indo-caribbean-history-or-ever-present


    Data produced by the Protector of Emigrants in Calcutta, India categorized indentured Indian migrants to Suriname, Trinidad, and British Guiana from the years 1874 through 1917 by their caste. According to this data, 15.7% (Suriname), 14.3% (Trinidad), and 11.7% (British Guiana) of the population was considered Brahmins (high caste); 30.2% (Suriname), 30% (Trinidad), and 31.4% (British Guiana) were agriculturalists; 7% (Suriname), 6.6% (Trinidad), and 7.5% (British Guiana) were artisans; and 31.4% (Suriname), 34.9% (Trinidad), and 33.8% (British Guiana) were of a low caste.
     

    The provenance of the subcon diaspora in Trinidad, Guyana etc is a mystery.
    There seems to a natural, bitter antipathy between that particular subcon diaspora and the local blacks.
     
    There is actually a considerable body of research about the topic. It is no mystery as there is no dearth of data.

    As the migration was recent, in historic terms, and there has been institutional continuity in these countries from British rule to the present day, there is a continuous archive of administrative records, including ship's records of laborers' names and castes, places of origin in India, passenger lists, and numerous administrative memorandums and reports.

  29. @Steve Sailer
    Theroux is just about the only High Culture figure who lives in Hawaii these days.

    I read Theroux’s semi-recent book about living in Hawaii but found it boring and could only get through 100 pages.

  30. @JohnnyWalker123
    He was a talented and unflinching writer, but he had an almost sociopathic disregard for other human beings.

    Just read this.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/donotmigrate/3672030/Sex-truth-and-Vidia-Patrick-Frenchs-biography-of-VS-Naipaul.html

    The following night, Patricia Naipaul fell into a coma. Vidia removed her Cartier watch for fear it might be stolen by a passing health worker. The next morning, on Saturday, February 3, 1996, a little before seven o'clock, she passed away. After the cremation, Vidia returned to Dairy Cottage and took photographs of Pat's meagre possessions: her bed, her spectacles, her shoes, her medicines, and the snow outside. Angela went to Sainsbury's to buy food: cheese, Cox's apples, black and green olives. Vidia noted on the receipt: 'The olives were for Nadira, arriving on the 9th Feb.' A local taxi drove Vidia up to Heathrow to collect Nadira, while Angela, shocked to the core, prepared the food for his bride. And so it was that on the day after he had cremated his wife, VS Naipaul invited a new woman into her house - or his house - and the funeral green olives did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.

     

    At least he’d good taste in apples.

  31. @utu

    Naipaul won the Nobel Prize for Literature in the wake of 9/11, which had made his distaste for Islam briefly less disqualifying.
     
    Perhaps 9/11 pushed him through. Perhaps Saul Bellow made a phone call to Stockholm on behalf of his neocon buddies.

    I think Naipaul’s Nobel Prize was more a Nobel jury’s confused naive white liberal reaction to 9/11. Sort of like, “maybe if we give a Prize to a brown guy they won’t hate us as much, who could we give it to, oh hey, this Naipaul chap is not a bad writer,” not realizing that Hindus, Muslims, Indians, Arabs, Africans, etc. are all different, don’t like each other and are jealous of one another. In other words, the same thing they still don’t understand.

    • Replies: @sayless
    Have to disagree here. Naipaul deserved his Nobel, if anyone ever did. It wasn't a vanity award like Obama's Peace Prize. Even if N. was a nasty person.
  32. @Harry Baldwin
    And yet, to the press, these are still the good guys, right?

    These anti-fascist guys are really the new fascists. They have the state behind them–government, media, the wealthy–so they are given sanction to go out and beat up anybody that they don’t like.

    The guys are itching to pick a fight and so far no one on the right has been able to mount a serious challenge to these pajama boy bullies.

    They would not be so brave if there was a level playing field and the government had not been on their side.

    But a few beat downs by the thugs against the media might enlighten some of the clueless liberals about the nobility of this “virtuous” rabble.

  33. @Anonymous
    Surely, no caste Hindus would ever have emigrated to Trinidad as part of the British Empire's 'indentured labor' scheme.

    The provenance of the subcon diaspora in Trinidad, Guyana etc is a mystery.
    There seems to a natural, bitter antipathy between that particular subcon diaspora and the local blacks.

    Surely, no caste Hindus would ever have emigrated to Trinidad as part of the British Empire’s ‘indentured labor’ scheme.

    They did.

    https://www.sadhana.org/blog-1/2017/3/15/caste-a-relic-of-indo-caribbean-history-or-ever-present

    Data produced by the Protector of Emigrants in Calcutta, India categorized indentured Indian migrants to Suriname, Trinidad, and British Guiana from the years 1874 through 1917 by their caste. According to this data, 15.7% (Suriname), 14.3% (Trinidad), and 11.7% (British Guiana) of the population was considered Brahmins (high caste); 30.2% (Suriname), 30% (Trinidad), and 31.4% (British Guiana) were agriculturalists; 7% (Suriname), 6.6% (Trinidad), and 7.5% (British Guiana) were artisans; and 31.4% (Suriname), 34.9% (Trinidad), and 33.8% (British Guiana) were of a low caste.

