RonPrice's Journal

Oct 2012
4:43 AM AEST


Part 1:

Salmon Rushdie(1947- ) is back in the news. Death threats were made against him including a fatwā requiring his execution which was proclaimed on Radio Tehran. The fatwa was issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, on 14 February 1989. I was just settling in to the first year of my final decade as a FT lecturer in a technical college in Western Australia; 1989 was also my first year as the secretary of a local Baha’i community in a suburb of Perth, Belmont, beside the Swan River.

I was immersed in the task of dealing with 100 students a week, and serving as a secretary of a Baha’i group of some 30 or more in a wider Perth Baha’i community at the time of some 1500 Baha’is.� I was up-to-my-ears in a 60 to 80 hour week of wall-to-wall people.� The news of Mr Rushdie in 1989 was just an on-air bit of information to add to the many other happenings reported that day by the electronic and print media such as: (i) heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson’s divorce in the Dominican Republic, (ii) Union Carbide’s agreement to pay $470 million damages for Bhopol disaster, and (iii) the placing of the world's 1st satellite, the first of 24 satellites, of a Global Positioning System into orbit.

1989 was a very big year on the global agenda. �In the midst of everything else happening that year, from Tiananmen Square to the fall of the Berlin Wall, I didn't dream that the forces underlying this remote anti-Rushdie event far-out on the periphery of my psyche and of western civilization would eventually come to define our era in so many ways. At the time, the Rushdie affair just seemed to me like some weird historical sideshow as I ploughed through the all-consuming tasks that made-up my week.� I had a few hours left-over to give to: my wife and kids, a few friends, my daily-walk and other activity to keep body-and-soul together so that I might enjoy my 64 hours a week of rest and sleep---in order to get back to the 100 hours involved in getting through my weekly tasks.

Part 2:

The following decade was an all-consuming one for Rushdie who was in the belly of some beast that I watched, heard or read about, but only on the rare occasion, safely from my observation tower half a world away occupied, as I say above, with my own life’s all-consuming agenda. Rushdie has just published a new book which takes us inside that whale-of-a-beast for that decade of the 1990s.� The new book is his memoir, Joseph Anton, and it’s about his living-in-hiding for more than a decade. Filled with cameos by everyone from Bill Clinton to Christopher Hitchens to Warren Beatty, this literary page-turner, as one reviewer describes it, tells us in fascinating detail, says the same reviewer, what it means to have every aspect of your life overturned. Not all the reviews and reviewers thusfar have been fascinated and captivated. Check them out to get that balanced view the media is so concerned about---at least in some cases.

The ayatollah's death sentence meant that Rushdie had to choose a new, non-Asian identity. He did. He called himself Joseph Anton, a name which came from combining the first names of two famous writers: Joseph Conrad and Anton Chekhov. He also had to adjust to live-in bodyguards and having to ask permission to do the simplest things, like meeting his son. More than Rushdie’s literary output, the death sentence against him turned the author into an international celebrity. In recent years, Rushdie himself has become a fixture on the New York social scene, with a reputation for keeping the company of glamorous women half his age.

Part 3:

Some readers, drawing parallels with the recent tabloidization of Rushdie’s own life, may cringe at how much his memoir peddles in publishing-world gossip, but like the author himself, Joseph Anton is an amalgam of high and low, salaciousness and profundity. As he has before, Rushdie proves himself a master at straddling the boundary between supermarket romance and philosophical treatise. The long rite of affairs and betrayals and divorces can’t obscure the fact that this is, ultimately, a wise book about some of the most important issues affecting the world today.

Foremost among those issues are the causes of free speech and free expression. Rushdie is an absolutist on these issues, arguing that free speech amounts to “life itself.” He suggests that the attempt by radical Islam to stifle The Satanic Verses was really the opening salvo in an ongoing conflict that has continued through the rise of al-Qaeda and the Sept.�11 terrorist attacks. The seeds of intolerance sown in 1989, when Khomeini’s fatwa was passed, have sprouted into a far more general—and violent—conflict between militant Islam and Western culture. Rushdie quotes the German poet Heinrich Heine: “Where they burn books, they will in the end burn people too.”1

He insists on complexity and nuance where polemic and clich� so often reign. This is what writers do. And this, ultimately, is Rushdie’s triumph. In an age of rising intolerance and diminished literary confidence, Joseph Anton—like Rushdie’s own life—strikes a blow for the continued relevance of literature.–Ron Price with thanks to Akash Kapur, Book Review: 'Joseph Anton' by Salman Rushdie, in The Stackon October 04, 2012

We each have our own memoirs;
why I’ve got mine on 1000s of
pages and all over the internet, &
most people have them up in their
heads; others, still, are placing some
of their story on Facebook & twitter.

To each their own as we each tell our
story to others and to ourselves before
our final story goes before those pearly
gates, & we go into a hole for those who
tell no more story…….at least not here!

