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The Philadelphia Inquirer's story about the cartoon controversy included the cartoon of Mohammed with a bomb in his turban. The story noted,

This cartoon and others have inflamed many Muslims since they were first published as a group in a Danish newspaper last year and reprinted in Norway last month. Islam teaches that any portrayal of Muhammad is sacrilegious. Some Muslims accept respectful representations but object to the cartoons' portrayal of Muhammad as a terrorist or as a caricature of Muslims or Arabs.

The Inquirer intends no disrespect to the religious beliefs of any of its readers. But when a use of religious imagery that many find offensive becomes a major news story, we believe it is important for readers to be able to judge the content of the image for themselves, as with the 1987 photograph by Andres Serrano of a crucifix in urine. On that basis we reprint this cartoon.

This strikes me as quite right: People need to see the cartoons to really understand what the controversy is about. Nonetheless, the Inquirer was then picketed, and an "umbrella group for mosques in the Delaware Valley" is "calling for a boycott of The Inquirer until it issues a public apology to its Muslim readers."

Now here's my question: As I understand it, many Muslim critics of the cartoons are themselves distributing (and presumably reproducing) the cartoons, precisely because they believe it is important for Muslims to really understand what the controversy is about. Are they too committing blasphemy? Should they too face boycotts and protests?

One possible response is that actually expressing sentiments as if you endorse them (even if you're just presenting them as a bunch of works that you've commissioned, which is something of an endorsement) is different from quoting material. This might explain why some people would be upset by the original publication, but not by publications that reprint the cartoons to illustrate the controversy. Yet this would mean that the Inquirer's position is proper, just as the position of those Muslims who quote it in order to show other Muslims how they're supposedly being abused is proper.

Another possible response is that even if you quote the cartoons as part of a sincere attempt to report the news, that's still offensive and still blasphemy. Yet I take it this would cover republication in Muslim countries aimed at informing Muslims as well as republication in the U.S. aimed at informing Americans.

Another possibility is that some Muslims think such quotation of the cartoon is OK when done to inflame Muslim sensibilities, but not when done to inform non-Muslim readers. Yet that seems to be a position that's hard to defend, and I see no obligation (even a good manners obligation) for American papers to accede to it.

Gordo:
Yesterday I sent a letter to my city newspaper, The Oregonian (Portland OR) demanding that they print the cartoons. Our free press needs to demonstrate to Muslims in this nation and Muslims around the world what a free press is, and let them know in no uncertain terms that we will not censor our free press to meet their religious needs.
2.8.2006 1:12pm
Gordo:
As a folloup, I am appalled by the Bush Administration's response to this issue. It's a sad day when Danes, Germans, and other Europeans do the right thing for freedom, and our government condemns them.
2.8.2006 1:13pm
Porkchop (mail):
This morning, I posted this on the thread relating to the CAIR statement, but that one seems to have gotten buried under all of the new blog entries, so here goes again (slightly expanded).

It strikes me that the argument against publication or republication of the cartoons boils down to this: Depicting Mohammed in violation of Muslim tenets strikes a blow at the very heart of Islamic beliefs, and and such sacrilegious desecration of their beliefs is so offensive and hurtful that it simply should not be allowed, even under the guise of "free speech."

Personally, I don't buy into that, but here's a question for discussion: Isn't this the same argument advanced in the United States by those who want a constitutional amendment (and implementing federal and state statutes) to ban the burning or other desecration of the flag of the United States? Can one support the right to publish the cartoons and also support a flag-burning amendment? If so, how does one distinguish between the two?
2.8.2006 1:25pm
Tony (mail):
Is this really about cartoons? Or is it about a group of agitators that are using the cartoons as a convenient excuse to incite riots?

And what are the goals of the agitators? How do we know they aren't American agents?

If the cartoons never existed, maybe the riots would be happening on some other pretext.
2.8.2006 1:31pm
HeScreams (mail):
Porkchop --

One possible distinction might be that these cartoons are an offense to a religion, while flag burning is an offense to a country. It does not seem far-fetched that a country could defend itself from offense before defending any/all religions.

I'm not making an argument for/against flag burning or speech that offends religion (in this post, anyway); I'm just pointing out one possible distinction between the two.
2.8.2006 1:40pm
Chitrader (mail):
Are there any women in the audience?