    The provenance of the subcon diaspora in Trinidad, Guyana etc is a mystery.
    There seems to a natural, bitter antipathy between that particular subcon diaspora and the local blacks.

    There is actually a considerable body of research about the topic. It is no mystery as there is no dearth of data.

    As the migration was recent, in historic terms, and there has been institutional continuity in these countries from British rule to the present day, there is a continuous archive of administrative records, including ship’s records of laborers’ names and castes, places of origin in India, passenger lists, and numerous administrative memorandums and reports.

  34. The black Trinidadian CPA who lived upstairs from me in Chicago in the 1990s mentioned Naipaul had been his substitute teacher. He was a tough grader.”

    Methinks the CPA was confusing V.S.Naipaul who left Trinidad for England on a scholarship as a school boy with another Naipaul of his large family, possibly his father who was a marginally employed journalist and “writer.”

    Naipaul said that his A Bend in the River was better than Conrad. I’ve read it several times and I would have to agree with him.

  35. By Paul Theroux

    “Just after Christmas in 2006, I saw a familiar face in a small hamburger restaurant near where I live on the North Shore of Oahu. Apparently unrecognized by anyone in the place, Senator Obama, in an aloha shirt, sat at a large table with his sister and about seven children, on a holiday outing. After they had finished eating, I introduced myself.

    The senator was tall, witty, charming, the soul of friendliness. He wanted to talk. No sooner had we exchanged pleasantries than I became engaged in a conversation unlike any I have had before or since in this little surfing town. “You know, like you, I’ve spent a lot of time in Southeast Asia. I lived in Indonesia,” the senator said, as a way of introducing himself. We talked about Africa, about Cuba, about Hawaii.

    He wanted me to know that not only had he read my work but he had traveled and lived in distant lands, as well as in the poorer parts of America. In the conversation that followed, we talked about books, and life in general, but most of all we talked about the richness of the places we’d seen and how they had influenced us. Senator Obama seemed to define himself by the depth and complexity of his experience as a young man looking for his place in the wider world. With a glow of sympathy that was enlarged by humor and intelligence, he was utterly at home in the world.

    I mentioned that he’d make a great president and that he ought to run. He said he was studying it. That was the word he used. “But there’s no hurry,” I said, and making a play with his name in Swahili I added, “Haraka, haraka, haina baraka.” He understood and laughed at this owlish jape (“Too much of a hurry makes bad luck”-or an unsuitable Barack, since his name and luck or blessing are synonymous). This in itself was an event: the only time in twenty years when anyone in my little town showed any knowledge of Swahili.

    Not long after that encounter, Obama gave a speech at Cornell College, in Iowa, calling on his audience and all Americans to go out and serve their community. “Growing up, I wasn’t always sure who I was or where I was going,” he said, describing how he got all sorts of advice, as young adults do, just before he became a community organizer in Chicago-when he decided, as he put it, “to step into the currents of history and help people fight for their dreams.”
    http://peacecorpsonline.typepad.com/peacecorpsonline/2009/05/-paul-theroux-writes-obama-the-peace-corps-and-the-lesson-of-my-life.html

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Hawaii has virtually zero literary life, so it makes sense a (basically unique) serious writer in Hawaii like Theroux and a (quite rare) serious literary reader like Obama from Hawaii would find a warm connection if they ran into each other in Hawaii and got to talking.
    , @The Wild Geese Howard
    I read Theroux' book about kayaking around the South Pacific.

    I kept hoping the miserable bastard would just kill himself.

    I was sadly disappointed.
    , @J.Ross
    This smells like McEwan falling in love with W -- or Handke with Milosevic, or Garcia-Marquez with Castro.
  36. Saw Naipaul interviewed once years ago. He was a delight to listen to.

  37. I liked ‘Among the Believers’ but it wasn’t nearly as scathing as I’d been led to expect. Good read though.

  38. @PiltdownMan

    And so it was that on the day after he had cremated his wife, VS Naipaul invited a new woman into her house – or his house – and the funeral green olives did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.
     
    Patrick French's biography also notes that that day, he dispassionately handed Patricia ashes in a plastic bag to Nadira, and told her to dump them in the backyard. Patricia Hale had been his long suffering wife for 41 years, as he had woven a web of psychological dependence around her soon after they were married in the mid-1950s.

    The word gets misused a lot these days, but Naipaul was a misogynist, the real deal. The wonder is that so many journalistic articles written by women, over the years, let him off the hook quite lightly, even if they explicitly discuss examples of his nastiness to the women in his life.

    By current year standards he was not only misogynist, but also racist (against blacks) and “islamophobic”.

    That he was never called out for it, one can only attribute to brown privilege.

    He was correct in his attitudes of course, but a White man would’ve been hounded out of the industry for similar things decades ago.