I won’t be reading your story, Salmon,
in its 600+ pages…..There are just too
many stories: cyberspace-&-real space.

There are stories in the humanities & social
sciences, the physical, biological, & applied
sciences and the result is an image-&-print
glut that keeps everyone busy working out
their own agenda. You’ve certainly had more
than your share, more than your 15 minutes of
fame, as old Andy once put it long ago back in
the 60s for all those hippies who were starting
to make their mark on civilization and who are
now heading into old-age. I wish you well, dear
Salmon, as you too head into old-age writing, as
you have been doing for decades: another hippy
who has made his mark on global civilization!!!

Ron Price
����������������������������������� REALLY REAL��������
I wrote these two short paragraphs in my first month after retiring from FT paid-employment with 50 years in classrooms under my belt, 1949-1999, and after listening to an interview this morning with Salmon Rushdie.1 �The interview and Rushdie’s words made me think about the pioneer in so many walks of life.� He or she should strive, as far as possible, to create home where it did not exist before wherever they go.� But this is not always easy work. In a city like Perth with over a thousand Baha’is I found there were pockets, groups, of Baha’is I was never at home with.��

Virtually all pioneers wherever they are found, it seems to me, are not able to ‘remove strangeness.’1� There is always some sense of not belonging. The pioneer is in the position, Salmon Rushdie describes having two dreams: rootedness and journeying. He refers to people having two needs: community and group identity, as well as individuality and transcendence.2 –Ron Price with thanks to:� 1Salmon Rushdie, “Arts Today: Interview”, ABC Radio National, 3 May 1999, 9-10:00 a.m.; and 2Bahiyyih Nakhjavani, Four on an Island, Oxford, 1983, p. 62.

A week after I retired from full-time work as a teacher and lecturer, after 32 years in the classroom and another 18 as a student, the website CNN Entertainment published an article entitled: “Rushdie’s new book out from under shadow of fatwa.”1 �The book referred to was The Ground Beneath her Feet and it was about a completely different world than that of his 1988 book The Satanic Verses. The new world of Rushdie’s 1999 book was: rock ‘n roll music, New York and the crossover cultures between the east and the west Rushdie, an Indian-born novelist, in 1999 was still getting used to a more visible life.

A decade before, in 1989, Iran’s revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, issued a death edict against him for allegedly blaspheming Islam in that book The Satanic Verses. Khomeini died soon afterward, but Rushdie had to go into hiding for nearly a decade. It wasn’t until September 1998 that Tehran disassociated itself from Khomeini’s edict, as part of a deal aimed at restoring full diplomatic relations with Britain.-Ron Price with thanks to 1the website CNN Entertainment, 15 April 1999.

Your book is a variation on the Orpheus/Eurydice
myth with rock music replacing the Orpheus lyre.
The myth works as a red thread from which you
sometimes stray, but to which you attach endless
references.� You gave us a sort of report on life at
the end of the 20th century….I was far too busy to
read it getting-out from under 50 years of those
classrooms, Baha’i responsibilities in the big-city
and ready to take a sea-change from many jobs.

Your book provided a background and an alternate
history to those ‘50s to ‘90s period of rock music’s
growth….You give us, the reviewers said, humour
in a predictable unpredictability, a rat-tat-tat pace.
For clear shots of insight into the human condition
and the universe as it might be, you always moved
the ground beneath our feet.2 …So perhaps during
these years of my sea-change, at 55+++, I may just
finally get ‘into’ you---but only time will tell since I
have had to recreate my life-style….my entire MO.3

1On 10 May 1999, six hundred people attended a reading and book signing of author Salman Rushdie’s new bookThe Ground Beneath Her Feet.–Zarminae Ansari, “Salmon Rushdie’s “rock and roll” novel,” The Tech: Online Edition, 4 June 1999.� By June 1999 I had finished marking the last pieces, scripts, papers, I was given after my classroom teaching had come to an end.

2� Linda L. Richards, “The Earth Moves,” January Magazine, April 1999.
3 modus operandiis a Latin expression used in who-dun-its. It means method of operating or way of going about things.

Ron Price
14 November 2011

When I was working in a tin mine on the west coast of Tasmania in 1981/2 at one of the dirtiest, but emotionally challenging, jobs I’ve ever had, Salmon Rushdie was catapulted to literary fame.� I think I may have come across his name on the morning news before going to work on the bus in this little town on the west coast of Tasmania where it just about always rained.

I got on the bus early in the morning in the dark and the rain for, as I say, it nearly always rained on the west coast of this beautiful island state of Australia.� News of Rushdie and his Midnight’s Children(1981)was the beginning of his story in the narrative that is my own life and, over twenty-five years later, I still follow the writing and life of this acclaimed and controversial writer.

