Censoring Klavan

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Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Andrew Klavan, the author of such classic suspense novels as True Crime, filmed by Clint Eastwood, Don’t Say a Word, filmed starring Michael Douglas, and Empire of Lies. He’s been nominated for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award five times and has won it twice.  He is a contributing editor to City Journal and his essays and commentary have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post and elsewhere.  He also writes and appears in the bi-weekly satire video Klavan on the Culture for PJTV. His new novel, The Identity Man, will be published in November.

FP: Andrew Klavan, welcome back to Frontpage Interview.

Klavan: Thank you, Jamie.  It’s a pleasure.

FP: You have recently been informed that the French release of your thriller novel Empire of Lies has been canceled by publisher Seuil Policiers. What’s going on?

Klavan: The book, as you know, is about a politically conservative and Christian man who believes he’s uncovered an Islamist terrorist plot that’s being obscured by the bias and political correctness of our leftwing media.  The novel was bought for Seuil by a brave and intelligent editor named Robert Pepin.  Robert left to establish his own imprint at another publishing house and was replaced by a young woman.  She was, as she herself explained to my agent, too upset by the “political and religious” aspects of my novel to go forward with publication.  She breached our contract–for which I’d already been paid in full–and canceled the book.

FP: Do you think Seuil Policiers would have cancelled the release if your novel was about a peace-loving Muslim who has uncovered a terrorist plot being hatched by rightwing Christians?

Klavan: I’d like to give a dignified answer to that, Jamie, but I’m laughing too hard.  To be plain, however: No.  That would only be true if this were an act of religious tolerance.  But censoring depictions of the patent evil of Islamism isn’t religious tolerance, it’s self-hatred.  It’s the cultural equivalent of one of those bizarre diseases where the body’s immune system turns against itself, where the inner structures meant to keep you healthy become, in some sense, part of the very sickness that kills you.

In our society, with its classical and Jewish-Christian underpinnings, we have an intellectual tradition of being critical of ourselves and tolerant of others.  That’s a very healthy attitude.  A corrective to self-certainty and jingoism, a shield against self-righteousness and belligerence.  But if it gets out of control–like the sick immune system–it just becomes a vehicle for self-hatred and self-punishing shame.

FP: What trend do you see here? What is the significance?

Klavan: Well, even though the French cancellation of my novel may be a small incident in the scheme of things, I do think it’s indicative of a more general problem.  As the left’s policies have collapsed and failed everywhere, leftists have become more and more interested in silencing opposing voices.  Political correctness itself is an attempt to marginalize dissenting speech.  So-called “hate-speech” restrictions have the force of law in Europe.  There are threats here in America to bring back the fairness doctrine.  Not to mention the constant charge of “racism,” which today almost always means not that you’re a racist but that you’ve somehow embarrassed the left with the facts.

Look, Empire of Lies is a novel.  Its hero Jason Harrow, isn’t some square-jawed Gary Cooper who’s always right.  He’s a deeply troubled man who doubts his own conclusions and whose philosophy – as with all of us – grows up out of his own life and troubles.  You can disagree with him but to rule him out of court, to rule that he shouldn’t exist, that the book must not be published is symptomatic of a moral and cultural disorder.

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  • robtjonz

    As islamist terrorist plot? Why that's just hateful! They're all practitioners of the cult, er, uh, I mean, religion, of peace.

  • flybynight

    Grist for Mr. Klavan's spiritual mill:
    The literature of Hebrew-Christian Scripture and its history are the most important bodies of knowledge in this world NOT because of the people through whom the information has been transmitted. The universal antidote for pride sometimes exhibited by members of the Hebrew-Christian tribes is offered in Ezekiel 16. Hebrew-Christian Scripture and its history are most important because they reflect the goodwill and purpose of Elohim-YHWH-Adonai: goodwill toward ALL the people of earth. Peace! Goodwill toward men. We The People of The Book are Satan's enemies. Satan disguised himself as an angel of light and, playing on resentments caused by the unfortunate bastardy of Ishmael which was created by Abraham's randy disobedience w/Hagar, Satan intrigued and seduced Mohammed much the same as he did Eve. Islam is Satan's weapon against We The People of The Book. Temporal or spiritual, facts are facts.