  39. @Jimi
    Naipaul rightly recognized that far from being an agent of diversity, Islam served to homogenize the distinct local cultures with Africa, Middle East, South Asia and Pacific.

    "There probably has been no imperialism like that of Islam and the Arabs. The Gauls, after 500 years of Roman rule, could recover their old gods and reverences; those beliefs hadn't died; they lay just below the Roman surface. But Islam seeks as an article of the faith to erase the past; the believers in the end honor Arabia alone; they have nothing to return to."
     

    There probably has been no imperialism like that of Islam and the Arabs

    Seems that modern global materialism is erasing past cultures as fast as anything.

  40. @J.Ross
    The press will either memory hole it, or they will say that the good guys were reacting to the bad guys, or they will talk with dishonest vagueness about "violence" without specifying the responsible party.

    As far as I could tell, almost every single thing the press wrote about Charlottesville was a lie. Not that that should be surprising. Antifa essentially gets a pass to harrass and intimitate anyone the establishment deems to be an unperson, and the media will simply describe them as “counter protesters” rather than as “commie street-thugs”. And yet they pretend that they stand in opposition to the establishment, whereas in reality they are their unofficial muscle.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    Congratulations, we have achieved Communism! This is how it really works. As they said in Kolyma over the barking of the dogs, any questions?
  41. Indians didn’t fare too well in Post-Colonial Africa…
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expulsion_of_Asians_from_Uganda

    • Replies: @Edward
    Indeed: they were expelled from Kenya too.

    However, some of those who were expelled have now returned to Uganda, after the Ugandan government practically begged them to come back. The following BBC article details this, and compares and contrasts the Ugandan experience with Chinese people and Indian people.

    Drop by an upmarket hotel, cafe or restaurant in Uganda's capital, Kampala, and the chances are the owner will be an Asian from the Indian subcontinent.

    From running banks to farms to supermarkets to shopping malls, Ugandan Asians have regained their prominent role in the country's economy, following their mass expulsion more than four decades ago.

    About 50,000 Asians were forced to leave the country in 1972, on the orders of former military ruler Idi Amin, who accused them of "milking Uganda's money".

    At the time, they owned 90% of the country's businesses and accounted for 90% of Ugandan tax revenues.

    Since their return to the country in the 1980s and 1990s, Asians from the Indian subcontinent have once again become a pillar of the country's economy...

    Now, despite making up less than 1% of the population, they are estimated to contribute up to 65% of Uganda's tax revenues...

    ...many Ugandans are more worried about the Chinese, who are heavily involved in infrastructure projects. than South Asians...

    Others, who have worked for the Chinese in an unskilled capacity, speak of poor treatment and communication difficulties.

    "They complain that some Chinese treat Africans much worse than the Indians ever did in the 1960s and 1970s."
     
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-36132151

    The Chinese activity in sub-Saharan Africa (and elsewhere) is fascinating. There doesn't seem to be a consensus as to whether it is net-positive or net-negative.
  42. @Almost Missouri
    I think Naipaul's Nobel Prize was more a Nobel jury's confused naive white liberal reaction to 9/11. Sort of like, "maybe if we give a Prize to a brown guy they won't hate us as much, who could we give it to, oh hey, this Naipaul chap is not a bad writer," not realizing that Hindus, Muslims, Indians, Arabs, Africans, etc. are all different, don't like each other and are jealous of one another. In other words, the same thing they still don't understand.

    Have to disagree here. Naipaul deserved his Nobel, if anyone ever did. It wasn’t a vanity award like Obama’s Peace Prize. Even if N. was a nasty person.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Naipaul had been hugely famous in literary circles for roughly ever.

    I haven't read his two most famous, and rather early, books A House for Mr. Biswas and A Bend in the River. I've read lots of his later books and I have a bit of an impression that he was coasting some as the author of two widely admired books. But his fame was built a long, long time ago on those two books.

    , @Almost Missouri
    I don't say Naipaul didn't deserve a prize, only that the Nobel committee overlooks many worthy candidates, but on that occasion chose not to overlook Naipaul because as a brown person, he was lumped in the same conceptual category with every other PoC in the naive white liberal's mindset. And when confronted by that conceptual category in a dramatic way on 9/11, they had their usual knee-jerk reaction to that category, which is to barf up cash and prizes.
  43. @Steve Sailer
    Theroux is just about the only High Culture figure who lives in Hawaii these days.

    About 40% of Hawaii’s population is exurban, small-town, and rural. The majority live in greater Honolulu. The haolie population is a concatenation of people who like the climate better than all the things you might like about the place you grew up. The layout, the architecture, and the amenities aren’t ordered to appeal to the sort of people who write for a living or study for a living. The state university is spoken of in a deprecatory manner by people who live there. I think it had at one time sort of a niche it developed in the study of Polynesia, but otherwise it’s a common-and-garden state campus that’s there for its utility.

    • Replies: @Anon

    but otherwise it’s a common-and-garden state campus that’s there for its utility.
     