Yesterday I listened to an interview on ABC radio1 with this Indian-British novelist and essayist, this Muslim-born and self-proclaimed atheist around whom have been swirling literary and political issues, especially since the publication of his novel The Satanic Verses(1988).�

I had left the tin mine by 1988 and was living in what is arguably the most isolated city on the planet, Perth, Western Australia.� The comparisons and contrasts between Rushdie’s writing and mine I found helped to place my own work in a useful personal perspective.� This prose-poem is just one of a series of pieces which examines these comparisons and contrasts.-Ron Price with thanks to “The Book Show,” ABC Radio National,� 21 April 2008, 10:05-11:00 a.m.
I tell stories, too, Salmon
but I don’t draw on the
deficit model of history1
in the same way as you.

I, too, subvert linear history
with spacial, sacred, circular
and fragmented models, far
more transnational, not the
discreet national-local story
here, more the flickering film
of a phenomenal world where
a sense of unity is demanding
fulfilment on a tide of desire
for an outward and political
form mounting to a flood, to
a climax in these tempestuous
times of troubles and woes.

Writing for me was a second
choice, too, Salmon, after I
realized I could not make a
career of baseball and life
wore me out with forty years
of endless talking and listening
among other slings and arrows
of life’s outrageous fortune.

1Camilla Nelson, “ Faking It: History and Creative Writing,” TEXT: Vol. 11, No.2, 2007.

Ron Price
22 April 2008


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    About Me: EMPLOYMENT-SOCIAL-ROLE POSITIONS: 1943-2012 2010-2012-Retired and on a pension in George Town, Tasmania 1999-2009-Writer & Author, Poet & Publisher, Editor & Researcher. Retired Teacher & Lecturer, Tutor & Adult Educator, Taxi-Driver & Ice-Cream Salesman, George Town Tasmania Australia 2002-2005-Program Presenter City Park Radio Launceston 1999-2004-Tutor &/or President George Town School for Seniors Inc 1988-1999 -Lecturer in General Studies & Human Services West Australian Department of Training 1986-1987 -Acting Lecturer in Management Studies & Co-ordinator of Further Education Unit at Hedland College in South Hedland WA 1982-1985 -Adult Educator Open College of Tafe Katherine NT 1981 -Maintenance Scheduler Renison Bell Zeehan Tasmania 1980-Unemployed due to illness and recovery 1979-Editor External Studies Unit Tasmanian CAE; Youth Worker Resource Centre Association; Lecturer in Organizational Behaviour Tasmanian CAE; Radio Journalist ABC---all in Launceston Tasmania 1976-1978 -Lecturer in Social Sciences & Humanities Ballarat CAE Ballarat, Victoria 1975 - Lecturer in Behavioural Studies Whitehorse Technical College, Box Hill Victoria 1974 -Senior Tutor in Education Studies Tasmanian CAE Launceston, Tasmania 1972-1973 -High School Teacher South Australian Education Department 1971-Primary School Teacher Whyalla South Australia ----------ABOVE THIS LINE AUSTRALIA AND BELOW THIS LINE CANADA-------------------------------------------------------------------- 1969-1971 Primary School Teacher Prince Edward County Board of Education Picton Ontario Canada 1969-Systems Analyst Bad Boy Co Ltd Toronto Ontario 1967-68 -Community Teacher Department of Indian Affairs & Northern Development Frobisher Bay NWT Canada 1959-67 -Summer jobs-1 to 4 months each- from grade 10 to end of university 1949-1967 - Attended 2 primary schools, 2 high schools and 2 universities in Canada: McMaster Uni-1963-1966, Windsor Teachers’ College-1966/7 1944-1963 -Childhood(1944-57) and adolescence(1957-63) in and around Hamilton Ontario 1943 to 1944-Conception in October 1943 to birth in July 1944 in Hamilton Ontario --------------------------BELOW THIS LINE-----------------------BIO-DATA----------------------- 2. SOME SOCIO-BIO-DATA TO 2011 I have been married twice for a total of 44 years. My second wife is a Tasmanian, aged 65. We’ve had one child: age 34. I have two step-children: ages: 46 and 41, three step-grandchildren, ages 18, 15 and 1, as well as one grandchild aged 3 months. All of the above applies in December 2011. I am 67, am a Canadian who moved to Australia in 1971 and have written several books--all available on the internet. I retired from full-time teaching in 1999, part-time teaching in 2003 and volunteer teaching/work in 2005 after 35 years in classrooms. In addition, I have been a member of the Baha’i Faith for 52 years. Bio-data: 6ft, 230 lbs, eyes-brown/hair-grey, Caucasian. My website is found at: You can also go to any search engine and type: Ron Price followed by any one of a number of words in addition to: poetry, forums, religion, literature, history, bipolar disorder, psychology, sociology, Baha’i, inter alia, to access my writing________________________

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