Danish cartoon controversy redux: Cambridge edition

I’ve had strep lately so I’ve missed out on some interesting stories. Here’s one from last week that’s worth mentioning.

There’s “satire” and there’s satire. In Marcotte-land, “satire” (writings you mean but later repudiate in order to keep a temp job) transforms its author into a living, fire-breathing irrational caricature of a rabid extremist. I mean, who actually got the “pat on the head” from the powerful, white patriarch–the independent entrepreneurial woman who criticized from afar or the woman who actually repudiated her own work to keep the temp job working for the white, male patriarch? Just, you know, asking.

Anyway, real satire is usually obviously satire, and in Europe it’s an increasingly dangerous thing to do. Not dangerous in a “oh isn’t Bill Donahue mean!” kind of way, but actually physically dangerous. Here’s what happens in 21st century Europe when you satire Islam and Islamic violence:

The editor of a Cambridge University college newspaper is in hiding after his attempt at religious satire backfired.

The 19-year-old student and aspiring journalist, who has not been named, is under investigation by the authorities at Clare College who described the satirical issue of the student newspaper Clarefication as “abhorrent”.

Most inflammatory, the college said, was the reproduction in the newspaper of the infamous cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad first printed in the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten in September 2005, triggering violent protests worldwide.

For his own safety, the student has been taken out of his accommodation and put in a secure place. The newspaper had been renamed Crucification for the special edition of religious satire. The front page included the headline: “Ayatollah rethinks stance on misunderstood Rushdie.”

On page six, there were pictures of Muslims holding placards reading: “Behead those who insult Islam” and “Freedom go to hell.”

“Most inflammatory…” Those Danish cartoons seem to pop up over and over as just the most inflammatory things ever published. It’s as if the rotting Abu Laban has the ability to summon up Islamic rage from the grave.

So with the student in hiding for his life, what’s the university doing? Well, it’s the very definition of a kowtow.

Late last week, senior college officials were locked in urgent talks about how the material came to be published and what action to take against the student.

In a statement issued by Clare College, a senior tutor, Patricia Fara, said: “Clare is an open and inclusive college. A student-produced satirical publication has caused widespread distress throughout the Clare community.

Blah blah blah. They ought to be ashamed of themselves. They’re going to discipline the kid, probably toss him out of school and ruin his life for a while. In the UK, he’ll find himself hunted by the friendly people who wielded those “Behead those who insult Islam” signs on the streets of London. Those folks mean what they say. Their signs are anything but satirical.

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David Strom 6:01 AM on June 06, 2023