Alice Jones: Surely no literary giant should use an emoticon?

IMHO: Rushdie stung in Twitter expose of badassery - and bad spelling

Related Topics

Newsflash! Salman Rushdie can't spell hot. Or rather, he probably can, but on Twitter, in his messages to a nubile New York socialite, he spells it "hottt", as in "you look so gorgeous and hottt!" Elsewhere on the social networking site, he calls fellow writer Gary Shteyngart "dawg" and boasts about their – deep breath, now, boys and girls – "badassery".

The Booker Prize-winning novelist only joined the social networking site in September but he has taken to has taken to it so enthusiastically that in less than three months he has racked up 1,218 tweets and counting. Inevitably, he now finds himself the victim of a Twit-sting, at the hands of Devorah Rose, twenty-something editor of the Hamptons glossy Social Life who dined out with Rushdie a few times. He asked her out on Facebook, continued the flirtation on Twitter and then, after a change of heart, let her down with a textbook "it's not you, it's me" message. "I'm sorry to say that I don't feel able to pursue what we only just began," he typed. "I hope that we can remain friends."

Rose, a veteran of reality television shows like Real Housewives of New York, and no stranger to over-sharing, sniffed a story and splashed the private messages to her 1,400 or so followers on Twitter. All rather embarrassing for Rushdie but at the age of 64, he's entitled to date who he likes. Far more embarrassing is his social netiquette. His tweets to Rose throb with the hormonal misspellings of a teenage boy. His Facebook messages are sprinkled with – the horror! – emoticons. He uses words like "badassery".

To see a novelist mangling words and using smiley yellow cartoon faces to convey emotions is jarring, to say the least. Shouldn't our literary greats follow the aloof Julian Barnes model and save their words for slim prize-winning volumes? Or, failing that, take after Martin Amis and store up one's personal spleen for occasional, explosive flurries in the media? Maybe not. We might like the idea of intellectual novelists locked away in their ivory towers, watching over our precious English language but the mundane truth is that writing is a day job.

When Rushdie and his ilk are not elegantly encased between two hard covers, they can make for rather a prosaic and dispiriting read. So now I've done what I did when Bret Easton Ellis tweeted that The Human Centipede 2 was "likeable and charming" - the only thing, really, a true book lover can do. Reader, I unfollowed him.

* I've been staring at it for a good 20 minutes – on and off – and I'm still not quite sure what I'm looking at. There's no 3D image of a dolphin, emerging Magic Eye-style from the sea of letters and numbers, and there's definitely no sign of Wally in his red-and-white stripy jumper. The unintelligible grid has been posted at by GCHQ as part of a recruitment drive: those who manage to break the code find themselves redirected to the intelligence agency's website and encouraged to apply for a job. It's not quite the whispered word from the Russian tutor in the college cloisters but spies have always favoured the arcane job application. Bletchley Park famously fished its "boffins" via a Daily Telegraph crossword competition and GCHQ have previously hidden messages in computer games to lure technology whizzkids. There is an easier way. You could just log on to, but as George Smiley or Jack Bauer probably once said, form-filling is for losers.

* Where better to escape the clutches of George "Grinch" Osborne than the plush red seats of theatreland? Last week, both Matilda and One Man, Two Guvnors opened in the West End to an unseemly scrap for tickets. They join Jerusalem, back in London after a triumphant run in New York, which features the must-see performance of the decade from Mark Rylance. In April, One Man, Two Guvnors will also transfer to Broadway, confirming theatre as one of the UK's most valuable exports.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: SAGE Bookkeeper & PA to Directors

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Neo-Nazis march in London  

I'm taking my Jewish kids to a vile neo-Nazi rally in London this weekend because I want them to learn about free speech

Richard Ferrer
A police officer carries a casualty to safety  

Tunisia attack proves that we cannot stop terrorists carrying out operations against Britons in Muslim countries

Robert Verkaik
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map