    What is its utility?
  44. @Steve Sailer
    Theroux is just about the only High Culture figure who lives in Hawaii these days.

    He seems to regard Hawaii as something of both a refuge from intellectual types, and a form of self martyrdom as an intellectual. I remember when the local paper interviewed him at a local Chinatown bar and he made the loud exclamation, “And no one here has read “Madam Bovary’!” And the interviewer noted someone piped up at the bar and said they had.

    I don’t blame him overmuch. What passes as “cultured” here is pretty pathetic, but at the same time, we’re not savages.

  45. @J.Ross
    Follow up: more reports of Antifa violence in Virginia. Gosh, it's a good thing no evil Nazis were there.

    https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2018/08/video-liberals-repeatedly-attack-nbc-reporter-in-charlottesville-at-black-lives-matter-protest/

    Protesters very aggressive with media. #Charlottesville pic.twitter.com/CSYNyvBbeG

    — Cal Perry (@CalNBC) August 12, 2018

    “Fu** you, snitch ass news bitch. Fu** you”. #Charlotsville pic.twitter.com/JPl3480FUG

    — Cal Perry (@CalNBC) August 12, 2018

    Yeah. We’re getting a lot of this. Protesters trying to grab our camera. #Charlotsville https://t.co/xIWLXPdkLt

    — Cal Perry (@CalNBC) August 12, 2018

    As [NBC News video journalist] Perry was walking and filming, a man wearing a dark cap, with facial fair and clear glasses approached from his left and started cursing Perry, “F*** you snitch a** b****! F*** you!”
    BONUS
    anonymous claim:
    About 9:30 tonight, maybe 500 or so mostly white antifas marched through my (almost entirely black) neighborhood chanting "whose streets? our streets!"

    This is an internecine feud AFAIC

  46. Was he used as a character by Michener in “Caribbea”?

  47. @vinny
    The Persians have held on a bit. And, for 13 centuries after the Arab conquests, before the troubles of the 20th centuries, there were many old time Christians in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Levant.

    You said, “The Persians have held on a bit. And, for 13 centuries after the Arab conquests, before the troubles of the 20th centuries, there were many old time Christians in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Levant.”

    I’m not sure how your comment relates to V. S. Naipaul nor do I see that your first and last sentence have any relationship at all.

    However, to add to your assertion that there were many old time (0ld-line?) Christians in Mesopotamia, Egypt and the Levant, there were many, many indigenous Jews in those same places until the nasty Zionist horror began after 1947.

  48. @J.Ross
    Of course it's inept, the writer is female.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1393365/V-S-Naipaul-slams-women-writers--including-Jane-Austen--sentimentality-feminine-tosh.html
    ----
    OT RUMOR Antifa got ready to rumble in Charlottesville but evil Nazis never showed up. So they devoted their energy to helping white homeless vets. Just kidding, they are claimed to be invading a hospital with the highly iatrogenic chant "COPS ARE RACIST!"

    Austen isn’t a patch on the Romantic poets for sentimentality. Charlotte Bronte, heavily influenced by Byron, described Pride and Prejudice thusly:

    An accurate daguerreotyped portrait of a common-place face; a carefully fenced, highly cultivated garden, with neat borders and delicate flowers—but no glance of a bright vivid physiognomy—no open country—no fresh air—no blue hill—no bonny beck. I should hardly like to live with her ladies and gentlemen in their elegant but confined houses.

    OTOH, Emily Bronte, who could out-Byron her sisters and possibly Byron himself, managed to combine Romantic sensibility with utter cynicism. Both of her famous lovers, despite their moor-frequenting, nature-lovin’ characters, are barking mad. They openly jeer at Isabella’s romantic notions about Heathcliff, who is almost certainly a sociopath, while Catherine looks like a classic case of BPD with a generous touch of narcissism. Their effect on civilized people is catastrophic. Most productions try to shift all the blame to civilized people so we can identify with Cathy and Heathcliff, but Bronte herself didn’t.

    Charlotte might not have been able to stand up to Naipaul’s comments about women writers; I can imagine her collapsing in tears after initial protests. Emily, however, would quietly ignore him, and then go do whatever she was going to do in any case.

  49. @sayless
    Have to disagree here. Naipaul deserved his Nobel, if anyone ever did. It wasn't a vanity award like Obama's Peace Prize. Even if N. was a nasty person.

    Naipaul had been hugely famous in literary circles for roughly ever.

    I haven’t read his two most famous, and rather early, books A House for Mr. Biswas and A Bend in the River. I’ve read lots of his later books and I have a bit of an impression that he was coasting some as the author of two widely admired books. But his fame was built a long, long time ago on those two books.

  50. Anyone who thinks Jane Austen is “sentimental” has not read Jane Austen.

    Madame Bovary, on the other hand, is either boring, or much better in French.

  51. @Clyde
    By Paul Theroux

    "Just after Christmas in 2006, I saw a familiar face in a small hamburger restaurant near where I live on the North Shore of Oahu. Apparently unrecognized by anyone in the place, Senator Obama, in an aloha shirt, sat at a large table with his sister and about seven children, on a holiday outing. After they had finished eating, I introduced myself.

