By Ken Krayeske • 7:35 AM EST
L ife is good. My friend Chill Will from beatbikeblog called me Friday afternoon and said "Hey, I have a pair of tickets to go see Salman Rushdie at 5:30 at the Wallace Stevens Theater at The Hartford. Do you want to go?"
Hell, yes. Rushdie is a genius, at least according to State Representative Andrew Fleischman, who we ran into at the Hartford. Rushdie has been in movies, written a song for U2, converted one of his many novels into a play, and survived a fatwa from the Ayatollah Khomeini.
And last night, Rushdie, on his first stop promoting his new book The Enchantress of Florence, was funny, despite his interviewer. Chill Will asked why he never listened to moderator Diane Smith on her morning show on WTIC 1080-AM. That's why, Will.
The highlight of the evening: Rushdie told a true tale from Persian history about an emporer who chopped up his enemy from his eastern frontier. He literally sent pieces of the vanquished foe's body across his empire. His servants boiled the skull clean, and encrusted it with jewels and gold. The conqueror drank wine from the skull, and enjoyed it. One day, he got an idea that he would send the skull to the Ottomans, his enemies on his western frontier, to show them how powerful he was, and to remind them of their fate. The Ottomans wanted none of it, and they soon invaded and our skull-cup drinking king met a similar devlish fate.
Rushdie simply concluded, "This is the kind of species we are. These are the kind of things that we do to each other."