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Harper's Magazine Apparently Publishing the Mohammed Cartoons,

with commentary by Art Spiegelman. Robert Bidinotto asks whether Borders will likewise refuse to stock these (though I should note that I don't entirely agree with his analysis). I called the Borders on Westwood; the Harper's site lists that store as a place to buy the magazine, and the clerk there said they regularly carried out, but didn't have it now -- I don't know whether it's because the issue hasn't yet arrived (though the Chronicle article linked to above says that the issue was available on newsstands Tuesday), has sold out, or is not being carried by Borders.

Hugo:
What is with the mohammed cartoons fetish?
5.17.2006 8:00pm
steve k:
Huge, do you mean the fetish of those who would kill because of these cartoons, those who would publish them, or these who would comment on it?
5.17.2006 8:33pm
steve k:
That last post should start "Hugo." (Now I'm making a fetish of spelling.)
5.17.2006 8:34pm
Hugo:
do you mean the fetish of those who would kill because of these cartoons, those who would publish them, or these who would comment on it?

Yes
5.17.2006 8:41pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Huh -- and here I thought that commenting on one of the most interesting and high-profile speech / religion issues of recent years is something that a First Amendment scholar who specializes in speech and religion might want to do. Now I hear it's a fetish. Like leather? Should I be commenting more about leather?
5.17.2006 10:08pm
Shangui (mail):
Should I be commenting more about leather?

Yes.
5.17.2006 10:23pm
Hugo:
and here I thought that commenting on one of the most interesting and high-profile speech / religion issues of recent years is something that a First Amendment scholar who specializes in speech and religion might want to do

All the interesting issues involve private actors(in the US), there is no First Amendent issue.
5.17.2006 11:18pm
abb3w:
Hugo: Since the reason for the freedom of speech is that (long term) it solidifies the social foundations of government, I'd say even private self-censorship, if sufficiently widespread, would still provide grounds for a First Amendment scholar to be concerned on speech grounds... especially self-censorship from fear. Given that the fear results from an extreme religious faction's expressed views on censorship, that seems an additional reason for a first amendment scholar to note interesting developments.

Pardon me while I go track down a copy of Harpers.
5.17.2006 11:55pm
CharleyCarp (mail):
Mine already came in the mail a couple days ago. The story on Ukrainian mail brides seems worth some fetish-blogging.
5.18.2006 12:08am
Eugene Volokh (www):
Hugo: Well, some of my posts on this subject have specifically discussed calls for government-imposed speech restrictions. A few of these calls were in the U.S.; more were outside the U.S., but as my very first post in the change pointed out, quite a few American academics have called for adopting foreign free speech norms into U.S. constitutional law, and I used the Mohammed cartoons example to argue against that.

Also, it shouldn't surprise people that someone who specializes in First Amendment law will also discuss neighboring matters, such as restrictions by private actors. My First Amendment textbook has a chapter on that. A good part of my California Law Review article on Deterring Speech: When Is It "McCarthyism"? When Is It Proper discussed this. In recent months, I've been researching laws that restrict private employer retaliation against employees' off-duty speech, and I've blogged quite a bit about that. I've also blogged quite a bit about academic freedom questions at private universities, and many more matters related to free speech and religious freedom outside the pure First Amendment context. I had thought this breadth of perspective was a sensible thing, and not too alien to my First Amendment interests. Was I mistaken? Did I violate some hitherto unknown to me rule about what is sensible for a First Amendment scholar to discuss, and what should be dismissed as a "fetish"?
5.18.2006 12:18am
hanzie:
Borders has already said that they won't carry the cartoons in fear for their employee's safety.
5.18.2006 6:02am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Damn. I haven't see United 93 yet--time constraints--but I would drop everything to see it if I found the local theater was being picketed by Muslims. And if I worked at Borders, I'd volunteer to run the place myself for straight time as long as we had the Motoons in.
5.18.2006 9:12am
Raw_Data (mail):
Hugo, You should be asking the people who lieterally fetishize the cartoons -- Moslems who are upset by them.

Believe it or not, some people in the blogosphere really don't believe that the cartoons affair is of any importance and are openly contemptuous of concern at any level. Are you truly one of them?

Some even go farther and don't believe that the Islamic religion has anything to do with a group like "Islamic Jihad." These folks blame everything on the west and so in effect infantalize the Islamic world.
5.18.2006 10:57am
agog:
Harper's did indeed publish all the cartoons. They reprinted the entire layout from the Danish newspaper, as well as reproducing each caricature individually. The corresponding article concerned the cartoonist as provocateur, and was written by Art Spiegelman (creator of the graphic novel 'Maus'). Art recounted some history of editorial cartooning, discussed the genesis of the Danish caricatures, and commented on the editorial decisions in the world press regarding the cartoons. He then went through the caricatures and rated each on their provocativeness (from 0 to 4 fatwa bombs). All the while, he commented on the apparent (to Western eyes) banality of the drawings.

I haven't finished the entire thing yet, but his analysis seemed well reasoned and thoughtful, and he certainly provided some interesting details. I encourage everyone to pick up a copy of the magazine wherever it might be available.
5.18.2006 8:20pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Even if we go along with Hugo and dismiss the First Amendment, it's still a free speech issue because Borders is (so Borders said) being intimidated from exercising its private actor rights.
5.19.2006 2:39am