    The senator was tall, witty, charming, the soul of friendliness. He wanted to talk. No sooner had we exchanged pleasantries than I became engaged in a conversation unlike any I have had before or since in this little surfing town. "You know, like you, I've spent a lot of time in Southeast Asia. I lived in Indonesia," the senator said, as a way of introducing himself. We talked about Africa, about Cuba, about Hawaii.

    He wanted me to know that not only had he read my work but he had traveled and lived in distant lands, as well as in the poorer parts of America. In the conversation that followed, we talked about books, and life in general, but most of all we talked about the richness of the places we'd seen and how they had influenced us. Senator Obama seemed to define himself by the depth and complexity of his experience as a young man looking for his place in the wider world. With a glow of sympathy that was enlarged by humor and intelligence, he was utterly at home in the world.

    I mentioned that he'd make a great president and that he ought to run. He said he was studying it. That was the word he used. "But there's no hurry," I said, and making a play with his name in Swahili I added, "Haraka, haraka, haina baraka." He understood and laughed at this owlish jape ("Too much of a hurry makes bad luck"-or an unsuitable Barack, since his name and luck or blessing are synonymous). This in itself was an event: the only time in twenty years when anyone in my little town showed any knowledge of Swahili.

    Not long after that encounter, Obama gave a speech at Cornell College, in Iowa, calling on his audience and all Americans to go out and serve their community. "Growing up, I wasn't always sure who I was or where I was going," he said, describing how he got all sorts of advice, as young adults do, just before he became a community organizer in Chicago-when he decided, as he put it, "to step into the currents of history and help people fight for their dreams."
    http://peacecorpsonline.typepad.com/peacecorpsonline/2009/05/-paul-theroux-writes-obama-the-peace-corps-and-the-lesson-of-my-life.html

    Hawaii has virtually zero literary life, so it makes sense a (basically unique) serious writer in Hawaii like Theroux and a (quite rare) serious literary reader like Obama from Hawaii would find a warm connection if they ran into each other in Hawaii and got to talking.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    I'm fascinated. George W. Bush is said to consume a great many history volumes as did Richard Nixon. As far as I can recall, the last President known to take an interest in imaginative literature was Harry Truman. Do you have a reference which would indicate that Obama does?
    , @Clyde
    I thought the Theroux-Obama encounter was very nice, partly because it was so random. And that only Paul Theroux knew it was Obama. Who was otherwise dining incognito with extended family.
    , @J.Ross
    Or y'know what else makes sense is celebrities talking up each others' brand. Obama must be a real good reader because he was able to locate the duck hunting codicil of the Second Amendment.
  52. @Clyde
    By Paul Theroux

    "Just after Christmas in 2006, I saw a familiar face in a small hamburger restaurant near where I live on the North Shore of Oahu. Apparently unrecognized by anyone in the place, Senator Obama, in an aloha shirt, sat at a large table with his sister and about seven children, on a holiday outing. After they had finished eating, I introduced myself.

    The senator was tall, witty, charming, the soul of friendliness. He wanted to talk. No sooner had we exchanged pleasantries than I became engaged in a conversation unlike any I have had before or since in this little surfing town. "You know, like you, I've spent a lot of time in Southeast Asia. I lived in Indonesia," the senator said, as a way of introducing himself. We talked about Africa, about Cuba, about Hawaii.

    He wanted me to know that not only had he read my work but he had traveled and lived in distant lands, as well as in the poorer parts of America. In the conversation that followed, we talked about books, and life in general, but most of all we talked about the richness of the places we'd seen and how they had influenced us. Senator Obama seemed to define himself by the depth and complexity of his experience as a young man looking for his place in the wider world. With a glow of sympathy that was enlarged by humor and intelligence, he was utterly at home in the world.

    I mentioned that he'd make a great president and that he ought to run. He said he was studying it. That was the word he used. "But there's no hurry," I said, and making a play with his name in Swahili I added, "Haraka, haraka, haina baraka." He understood and laughed at this owlish jape ("Too much of a hurry makes bad luck"-or an unsuitable Barack, since his name and luck or blessing are synonymous). This in itself was an event: the only time in twenty years when anyone in my little town showed any knowledge of Swahili.

    Not long after that encounter, Obama gave a speech at Cornell College, in Iowa, calling on his audience and all Americans to go out and serve their community. "Growing up, I wasn't always sure who I was or where I was going," he said, describing how he got all sorts of advice, as young adults do, just before he became a community organizer in Chicago-when he decided, as he put it, "to step into the currents of history and help people fight for their dreams."
    http://peacecorpsonline.typepad.com/peacecorpsonline/2009/05/-paul-theroux-writes-obama-the-peace-corps-and-the-lesson-of-my-life.html

    I read Theroux’ book about kayaking around the South Pacific.

    I kept hoping the miserable bastard would just kill himself.

    I was sadly disappointed.