    • ajnn

      A little incoherent.

      It could more easily be argued that Mohammed intended to establish a cult of personality similar to Mao or Stalin to create a theological underpinning for his authoritarian and expansionist (imperialist) regime.

      What is clear is that Mohammed was not a good writer and many of his precepts have not stood the test of time in being 'constructive'.

      • Nick Shaw

        Perhaps you can tell me, ajnn, how were Mohammed's precepts "constructive" even at the time they were written? Lemme' see, one group writes a book that includes phases like "do unto others… you know the rest" and another group writes a book that says "behead those that do not submit". I am religious in no sense of the word but, if asked which was the book of the Lord and which was the book of the Devil, it wouldn't take a second to choose. This talk of religion should not even be considered when discussing Islam anyway. Islam is the perverted ideology of, well, frankly, a pervert wrapped in a cloak of supposed "higher calling".

  • hikerdude

    We are being ruled by elite insanity. Our vote has been declared unconstitutional. We are witnessing the suicide of America . Its throat is being cut with a political correct knife in the hands of as Klavan describes them self hatred elites feeding on insanity. We have the same scenario going as post WWII Germany. Obama and his gang are the new Nazis. Us White people are the new Jews. Kristal Naut is coming . Actually it has already surfaced disguised as anti racism (the new racism).
    American Christian Infidel
    Michael Canzano

  • scum

    Probably the manuscript was just lame. Lore knows, Klavan says all kinds of silly things on his video comedy shows you can see here on FPM. On of his video clips was actually an 'ad' for religion (God help us), which claimed that contrary to popular belief, more wars have been started by non-believers than people with God in their pocket. It's such a stupid argument one barely knows where to begin. But one might say first off that very few wars have been started by those flying the atheist flag. There isn't an atheist flag. There is, however, the Order of Christ which waged war directly on behalf of Catholicism for years. Then there's 9/11, committed by a number of Islamic nutbags who were tired of American forces being stationed on hallowed soil

    • RickMZ

      Well, scum, your nick is appropriate.

    • ajnn

      "Klavan says all kinds of silly things on his video comedy shows "

      Well, yes, COMEDY is often silly. I love Steve Martin's work. Of course, he is a remarkable genius. I saw one of his comedy standup routimes where he did several minutes with no punchlines. The comedy was not dependant on the content of what he was saying. He was manipilating rythms and energy to create laughter.

      Remarkable. I was amazed and understood him as a artist.

    • ajnn

      To find "the atheist flag" for the 18th century we might look to the French Revolution. The 19th Napoleon Bonaparte. The 20th maybe also Mao's Korean War,

      That was not difficult.

    • fmobler

      Actually, there are lots of atheist flags an d emblems, usually riffing on the Bohr atom or the infinity symbol (not that that makes a lot of sense if you think the finite world is all there is) or a circle (that's usually a tip o the hat to the new agey atheists — yep, there are plenty of them) or the letter A (who says atheists lack an imagination).

      Seriously, flags don't matter. So far in history, every single political regime that was officially atheist has been a disaster for human rights and has (correctly) regarded the church as it main enemy. Go ahead, try to cite a counter-example. You say it's "such a stupid argument one barely knows where to begin" I don't know which one you are talking about, but those of us benighted enough think that facts matter have an inkling.

    • IndyIsDave

      Oh surprise surprise! The little cowardly troll did his little "hit and run" job without needing to hear the critique on his own self-righteous rantings. Scum, you are a mindless puppet of the mainstream propaganda machine which relies on nonsensical emotions rather than anything resembling fact. Do your self-righteous mind a little favor and crack open a history book that is not filled with revisionist crap. Read about how your peaceful Muslim fanatics would simply leave others the f**k alone if we just did what they wanted. You idiot, read Osama Bin Laden and KSM's own words. They declared jihad on the US and Israel soon after the Soviets were booted out of Afghanistan. Have you even heard of the USS Cole? The first trade center bombing? Do you know what Sharia law is? Your concern for Muslims is so touching, it makes me sick. Yeah, rat, scurry back your hole. Andrew, keep up the great work.