(High-pitched voices) "No! No! (change to lower register) No! No!"
2.8.2006 1:45pm
Angus (mail) (www):
Porkchop writes:
It strikes me that the argument against publication or republication of the cartoons boils down to this: Depicting Mohammed in violation of Muslim tenets strikes a blow at the very heart of Islamic beliefs, and and such sacrilegious desecration of their beliefs is so offensive and hurtful that it simply should not be allowed, even under the guise of "free speech."

That's the argument for prohibiting publication of the cartoons. The argument against publication is a lot simpler:

Some of the cartoons are juvenile and annoying. Others are more innocuous, but just as vapid. None are particularly interesting as editorial comment.

As a group, the cartoons are obnoxious and unfunny. That doesn't excuse the violence and threats that they have provoked, but neither do the violence and threats redeem the original project.
2.8.2006 1:48pm
TomH (mail):
As a first premise - Logical reasoning has no place in religion. Only the faith that the ingroup is right and everyone else is wrong, for some reason or another. (Sort of like being a staunch party member in the Repubicans or Democrats).
2.8.2006 2:05pm
dimitrir:
Prof. Volokh,

With all due respect, by discussing the logic of the mob you give creedence to a proposition that the mob is motivated by logic. It is not - it is motivated by political considerations.

As to the difference between a newspaper like NYT publishing the cartoons and publishing Piss Christ is that Bill Keller thinks that the probability of a Christian nut ramming a crucifix through his heart = 0, and the probability of a Muslem nut strapping an explosives belt and hanging out outside Mr. Keller's residence is not as remote. The sooner we acknowledge that, the better of we'll be.
2.8.2006 2:12pm
farmer56 (mail):
If I can get together a couple hundred of my buds, we will show up with our 'assault' rifles and shoot them off, the next time Ted Rall makes fun of us. Hey! we are being offended! Figure out 'why we are angree' then come to us and offer a compromise.

Hey! these are thugs. it is plain. No explanation is needed. The persons rioting, are mindless thugs. They deserve no merit. They are no more religous than my dog, (actually less religious)

I got a thought. Lets take the Muslim houses of worship through emmenit domain. It will earn more tax $'s and be sooo very much better for the 'public good'.
2.8.2006 2:14pm
Broncos:

Some of the cartoons are juvenile and annoying. Others are more innocuous, but just as vapid. None are particularly interesting as editorial comment.

As a group, the cartoons are obnoxious and unfunny.


The most offensive cartoon (I presume) is that of Mohammad with the turban as a bomb. This is not, as far as I can tell, a humorous caricature. It is a scary vision.

If I thought that this cartoon conveyed the message that Islam is an inherently violent religion, I would agree that it is patently offensive and designed to inflame passions.

But it seems to me that this cartoon has an equally (if not more) plausible meaning: That those who advocate a bomb-wielding Mohammad advance an illegitimate and scary interpretation of Islam.

And this message, it seems to me, is entirely consistent with how satire works: Satirical offensiveness provokes a reaction against what has been satirized, shifting debate. A mainstream Muslim in Denmark might be offended by the violent vision of Mohammad, and think "Hey, Mohammad has nothing to do with bombs!" The offensiveness of the image would derive from its inconsistency with their Mohammad, not from the fact that someone has blasphemously published an image of Mohammad (whether accurate or not). Satire would reinforce a non-violent Mohammad, and delegitimize the subject of the satire: a violent Mohammad.

So, my question is: why ignore the satirical content of this political cartoon? Political cartoons have a long history of satire, and most - if not all - could be deemed unpardonably offensive if we lose the ability to distinguish between a satirical treatment, and a literal portrait. (and I don't argue that these cartoons are Voltaire; but he doesn’t come around very often.)

Although some of these cartoons are in the style of South Park, their satirical provocation could, if promoted and discussed, shift debate and make it increasingly difficult for fringe clerics to re-create Mohammad in their own violent image. The satire would have worked to reinforce the illigitimacy of their violent image. Why should this be deplored?

One reason for condemnation, I suppose, is that - satirical or not - they remain offensive. But that shouldn't be the end of the story. At least two other questions should be posed: (1) Why is it offensive? (2) Even if offensive, does the cartoon serve an important enough value that it should nevertheless be published?

(1) If a satire reveals a viewpoint that it itself deplorable (e.g. racist, xenophobic, or islamophobic), the fact that it is couched in satire or depicted graphically should not save it. But again, I am not sure (and I could be wrong) that a Danish audience would read the cartoon as slandering all of Islam, rather than exposing that violent version advocated by fringe clerics. (Though I admit that if the satire were to slander all of Islam, that source of offensiveness should be enough.)