  53. @sayless
    Have to disagree here. Naipaul deserved his Nobel, if anyone ever did. It wasn't a vanity award like Obama's Peace Prize. Even if N. was a nasty person.

    I don’t say Naipaul didn’t deserve a prize, only that the Nobel committee overlooks many worthy candidates, but on that occasion chose not to overlook Naipaul because as a brown person, he was lumped in the same conceptual category with every other PoC in the naive white liberal’s mindset. And when confronted by that conceptual category in a dramatic way on 9/11, they had their usual knee-jerk reaction to that category, which is to barf up cash and prizes.

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan

    I don’t say Naipaul didn’t deserve a prize, only that the Nobel committee overlooks many worthy candidates, but on that occasion chose not to overlook Naipaul because as a brown person, he was lumped in the same conceptual category with every other PoC in the naive white liberal’s mindset.
     
    Somehow, liberal or naive though it might be, it isn't likely the Royal Swedish Academy committee responsible for picking the literature Nobel didn't know Naipaul from any other PoC writer. They are widely read—it's their year-long job prior to the announcements, after all.

    Naipaul's literary and intellectual temperament and perspective were widely known among the literary set, for at least two decades before he won his prize. If they were going to pick a PoC, they would have likely picked someone else.
  54. @JohnnyD
    Indians didn't fare too well in Post-Colonial Africa...
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expulsion_of_Asians_from_Uganda

    Indeed: they were expelled from Kenya too.

    However, some of those who were expelled have now returned to Uganda, after the Ugandan government practically begged them to come back. The following BBC article details this, and compares and contrasts the Ugandan experience with Chinese people and Indian people.

    Drop by an upmarket hotel, cafe or restaurant in Uganda’s capital, Kampala, and the chances are the owner will be an Asian from the Indian subcontinent.

    From running banks to farms to supermarkets to shopping malls, Ugandan Asians have regained their prominent role in the country’s economy, following their mass expulsion more than four decades ago.

    About 50,000 Asians were forced to leave the country in 1972, on the orders of former military ruler Idi Amin, who accused them of “milking Uganda’s money”.

    At the time, they owned 90% of the country’s businesses and accounted for 90% of Ugandan tax revenues.

    Since their return to the country in the 1980s and 1990s, Asians from the Indian subcontinent have once again become a pillar of the country’s economy…

    Now, despite making up less than 1% of the population, they are estimated to contribute up to 65% of Uganda’s tax revenues…

    …many Ugandans are more worried about the Chinese, who are heavily involved in infrastructure projects. than South Asians…

    Others, who have worked for the Chinese in an unskilled capacity, speak of poor treatment and communication difficulties.

    “They complain that some Chinese treat Africans much worse than the Indians ever did in the 1960s and 1970s.”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-36132151

    The Chinese activity in sub-Saharan Africa (and elsewhere) is fascinating. There doesn’t seem to be a consensus as to whether it is net-positive or net-negative.

    • Replies: @Romanian
    I believe it is a net positive in a "maximizing GDP" kind of way. Even the locals are better off, considering the alternatives. Still, they will cry for the Indians and especially the Europeans and will lash out at the Chinese. The Chinese will not endear themselves to the Africans and who knows when they will decide that the land is worth more unpopulated.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1a-QpyF7rNc
  55. @Steve Sailer
    Hawaii has virtually zero literary life, so it makes sense a (basically unique) serious writer in Hawaii like Theroux and a (quite rare) serious literary reader like Obama from Hawaii would find a warm connection if they ran into each other in Hawaii and got to talking.

    I’m fascinated. George W. Bush is said to consume a great many history volumes as did Richard Nixon. As far as I can recall, the last President known to take an interest in imaginative literature was Harry Truman. Do you have a reference which would indicate that Obama does?

  56. @Almost Missouri
    I don't say Naipaul didn't deserve a prize, only that the Nobel committee overlooks many worthy candidates, but on that occasion chose not to overlook Naipaul because as a brown person, he was lumped in the same conceptual category with every other PoC in the naive white liberal's mindset. And when confronted by that conceptual category in a dramatic way on 9/11, they had their usual knee-jerk reaction to that category, which is to barf up cash and prizes.

    I don’t say Naipaul didn’t deserve a prize, only that the Nobel committee overlooks many worthy candidates, but on that occasion chose not to overlook Naipaul because as a brown person, he was lumped in the same conceptual category with every other PoC in the naive white liberal’s mindset.

    Somehow, liberal or naive though it might be, it isn’t likely the Royal Swedish Academy committee responsible for picking the literature Nobel didn’t know Naipaul from any other PoC writer. They are widely read—it’s their year-long job prior to the announcements, after all.

    Naipaul’s literary and intellectual temperament and perspective were widely known among the literary set, for at least two decades before he won his prize. If they were going to pick a PoC, they would have likely picked someone else.

