Q. What did you make of the Danish cartoon mess? I understand that you said you would never play with the image of Allah. But did you feel you should have done so out of a sense of professional solidarity, or to make a statement about freedom of speech?
A. What exactly would that statement be? That we can say whatever we want in the West? Everyone already knows that. So then the question becomes, should we say whatever we want? That, to me, is the crux. Do you hurt people just because you can? Because you feel they shouldn’t be deeply hurt, does that mean they aren’t? Should the New York Times run vicious caricatures of blacks and Jews just to show the First Amendment in action? At some point, common sense and sensitivity have to be brought to bear.
Yeah, the thing is, not everyone does know that. Or else the Western Standard wouldn’t have been sued and Fallaci wouldn’t have been prosecuted and religious-hate-speech laws wouldn’t have been passed and Theo Van Gogh wouldn’t have been stabbed in the street and the Danish cartoonists wouldn’t have gone into hiding. As for the second bolded statment, lay aside his suggestion that cultural criticis should censor themselves to suit subjective standards of offensiveness. It’s so stupid, unrealistic, and hypocritical as not to warrant further discussion. The real point, of course, is that the cartoons weren’t self-censored due to “sensitivity;” they were censored due to fear. Comedy Central admitted that flat out when they refused to let South Park show Mohammed, as did Borders when they refused to carry the issue of Free Inquiry magazine that reprinted the Jyllands-Posten cartoons. And now, in Denmark, video of the DPP kids drawing images of Mohammed has been taken offline on the same day that the foreign ministry issued a travel advisory warning Danes to stay out of the Middle East until this blows over.
The Organization of the Islamic Conference, which has 57 member nations, issued a statement today condemning the kids for drawing the images, because apparently a major Islamic international body has nothing better to do than worry about what moronic Scandinavian teens do in their spare time at camp for cheap thrills. Martin Amis pegged this the other day:
Impatience with religion is inescapable for a rationalist in the West. But it’s not the same in the East. Conrad said that religion is an outrage on our dignity. But it’s sort of the other way round in the East – it’s the centre of your dignity because so much else is wrong.
The video of the images has since been reposted at YouTube. But YouTube being YouTube, it won’t be up for long. Watch it at Sugiero’s while you still can.
Exit question for Trudeau: would it make any difference to his free-speech hypothetical if blacks or Jews were threatening to kill Bill Keller if he ran vicious caricatures of them? What would “common sense” counsel in that case?
Update: I have to quote the actual statement from the OIC here, so pungently rich is it with filthy hypocrisy:
“Muslims have noted with concern that the values of tolerance are eroding and there is now shrinking space for others’ religious, social and cultural values in the West,” said a statement sent to Reuters by the Jeddah-based OIC, the world’s largest Islamic grouping.
And there you have it, from a body representing some of the most fascistically intolerant cultures on the face of the earth.
Update: Two of the kids seen in the DPP video have reportedly gone underground. The Danish government has invited several Muslim ambassadors to “discuss” the video with them.