(2) Even if the offensiveness of the satire does not spring from a source that is itself deplorable, one should ask if it is serving a purpose that sufficient to overcome the offensiveness produced. A random cartoon lampooning Mohammad, detached from any public debate, would seem to not serve such a purpose. (as would, presumably - because I don't have any facts on them - a freelancer's submission lampooning the resurrection of Jesus.) But here, there was both a debate concerning (a) a form of violent Islamic belief; and (b) the role of such belief in media self-censorship; both of which are illuminated by the cartoon, and the context in which it was published.
2.8.2006 2:19pm
Kovarsky (mail):
I don't dispute the premise of Prof. Volokh's post. Not only is the position of the embassy-fire-rampage people reprehensible (which is fairly obvious), but their use of reproductions to incite others is internally inconsistent with the basis they claim incited them in the first place.

What I am about to say relates only to the indivdual editorial entity's decision to print or reprint a cartoon, not the governments or the institutions that allow them to do so.

But I have a real problem with people "defending" freedom of speech when they are putting other people's lives at issue. Let me be clear - I don't think notions of taste, decency, propriety, etc. - should ever serve as a justification for an editorial speaker's self-imposed restraint. Nor do I think we should be caving into threats of violence. In fact, I think it is our individual obligation to incur risks of violence in order to promote free speech across the world. My problem is this - the people creating the risk of violence are not the ones internalizing its costs.

Yes, Michelle Malkin incurs some additional personal risk by waiving the cartoons all over the camera on a fox news interview last night, but in reality the incremental risk to life is going to be incurred by people other than her. Now if I were in one of those countries, I would say "Michelle, go ahead," because I am ready to incur a risk for that principle to, even if you're the one creating it. But I hardly want to delegate other people's choice about the level of personal risk they are going to incur to any single writer or editorial establishment.

Again, my argument is very narrow - when you are talking about the non-internalizable risks of physical injury to people other than yourself (compare rushdie, who pretty much internalized the risk), i think the editor/writer is under a moral obligation (not a legal one) to refrain from that publication.

that principle obviously varies with the circumstances. for example, i don't have any problem with the original putlication of the cartoons, because the cartoonists just didn't have any idea that it was going to incite this kind of violence. nor do i have problems with the initial waves of republication that occurred in response to the muslim outrage, when that outrage took the form of boycotts and verbal anger. but after it became apparent that republication of the cartoons was going to take lives other than the people publishing them, it becomes a much harder question.

and if there is one shred of empirical evidence behind the proposition that "reprinting the cartoons educates the middle east about [i think people mean "promotes" here] liberal democracy," please point me to it. The analogy that immediately leaps to mind would be using cartoons lampooning Lenin and printing them over and over again to "educate" lenin-followers about the flaws in the system of government he advocated.

i know i'm probably going to cause a storm with this one, so let me be clear again. i find the fraction of the muslim world that engages in violence to be disturbing. i find the fraction of the muslim world that condones that violence to be disturbing. i find the fraction of the muslim world that makes excuses for that violence to be disturbing. i think people have an obligation to stand up to that type of intolerance. just not when they are doing the standing up and it's other people that are getting cut down.
2.8.2006 2:28pm
Angus (mail) (www):
Broncos writes:
The most offensive cartoon (I presume) is that of Mohammad with the turban as a bomb. This is not, as far as I can tell, a humorous caricature. It is a scary vision.

If I thought that this cartoon conveyed the message that Islam is an inherently violent religion, I would agree that it is patently offensive and designed to inflame passions.

But it seems to me that this cartoon has an equally (if not more) plausible meaning: That those who advocate a bomb-wielding Mohammad advance an illegitimate and scary interpretation of Islam.


I'm not sure where you get your interpretation from. Specifically, I'm not sure what in the cartoon itself supports your interpretation.

In the cartoon, the bomb is presented as a turban, but also integrated into Muhammed's head --- look at the way his eyebrows and the lines of his face complete the curve of the bomb. The bomb isn't something someone has placed on Muhammed's head without him knowing --- it's part of his religious attire, and (visually, at least) intrinsic to him. I read the cartoon as a clear comment on the nature of Islam, and I don't see anything in the image that supports an alternative reading.
2.8.2006 2:30pm
Kovarsky (mail):
Broncos,

I think commentators on this issue keep saying "what is so offensive" about this cartoon keep doing so because they don't realize the attributes that are offensive. It is the very act of depicting Mohammed that offends them, not the character of the depiction (although I'm sure the bomb doesn't help). So any picture of Mohammed - irrespective of its content - is offensive, because you are nto supposed to draw Mohammed.

