Mick, Nick and Ian McEwan:
@ Mick Hartley:
"Ian McEwan insists that criticising Islam is not racist:
The Booker Prize winner said those who claimed judging Muslims was "de facto" racism were playing a "poisonous argument".
McEwan, 61, the best-selling author of novels including Amsterdam, Atonement and Saturday, thought many in the left wrongly took this position because they had an anti-Americanism shared with Islamists.
In an interview with today's Telegraph Magazine, McEwan said: "Chunks of left-of-centre opinion have tried to close down the debate by saying that if you were to criticise Islam as a thought system you are a de facto racist. That is a poisonous argument.
"They do it on the basis that they see an ally in their particular forms of anti-Americanism," he said.
"So these radical Muslims are the shock-troops for the armchair Left who don't want to examine too closely the rest of the package – the homophobia, the misogyny and so on."
@ Nick Cohen's:
"Beard has incautiously suggests that there may – just may – be evolutionary reasons for gender differences in the average intellectual aptitudes of men and women. The press denounce him as a Nazi and a eugenicist, and he agrees to appear at the ICA to defend himself. In an acid scene, McEwan shows that London followers of post-modernism are as contemptuous of the scientific method and as potentially racist as Alaskan followers of Sarah Palin."
This is relevant:
"Even then, Christopher was mesmerised by the idea of America. He always wanted a bigger scene.
What was definitive for him, politically, was the fatwa against Salman Rushdie in 1989. I think that was the turning point. The deep Islamophobic impulse he has stems from that. But he's still an idiosyncratic mixture of various political attitudes that don't always go together."