“It’s not clear if the motive for the Mississippi killing was political, but surely everyone can agree that battery and murder are not appropriate responses to the expression of invidious views. This column is also of the opinion that hate-speech laws are pernicious and that the First Amendment does and should protect the expression of even ugly and false ideas. But we would not endorse or participate in an ‘Everybody Shout a Racial Slur Day’ or an ‘Everybody Deny the Holocaust Day’ to make the point.
“Why is ‘Everybody Draw Mohammed Day’ different? Because the taboo against depictions of Muhammad is not a part of America’s common culture. The taboos against flag burning, racial slurs and Holocaust denial are. The problem with the ‘in-your-face message’ of ‘Everybody Draw Mohammed Day’ is not just that it is inconsiderate of the sensibilities of others, but that it defines those others–Muslims–as being outside of our culture, unworthy of the courtesy we readily accord to insiders. It is an unwise message to send, assuming that one does not wish to make an enemy of the entire Muslim world.”
“One way of reducing the cost is to organize a solidarity campaign. The entertainment business, especially Hollywood, is one of the wealthiest and most powerful industries in the world. Following the example of Jon Stewart, who used the first segment of his April 22 show to defend ‘South Park,’ producers, actors, writers, musicians and other entertainers could lead such an effort.
“Another idea is to do stories of Muhammad where his image is shown as much as possible. These stories do not have to be negative or insulting, they just need to spread the risk. The aim is to confront hypersensitive Muslims with more targets than they can possibly contend with.
“Another important advantage of such a campaign is to accustom Muslims to the kind of treatment that the followers of other religions have long been used to.”
“When asked about her change of heart, Norris told The Ticket that she didn’t intend for the cartoon ‘to go viral.’
“Then why did she send the cartoon to the media in the first place? ‘Because I’m an idiot,’ Norris replied.
“‘This particular cartoon of a ‘poster’ seems to have struck a gigantic nerve, something I was totally unprepared for,’ she said.”
“This is what decadence looks like: a frantic coarseness that ‘bravely’ trashes its own values and traditions, and then knuckles under swiftly to totalitarianism and brute force.
“Happily, today’s would-be totalitarians are probably too marginal to take full advantage. This isn’t Weimar Germany, and Islam’s radical fringe is still a fringe, rather than an existential enemy.
“For that, we should be grateful. Because if a violent fringe is capable of inspiring so much cowardice and self-censorship, it suggests that there’s enough rot in our institutions that a stronger foe might be able to bring them crashing down.”