Salman Rushdie's Simple Theory On Peace Through Nintendo

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Booker Prize-winning author and famous fatwa target Salman Rushdie has a simple solution for how one should liberate Iran, the country whose former Supreme Leader once issued a death sentence against the novelist. Rushdie puts his faith in Nintendo.


"I often think that the best way to liberate Iran is to just to drop Nintendo consoles from the air," Rushdie says, "and Big Macs." Rushdie (jokingly) explains his carpet bombing plan of smiles and sodium theory to web site Big Think in a new interview timed with the release of his recent novel, Luka and the Fire of Life, a work of fiction semi-inspired by video games.

Rushdie also offers his thoughts on the storytelling structure of video games, specifically open world Western Red Dead Redemption.

"I don't even pretend to understand what's going on really, but one of the things that's interesting about it to me is the much looser structure of the game and the much greater agency that the player has, to choose how he will explore and inhabit the world," Rushdie says. "That really interests me as a storyteller. I've always though that one of the things the internet and the gaming world permits as a narrative technique is to not tell a story from beginning to end [but] to tell a story sideways."

But Rushdie has his concerns about the medium, worrying that video games may be "eroding" people's appreciation of the printed story.

"There are legitimate concerns there and I worry also that there's a dumbing down factor," he says. "These games, they sometimes require lateral thinking , they sometimes require quite skilled hand eye coordination, but they're not in any sense intelligent in the way that you want your children to develop intelligence - to make the mind not just supple, but actually informed."


This isn't the first time Rushdie has theorized peace in the Middle East via video games while also lumping them in with consumer garbage, but maybe someone will listen and start deploying Wiis to Iran.


Salman Rushdie [BigThink]



"I think video games, YouTube, you know, these are the things that will change the world. Because when people see what garbage everybody else is consuming, they want it too."

~ Salman Rushdie

Okay? With respect, just because lots of people want something, doesn't necessarily mean they'll get it. And I doubt that people will stage formal oppositions just for the sake of something like video games or YouTube. (Sure, I could be wrong, but I don't really see how Rushdie's statement is supposed to work.)


As for wanting "to make the mind not just supple, but actually informed," I'd like to know what he means by that.