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posted on 06.13.09
by Arty

"I had a kind of revelation in the Sinai desert, where Moses received the Ten Commandments. Suddenly I experienced a total rejection of monotheism. In this very rocky, inspiring land, I said to myself that the idea of believing in only one God was cretinous. I could not think of another word. And the stupidest religion of all is Islam. When one reads the Koran one is devastated, devastated. At least the Bible is very beautiful because the Jews have a sacred literary talent which can excuse a lot of things." (Michel Houellebecq)

"I know that Islam - by far the most stupid, false and obfuscating of all religions - currently seems to be gaining ground, but it's a transitory and superficial phenomenon: in the long term, Islam is even more doomed than Christianity." (Michel Houellebecq, Les particules élémentaires)

"In literary terms, the Bible has several authors, some good and some as bad as crap. The Koran has only one author and its overall style is mediocre." (Michel Houellebecq)

"I am fed up with being under the thumb of this population which is destroying us, destroying our country and imposing its acts," (Brigette Bardot in reference to the Islamisation of France after being convicted of hate crimes for the fifth time)

"Your Holiness, why in the name of the only God, don't you take them into the Vatican?"... "On the condition that they don't smear with shit the Sistine Chapel ... " (Orianna Fallaci) Italian author, next to face trial in France on charges of "blasphemy" levied against her by radical Muslim leader Adel Smith.

Lets get one thing straight right off the bat, I'm not a fan of Michel Houellebecq books. "The Elementary Particles" was one of the most repugnant pieces of literature I've ever read, it made me want to take a shower every time I put it down. I have friends that loved it, I've read critics that have loved it and placed Houellebecq as an heir to the same literary tradition as Camus and Celine. I dont see it, quite frankly I just dont think he has the chops, although I've heard reading it in French one can more greatly appreciate the quality of prose. I will say though that his essay on HP LOVECRAFT "Against the World, Against Life" (McSweeney books) is an absolute MUST read and one of the greatest pieces of literary criticism I have read since WALTER BENJAMIN.

So I've been following the trial over the past few months and was greatly relieved (but not surprised) to see him acquited. Like myself a number of French writers found his work "too repulsive" to bother defending, but that didn't stop a great number of artists, intellectuals, and politicians from coming to his aid. SALMAN RUSHDIE wrote a great piece on it for The Guardian here -

“Hi Shay Thanks for your post but having read three of his novels, hands down Houellebecq is the best writer of our time. He understands and articulates the contemporary condition in a style and tone with a depth and wit that is his alone. ”
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