Big Rock Candy Mountain

The official voice of the Deseret Liberation Organization

Hitchens on Mumbai

Christopher Hitchens has a spot-on commentary on the Mumbai attacks. Most of his usual preachiness is gone. But he goes on one bizarre tangent:

When Salman Rushdie wrote, in The Moor’s Last Sigh in 1995, that “those who hated India, those who sought to ruin it, would need to ruin Bombay,” he was alluding to the Hindu chauvinists who had tried to exert their own monopoly in the city and who had forcibly renamed it—after a Hindu goddess—Mumbai. We all now collude with this, in the same way that most newspapers and TV stations do the Burmese junta’s work for it by using the fake name Myanmar. (Bombay’s hospital and stock exchange, both targets of terrorists, are still called by their right name by most people, just as Bollywood retains its “B.”)

Well, actually, in the native Marathi and Gujarati languages, Mumbai has always been the city’s name. It was just the Hindi and English transliterations of the city’s name that were changed from Bombay to Mumbai. Still, I do agree with him that changing the foreign names of cities is pretty stupid. Romans call their city Roma, but we don’t; why do we have to waste time and money changing all the English literature on Bombay to literature on Mumbai?

Anyway, the article is great. Why is this guy still writing for Vanity Fair even as total nitwits have managed to infiltrate the opinion columns of every major daily? Since he is now a citizen, it is his patriotic duty is to unseat Dowd, Friedman, Kristol, or any of the other cretins at the NYT, or one of the innumerable host of wingnuts at the WSJ. The WaPo columnists can stay; they generally do not make claims that are factually innaccurate, condescending or trite. USA Today doesn’t count.

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