    • Agree: Johann Ricke
  57. This speech by V.S. Naipaul, to the Manhattan Institute, is worth a read.

    https://www.city-journal.org/html/our-universal-civilization-12753.html

  58. @Steve Sailer
    Hawaii has virtually zero literary life, so it makes sense a (basically unique) serious writer in Hawaii like Theroux and a (quite rare) serious literary reader like Obama from Hawaii would find a warm connection if they ran into each other in Hawaii and got to talking.

    I thought the Theroux-Obama encounter was very nice, partly because it was so random. And that only Paul Theroux knew it was Obama. Who was otherwise dining incognito with extended family.

  59. @Edward
    Indeed: they were expelled from Kenya too.

    However, some of those who were expelled have now returned to Uganda, after the Ugandan government practically begged them to come back. The following BBC article details this, and compares and contrasts the Ugandan experience with Chinese people and Indian people.

    Drop by an upmarket hotel, cafe or restaurant in Uganda's capital, Kampala, and the chances are the owner will be an Asian from the Indian subcontinent.

    From running banks to farms to supermarkets to shopping malls, Ugandan Asians have regained their prominent role in the country's economy, following their mass expulsion more than four decades ago.

    About 50,000 Asians were forced to leave the country in 1972, on the orders of former military ruler Idi Amin, who accused them of "milking Uganda's money".

    At the time, they owned 90% of the country's businesses and accounted for 90% of Ugandan tax revenues.

    Since their return to the country in the 1980s and 1990s, Asians from the Indian subcontinent have once again become a pillar of the country's economy...

    Now, despite making up less than 1% of the population, they are estimated to contribute up to 65% of Uganda's tax revenues...

    ...many Ugandans are more worried about the Chinese, who are heavily involved in infrastructure projects. than South Asians...

    Others, who have worked for the Chinese in an unskilled capacity, speak of poor treatment and communication difficulties.

    "They complain that some Chinese treat Africans much worse than the Indians ever did in the 1960s and 1970s."
     
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-36132151

    The Chinese activity in sub-Saharan Africa (and elsewhere) is fascinating. There doesn't seem to be a consensus as to whether it is net-positive or net-negative.

    I believe it is a net positive in a “maximizing GDP” kind of way. Even the locals are better off, considering the alternatives. Still, they will cry for the Indians and especially the Europeans and will lash out at the Chinese. The Chinese will not endear themselves to the Africans and who knows when they will decide that the land is worth more unpopulated.

  60. @Mr. Anon
    As far as I could tell, almost every single thing the press wrote about Charlottesville was a lie. Not that that should be surprising. Antifa essentially gets a pass to harrass and intimitate anyone the establishment deems to be an unperson, and the media will simply describe them as "counter protesters" rather than as "commie street-thugs". And yet they pretend that they stand in opposition to the establishment, whereas in reality they are their unofficial muscle.

    Congratulations, we have achieved Communism! This is how it really works. As they said in Kolyma over the barking of the dogs, any questions?

  61. @Steve Sailer
    Hawaii has virtually zero literary life, so it makes sense a (basically unique) serious writer in Hawaii like Theroux and a (quite rare) serious literary reader like Obama from Hawaii would find a warm connection if they ran into each other in Hawaii and got to talking.

    Or y’know what else makes sense is celebrities talking up each others’ brand. Obama must be a real good reader because he was able to locate the duck hunting codicil of the Second Amendment.

  62. @Clyde
    By Paul Theroux

    "Just after Christmas in 2006, I saw a familiar face in a small hamburger restaurant near where I live on the North Shore of Oahu. Apparently unrecognized by anyone in the place, Senator Obama, in an aloha shirt, sat at a large table with his sister and about seven children, on a holiday outing. After they had finished eating, I introduced myself.

    The senator was tall, witty, charming, the soul of friendliness. He wanted to talk. No sooner had we exchanged pleasantries than I became engaged in a conversation unlike any I have had before or since in this little surfing town. "You know, like you, I've spent a lot of time in Southeast Asia. I lived in Indonesia," the senator said, as a way of introducing himself. We talked about Africa, about Cuba, about Hawaii.

    He wanted me to know that not only had he read my work but he had traveled and lived in distant lands, as well as in the poorer parts of America. In the conversation that followed, we talked about books, and life in general, but most of all we talked about the richness of the places we'd seen and how they had influenced us. Senator Obama seemed to define himself by the depth and complexity of his experience as a young man looking for his place in the wider world. With a glow of sympathy that was enlarged by humor and intelligence, he was utterly at home in the world.

    I mentioned that he'd make a great president and that he ought to run. He said he was studying it. That was the word he used. "But there's no hurry," I said, and making a play with his name in Swahili I added, "Haraka, haraka, haina baraka." He understood and laughed at this owlish jape ("Too much of a hurry makes bad luck"-or an unsuitable Barack, since his name and luck or blessing are synonymous). This in itself was an event: the only time in twenty years when anyone in my little town showed any knowledge of Swahili.

