Dr. Andy

Reflections on medicine and biology among other things

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The cartoons

Well, I try not to get bogged down too much in politics, but I will say that this Charles Krauthammer column captures my opinions about the cartoons:
There is a "sensitivity'' argument for not having published the cartoons in the first place, back in September when they first appeared in that Danish newspaper. But it is not September. It is February. The cartoons have been published, and the newspaper, the publishers and Denmark itself have come under savage attack. After multiple arsons, devastating boycotts and threats to cut off hands and heads, the issue is no longer news value, i.e., whether a newspaper needs to publish them to inform the audience about what is going on. The issue now is solidarity.
The mob is trying to dictate to Western newspapers, indeed Western governments, what is a legitimate subject for discussion and caricature.
Were they offensive? Maybe; personally I didn't see the original 12 as too bad, but then I wasn't offended by Piss Christ or the picture of Mary with elephant poop all over it. I have no problem with people peacefully protesting the printing of the cartoons, writing letters to the editor, etc. But once people start acting violently it is important to stand up for free speech. And the hypocrisy of papers like the NYTimes which publish images offesive to Christianity while refusing to publish the cartoons is stark, but not unexpected.

1 Comments:

At 10:57 PM, Blogger ollie said...

A couple of points to remember:

1) the situation is not symmetrical. Christianity is a more intellectual religion than Islam in that in Christianity: symbols really are symbols. For example: the Koran, for a Muslim, is really different than the Bible is for a Jew, or the Bible plus New Testament for a Christian.

2) In Europe, many country have "anti-hate speech" laws on the books; for example, in some countries it is illegal to publish anti-Semetic things or to deny the holocaust. Free speech, as we know it, is almost unique to the United States.

Now as far as the NYT not publishing the cartoons: probably a business decision, sad to say.

I put the cartoons on my blog. My ex-hometown paper (Austin American Statesman) carried the cartoons.

 

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