The title of Mr. Rushdie’s new memoir . . . comes from the alias he assumed when British police told him back in 1989 that he needed a pseudonym: the Joseph comes from Joseph Conrad, the Anton from Anton Chekhov. The protection officers issued to him by the British government soon took to calling him “Joe,” an abbreviation he says he detested.
The thing that I don’t understand is why he detested the nickname. If I were in a comparable situation, I think I’d appreciate if my security detail gave me a friendly nickname. Then again, with the stress that Rushdie’s been under, I can imagine all sorts of personality transformations.