I couldn't help but be embarassed for Michelle Malkin last night when she was on the news screaming "what is offensive about this" because obviously nobody had told her that what was offensive was that Mohammed was drawn at all, not the manner in which somebody drew him.

None of this is meant to justify the reaction or to suggest that government should constrain the drawing of Mohammed even if it is offensive. It merely explains why so many Muslims find it offensive and why so many of us from a Judea-Christian background fail to understand. Sure, a drawing of someone urinating on Christ is offensive, but because it depicts somebody urinating on christ, not mereley because somebody depicted christ in the first place.
2.8.2006 2:35pm
Wintermute (www):
One good thing about this conflagration is that it will lead many US Christians to decide if they value free speech more than the hegemony of their own religion. From what I've seen so far, it seems most choose the First over seeming like Muslims in this regard.
2.8.2006 2:37pm
Broncos:

In the cartoon, the bomb is presented as a turban, but also integrated into Muhammed's head --- look at the way his eyebrows and the lines of his face complete the curve of the bomb. The bomb isn't something someone has placed on Muhammed's head without him knowing --- it's part of his religious attire, and (visually, at least) intrinsic to him. I read the cartoon as a clear comment on the nature of Islam, and I don't see anything in the image that supports an alternative reading.


The cartoon's imagery is ambiguous when stripped of context: It can admit of exposing a violent vision of Mohammad, or of saying that Muslims believe in a violent Prophet. If one is predisposed to thinking that there is a Islamophobic war, the latter interpretation will come more naturally to mind. But, that interpretation wouldn't come naturally to my mind - at least if it were published in the U.S. The media and every self-respecting public figure emphasizes that violent Islamism is limited to a fringe group, and that mainstream Islam is - like other religions - a religion of peace. The context of publication, in the U.S., wouldn't support the cartoon as group libel. (if such a tort were permitted.)
2.8.2006 2:40pm
The Original TS (mail):
The most offensive cartoon (I presume) is that of Mohammad with the turban as a bomb. This is not, as far as I can tell, a humorous caricature. It is a scary vision.

If I thought that this cartoon conveyed the message that Islam is an inherently violent religion, I would agree that it is patently offensive and designed to inflame passions.

But it seems to me that this cartoon has an equally (if not more) plausible meaning: That those who advocate a bomb-wielding Mohammad advance an illegitimate and scary interpretation of Islam.


I have a completely different interpretation of this cartoon. Islam is a ticking (well, lit) bomb at the heart of Danish society. Xenophobic, perhaps, but it seeks to make a point about the social problems posed by the difficulties of Muslim integration in Denmark.

This must be a pretty good cartoon!
2.8.2006 2:41pm
Angus (mail) (www):
Kovarsky writes:

It is the very act of depicting Mohammed that offends them, not the character of the depiction (although I'm sure the bomb doesn't help). So any picture of Mohammed - irrespective of its content - is offensive, because you are nto supposed to draw Mohammed.

I strongly suspect that if the Jyllands Posten had simply illustrated an article on Islam with a drawing of Muhammed, none of us would have heard of the incident. There would have been a few angry letters to the editor, maybe a local demonstration or two, and then it would have blown over.

People are offended because the Jyllands Posten set out to offend them. )That some of the people who are offended have responded with violence is inexcuseable, of course.)
2.8.2006 3:23pm
Kovarsky (mail):
Angus,

I think it's beyond obvious that the fundamentalist response is hypocritical. My only point was that Malkin et. al look ridiculous when they point at the pictures and exclaim "what is so offensive about this!" when they plainly do not understand the attribute that muslim's are pointing to as offensive.

that is a separate matter from the fundamentalists electively being unoffended by it when it can become an anti-western piece of propoganda.
2.8.2006 3:40pm
Angus (mail) (www):
What I'm saying, Kovarsky, is that it's possible for a Muslim who wouldn't be particularly put out by a simple pictorial representation of Muhammed to be nonetheless deeply offended by some of these cartoons. This isn't about how Muslims respond when someone draws a picture of Muhammed, it's about how (some) Muslims respond when a European nation's largest newspaper mocks Muhammed --- and Islam itself.
2.8.2006 3:57pm
Tracy W (mail):
My own opinion is that one should not lightly offend the religious sensibilities of another group, especially in a very explicitly, obviously offensive way (such as depicting Mohammed.)

