Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Exercist

To break with recent tradition on these pages, today's entry is not about Christopher Hitchens. It's about Salman Rushdie, who is quoted in an AP story as saying:
"I think it (the fatwa) was very important to Christopher [Hitchens] in his thinking and in his politics...And so he became very exorcised and therefore very available to me during that time."
 To exorcise is to expel, drive out, cleanse--often with the help of a religious shaman, or a priest played by Max von Sydow. One definition of exercise, however, according to the American Heritage Dictionary, is "to stir to anger or alarm; upset" and I think that's obviously the meaning--and the word--Rushdie had in mind here.

Bonus Unintended Meaning Quibble: A headline on the Huffington Post today, about a fight for a soon-to-be-available front row seat at White House press conferences, reads: Bloomberg: We Deserve Helen Thomas's Seat, Not Fox News. 

Nobody deserves Fox News.