Does Salman Rushdie Think Mos Def Is Insane in a Good or Bad Way?


In a "Talk of the Town" piece from this week’s New Yorker, Salman Rushdie and Christopher Hitchens sit down to dinner. Facts gleaned from the banter: (1) Hitch really likes word games that would be best played on Twitter. In addition to his and Martin Amis’s “hysterical sex” game, he and Rushdie enjoy just-waiting-for-a-hashtag small talk like: "'Laughterhouse Five,’ Guest No. 1 [Rushdie] said. ‘Romeo and Julie.’ 'No, no, no,' Guest No. 2 [Hitchens] replied. 'That’s the ruining-everything-by-changing-one-letter game. Let’s do the substitute-dick-for-heart game.'" (2) Salman Rushdie thinks Mos Def is insane: “Guest No. 1 [Rushdie], on Mos Def: ‘He is insane.’” Unfortunately, given the remark's minimal context, it is difficult to discern if this is intended as a compliment or an insult. Does Rushdie mean Mos is insane in a "he has such a unique and impressive mind and energy that it boggles my mind" way? Or does he just mean, "That guy is crazy?" (The conversation Rushdie, Hitch, and Mos Def had on Bill Maher suggests it's likely the latter.) Perhaps Rushdie and Hitch can next develop a Twitter game about the multiple meanings of bare-bones quotes. [NYer]