But it is wrong for people to be so offended by speech that they threaten violence or are violent.

So when some people do start being so offended by speech that they make credible threats of violence or are violent, in this case I think it is important for all those who believe in free speech to rally to the ones doing the offending, to show the violent ones that they will not win.

Part of this because is it can be difficult to figure out what is offensive. If people do not feel physically safe about making offensive speech, the circle of speech that they dare not make can widen considerably, perhaps from depictions of Mohammed into serious criticisms of some interpretations of Islam.
2.8.2006 4:00pm
Kovarsky (mail):
O I see - I'll be honest, I initially read your post as alluding to the Islamic media's republication of the cartoon's.

I think I agree with your point - they're clearly MORE offended not only because he was depicted, but also because the depiction was unflattering. I still don't think that detracts from the fact that members of the American media look exceptionally ignorant and silly when point at the cartoon and say "look, this cant possibly be offensive - it's a flattering depiction."

i tried to be pretty clear in my point - the way most people here are evaluating the offensiveness of the cartoon is very misguided. for instance, i DO think that the western media would have been so eager to reprint the cartoons if they realized some portion of the offensiveness was attributable to the depiction itself and not to the content. i imagine many of them would still have reprinted, but i think they're calculus would be radically different.
2.8.2006 4:05pm
Kovarsky (mail):
Tracy,

Thank you for making this post - because it makes illustrating a point I want to make easier. I completely agree that we need to rally to the side of the offenders. I'm just not convinced that the most effective way to do that is repeat the action of the offending. I posted extensively on another thread that I think the problem with Malkin et al is that they are doing precisely this - defending the offensive speakers through the tactic of promoting more offensive speech. Generally that's a pretty good tactic. I do, however, think it can be a grossly irresponsible tactic when you defend that principle by resort to that particular tactic when you do not internalize the risk of the retributive physical harm. In short - it's one thing if you're Rushdie and they put the fatwah on YOU for your "blasphemous" speech (don't misinterpret me, rushdie's probably my favorite writer). It's quite another to "stand up" for free speech by publishing speech liable to provoke insane extremists into killing somebody else.
2.8.2006 4:11pm
Ken Arromdee (mail):
People are offended because the Jyllands Posten set out to offend them.

Despite appearances, that's a very ambiguous statement, and you're taking advantage of its ambiguity to ignore what really happened.

Suppose a black person takes a shortcut through a white neighborhood in the knowledge that white people are offended by his presence.

Under a suitable definition of "intentionally causing offense," knowing that people will be offended by an action of yours and doing it anyway is intentionally causing offense. By this definition the Dutch newspaper intentionally set out to offend Muslims.

But most of us would think that this isn't enough. The black guy had a right to walk in that neighborhood. When deciding whether the black guy is guilty of causing offense, we take into account that the offense is unreasonable. When the offense is unreasonable, we require more than just knowledge that offense would happen before we'll say that he set out to offend someone.

That's what the newspaper did. It knew that Muslims would get offended, but it had a legitimate reason to print them, and it knew that Muslims' offense, though predictable, was not reasonable. They did not, therefore, set out to offend, for the same reason that we don't normally say the hypothetical black man above set out to offend, even though the offense was completely predictable.
2.8.2006 4:31pm
Angus (mail) (www):
Ken Arromdee:

That's what the newspaper did. It knew that Muslims would get offended, but it had a legitimate reason to print them, and it knew that Muslims' offense, though predictable, was not reasonable. They did not, therefore, set out to offend.

Oh, please. The Jyllands Posten wasn't simply asserting the press's right to publish images of Muhammed --- if that had been their goal, they could have printed a pre-existing image (perhaps one from an Islamic source, just to drive the point home), or commissioned a neutral depiction.

But that kind of statement wouldn't have served their purposes, or sold many papers. So instead they published images that poked fun at Muhammed, and others that portrayed him as evil. You can argue that Muhammed deserves such treatment, but you can't argue that it's "not reasonable" for a Muslim to take offense.
2.8.2006 4:49pm
BobGo:
An important reason for republishing the cartoons is that many people have no way of understanding from the verbal descriptions what the cartoon might be like. If literal, verbal description were adequate, there would be no need in the world for pictures. But words are not the same medium.

The “bomb-in-turban” cartoon, for example, is not, to my eye, the described “portrayal of Muhammad as a terrorist”. Instead it is a clever use of visual ambiguity of the shape of the turban suggesting a dangerous effect of the idea of Muhammad on the heads of believers. I don’t know if that was the intent of the artist, but disturbances currently in the news support that interpretation, don’t they?

