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About Amit Varma

Amit Varma is a writer based in Mumbai. He worked in journalism for over a decade, and won the Bastiat Prize for Journalism in 2007. His bestselling novel, My Friend Sancho, was published in 2009. He is best known for his blog, India Uncut. His current project is a non-fiction book about the lack of personal and economic freedoms in post-Independence India.

Bastiat Prize 2007 Winner

Recent entries

Consent Won a Battle This Week. The War Remains

This is the 11th installment of The Rationalist, my column for the Times of India. Remember, remember, the sixth of…

What the Kerala Floods Tell Us About the Two Ideas of India

This is the 10th installment of The Rationalist, my column for the Times of India. A debate has been conducted…

Where Have All the Leaders Gone?

This is the first installment of Politics Without Romance, my monthly column with Bloomberg Quint. As the name indicates, this…

Test Cricket Is Dying, but Cricket Is Not

This is the first installment on a cricket column I have started for Cricket Next, in which I will write…

Every Act of Government Is an Act of Violence

This is the 9th installment of The Rationalist, my column for the Times of India. There was outrage on Twitter…

06 March, 2007

The Tool of Satan

Every now and then I get hate mail from some religious dude (always a dude, never a chica) lambasting me for being anti-Hindu, or anti-Muslim, or anti-Christian. (If it’s the first, I’m also pseudo-secular.) If I reply, I generally point out that I’m an equal-opportunity religion basher, and if they look past the particular post that has provoked their ire, they will find that I speak out regularly against people who use any religion as an excuse to impose their views on others. I consider free speech to be more sacred than any God, a view that is clear from my defense of the Danish cartoonists, “Do not draw my unicorn.”

And so it gave me great delight when I come across a piece by cartoonist Doug Marlette, which had the strap “An Equal-Opportunity Offender Maps the Dark Turn of Intolerance.” Joy. In it, Marlette writes:

[H]ow do you cartoon a cartoon? It’s a problem of redundancy in this hyperbolic age to caricature an already extravagantly distorted culture. When writers try to censor other writers, we’re in Toontown. We are in deep trouble when victimhood becomes a sacrament, personal injury a point of pride, when irreverence is seen as a hate crime, when the true values of art and religion are distorted and debased by fanatics and zealots, whether in the name of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Prophet Mohammed, or a literary Cult of Narcissus.

Read the full piece. I especially liked the bit about when someone called Marlette up at his office and accused him of being “a tool of Satan,” and he replied:

That’s impossible. I couldn’t be a tool of Satan. The Charlotte Observer’s personnel department tests for that sort of thing.

They try to screen for tools of Satan. Knight Ridder human resources has a strict policy against hiring tools of Satan.

I’m a huge fan of tools.

(Link via email from Gautam John.)

Posted by Amit Varma in Miscellaneous

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