    Not long after that encounter, Obama gave a speech at Cornell College, in Iowa, calling on his audience and all Americans to go out and serve their community. "Growing up, I wasn't always sure who I was or where I was going," he said, describing how he got all sorts of advice, as young adults do, just before he became a community organizer in Chicago-when he decided, as he put it, "to step into the currents of history and help people fight for their dreams."
    http://peacecorpsonline.typepad.com/peacecorpsonline/2009/05/-paul-theroux-writes-obama-the-peace-corps-and-the-lesson-of-my-life.html

    This smells like McEwan falling in love with W — or Handke with Milosevic, or Garcia-Marquez with Castro.

  63. FWIIW I cornered Naipaul in Bangkok a decade or so ago, with Nadira, after he had given a speech and he was perfectly amiable and helpful.

    His speech had been about how modern academia is filled with charlatans and frauds at least on the humanities side. He particularly railed against Oxford University’s English Literature degree course which he described as a “reading romp” rather than the much, much harder graft that he undertook when he took it half a century earlier.

    My favorite line from a Naipaul book was when he was asked at an Malaysian Islamic center IIRC to admire a man who could recite the Koran to which he replied “But that’s only one book!”

  64. @Art Deco
    About 40% of Hawaii's population is exurban, small-town, and rural. The majority live in greater Honolulu. The haolie population is a concatenation of people who like the climate better than all the things you might like about the place you grew up. The layout, the architecture, and the amenities aren't ordered to appeal to the sort of people who write for a living or study for a living. The state university is spoken of in a deprecatory manner by people who live there. I think it had at one time sort of a niche it developed in the study of Polynesia, but otherwise it's a common-and-garden state campus that's there for its utility.

    but otherwise it’s a common-and-garden state campus that’s there for its utility.

    What is its utility?

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Occupational training for locals, though with an academic auxlilliary like any other state campus.
  65. @Anon

    but otherwise it’s a common-and-garden state campus that’s there for its utility.
     
    What is its utility?

    Occupational training for locals, though with an academic auxlilliary like any other state campus.

  66. @International Jew
    I second that recommendation of A Bend in the River. Read it back to back with Updike's The Coup!

    Book note: I’m almost exactly halfway through A Bend in the River and, sorry to say, am increasingly bored, disappointed, and annoyed by it. I wanted to like it — in part because, through a strange coincidence, I’d begun it just one day before hearing the news of Naipaul’s death, but mainly because I was eager to read some fiction by this revered but notoriously thorny, politically incorrect writer. (I had never made it through The Enigma of Arrival but remembered a travel piece on the American South.)

    The trouble with Bend – judging, admittedly, from the first half – is that it’s stuffed with windy pronouncements, page after page, about the African soul, modern Africa, the bush, revolution, the clash of civilizations, the tides of history, and other abstract ideas, but there’s virtually no story – just the shy, lonely narrator, a nonpracticing Muslim Indian from the coast, ruminating about his circumstances in the remote little African town where he’s more or less washed up and where he’s purchased, and now manages, a shabby general store. Despite its central role in the novel, you never get much sense of the town – it’s barely described and never comes to life, even as, throughout the book, it supposedly grows, decays, thrives again, etc. – or much sense of any other characters; the supposed changes they undergo are described in the vaguest, most general terms. Several scenes recount longwinded, stilted conversations that are just excuses for characters to air various opinions about Africa. Good fiction, I think, depends on specific concrete details; this barely feels like a novel. Maybe Updike’s The Coup will be more satisfying.

    P.S. I’ve read Out of Africa, but it’s mixed up with my memory of the movie. The best book, by far, that I’ve ever read about that continent is, ironically, Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux, Naipaul’s onetime protégé and for many years his celebrated literary enemy. It’s a typically acerbic Theroux travel book, often quite funny. I have to say that probably one of the reasons I enjoyed it is that it confirmed all the worst prejudices I have about Africa (dirty, backward) and Africans (lazy, stupid, superstitious, corrupt, untrustworthy, and potentially violent).

  67. @Jimi
    Naipaul rightly recognized that far from being an agent of diversity, Islam served to homogenize the distinct local cultures with Africa, Middle East, South Asia and Pacific.

    "There probably has been no imperialism like that of Islam and the Arabs. The Gauls, after 500 years of Roman rule, could recover their old gods and reverences; those beliefs hadn't died; they lay just below the Roman surface. But Islam seeks as an article of the faith to erase the past; the believers in the end honor Arabia alone; they have nothing to return to."
     

    Naipaul rightly recognized that far from being an agent of diversity, Islam served to homogenize the distinct local cultures with Africa, Middle East, South Asia and Pacific.

    “There probably has been no imperialism like that of Islam and the Arabs. The Gauls, after 500 years of Roman rule, could recover their old gods and reverences; those beliefs hadn’t died; they lay just below the Roman surface. But Islam seeks as an article of the faith to erase the past; the believers in the end honor Arabia alone; they have nothing to return to.”

    The Islamic Empire will fail the same as all the others. In fact it’s already happening as their people every year see how maladaptive it is to modernity. They start to take off their headscarves and look around at alternatives.

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