Expression through visual images isn’t limited to the West; one sees on the news, protestors in Arab countries stepping on pictures of, or burning effigies of the target of their protest (often our beloved GWB). Apparently when they use images in that way they are simplistically expressing the ultimate insult, and they assume the same of us. I prefer to think of images as alternate ways of exploring difficult issues and differing beliefs.
2.8.2006 5:00pm
Tyrone Slothrop (mail) (www):
[B]y discussing the logic of the mob you give creedence to a proposition that the mob is motivated by logic. It is not - it is motivated by political considerations.

Why can't it be some of both? Surely the protests have been motivated at least in part by political considerations, but surely many of the protesters are expressing their true beliefs.

Has anyone seen a really good explanation of why images of Mohammed are offensive to (some) Moslems? I haven't and I'd like to. As Professor Volokh suggests, it seems to me that the rationale matters.
2.8.2006 5:05pm
Tyrone Slothrop (mail) (www):
First paragraph of that post should have been italicized -- it was a quote from a commenter above.
2.8.2006 5:08pm
Dan28 (mail):
All good points. What's amazing about this situation is that Muslim groups are lashing out at the very groups who are providing coverage of their protests. The group directly responsible for presenting their objections to the rest of the world are also the group responsible for creating this mess. The dual roles of the media in this conflict, both as a forum to air their protests and the cause of the protests themselves, are at war with each other. As the protests get larger, the media coverage gets larger, which further inflames the protesters. Somehow, we need to get out of this self-destructive spiral.
2.8.2006 6:49pm
BruceB (mail):
Kovarsky,


So any picture of Mohammed - irrespective of its content - is offensive, because you are nto supposed to draw Mohammed.


I understand and respect what you are saying, but I think it begs the question: Do we let Muslims define what is appropriate discourse and behavior for the entire world?

In other words, "because you are not supposed to draw Mohammed" should be "because THEY are not supposed to draw Mohammed". I respectfully submit that they have no right whatsoever to expect us to follow the rules of Islam.
2.8.2006 7:03pm
Kovarsky (mail):
Bruce,

I never suggested that we follow their rules. I'm just explaining why Malkin and some others are having such a hard time understanding why they are offensive.

I would add that I do think that the conclusion that this semiotic distinction is, at least to some extent (probably more, merely an excuse for poor artistic interpretation - the extremists really just don't like us playing with their iconography when it bears any negative interpretation.
2.8.2006 8:13pm
Martin Grant (mail):
Another possibility is that some Muslims don't believe the purported reason given by the paper for republishing the photos.

I do. But I could see how some people might interpret this as, "We're just publishing this so you can see what the controvery is about (*wink, wink* - aren't Muslims horrible = *wink, wink*)." I guess in order to have that position you have to be willing to believe the worst about someone in the absence of any evidence to back up your position.
2.9.2006 12:20pm
Limagolf:
You guys should really seek out the text originally accompaying the cartoons. It would have made it clear that this was satire aimed at Islamic fundamentalism, specifically the kind killed Theo van Gogh, and the repercussions religious violence has on our right to free speech.

The most obvious interpretations of the cartoons in a Danish context is satire aimed at religious violence, not the entire religion of Islam.

That´s why it is a travesty that US media hasn´t seized on the opportunity to report on the matter in full, by both reprinting the cartoons and the accompaying text. The context is very important in understanding this matter, not least current Danish politics, since the cartoons were ultimately aimed at an ongoing Danish debate on multiculturalism and its effect on society.

/Limagolf
2.9.2006 3:07pm
Edward A. Hoffman (mail):
Eugene,

Your premise that the people who oppose publishing the cartoons in the media have no problem with copying and distributing them presumes that the same people are taking both of these positions. It is quite possible that most of the people picketing the Inquirer are not the same ones who are passing the cartoons around privatelyand that they condemn the people who are doing so.

That said, I agree with you completely about selectively banning certain types of speech. I have always considered the idea of banning flag-burning un-American, since (among many other reasons) such a law would discriminate on the basis of viewpoint. I construe freedom of speech quite liberally, which I firmly believe is how the framers intended it to be construed.
2.9.2006 5:21pm
Edward A. Hoffman (mail):
Oops. My prior post was intended for a different but related thread, and I have now added it where it belongs. That's what I get for reading different threads in several windows at the same time.
2.9.2006 5:35pm