    • WilliamJamesWard

      Well well, you've bagged yourself again. Idiot!

  • Douglas

    What an appropriate name, scum. You must be one of those self loathers. Educate yourself.

  • jpeditor

    You are aptly named, though I think next time you might also give your entire name: Stupid Islamo-Marxist Scum.

    "But one might say first off that very few wars have been started by those flying the atheist flag."


    As for "American forces being stationed on hallowed soil"…

    More like hallowed by the murderous death cult of jihad, as they will consider any place they kill infidels (or use the toilet) to be hallowed.

    In any event, genius, American troops were stationed in Arab lands at that time AT THE REQUEST OF THE ARAB GOVTS.

    So glad to know you parrot Bin Laden's philosophy. Please keep posting so we can track your ip address.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    "Empier of Lies" sounds like it will be a great read if a publisher will not be afraid
    of leftist/Islamist threat. I do not think we have to look to far from our daily lives and
    what is happening in our world to be suspicious. Everything is so twisted for all of
    us that the truth can only be found in waking up, getting our heads out of our………
    Anything that points light towards leftist/Islamist subversion will be attacked.
    What does our MSM who are bought traitors work at most, spinning the truth
    and weaving falsehood in every thing they say and do. Our government is working
    against us and the leftists are making America into a prison without American liberty
    for its citizens but only for freedom for those who are destroying it. Look at the
    destroyer in chief, he is following a plan………..Were the Twin Towers not large
    enough to be a sufficient sign that we have and Islamist problem and the very act
    of the MSM denying it and leftist obfuscation and subversion so damn obvious
    that Americans can not wake up to our immenent danger. The election in November
    will be to little to late………William

  • Nick Shaw

    It's hard to comment when folks like scum show up to display their ignorance. I just want to scream, "Read a book you idiot!". I'm glad jpeditor gave him such a smackdown over that "few wars..started by atheists" crack. Good going jp! Anyway, Jamie, your articles would be better served if Google ads didn't pop up at the end of each segment telling people how to join Islam or Bush claims vs. facts for the Iraq War. I don't know if it's just my server or if you know this at all but, it happens all the time at FPM.

  • Guest

    I don't really know if it's appropriate to call the Muslim intentions for world domination a plot, exactly. It's never been a secret, in fact it's been quite overt since the time of Muhammed.

    What has changed is the willingness of the non-Muslim world to take Islam at its word. Once, non-Muslims, Christians in particular, understood that the Muslims meant what they said since they and our Jewish brethren as well as every other non-Muslim, experience what it was like to live as dhimmi or accept forced conversion. Today, people are far too busy condemning Christians and Jews for various evils, and give Islam a pass.

    But the bottom line is that that Islam has intented to establish a Muslim world right from the very beginning, and has fought for 1500 years to bring that goal to fruition. We in the West just aren't paying attention; I guess the idea of having to fight a religious war, as we have been and will have to do again, is repugnant to most of us.

    • LoneStar

      It's amazing, but I watch a lot of old movies from the sixties and seventies. Three films, the Odessa File-1974 and starring none other than John Voight the outspoken critic of Islam, Khartoum-1966, and Baader Meinhoff 2008 about events that happened in the seventies, all three talk about in great detail about the ideology that drives the Muslim to act as he does.

      Very enlightening, because when I was kid, I was told that all the trouble in the Mideast was just a squabble between the Jews and the Muslims. Now I know, they are after all of us.

  • Gerald

    I find Guest's use of the words non-Muslims quite irritating. Those words imply that the Muslims are placed on a lofty pedestal whilst the rest of humanity are non-entities. Can't somebody come up with a better word to describe the vast bulk of Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs. Perhaps we are the humanists whilst Islam is an inhuman cult or ideology.