Matt Bors
Comics, Politics & Ridicule

Bors Blog

Outraged at the Outrage at the Outrage…or something like that.

Why aren't American papers reprinting the Muhammad comics? I'm not talking about printing them to provoke intolerant muslims or even as some statement of free speech, but this has certainly reached a level beyond the initial event and is worthwhile topic of discussion. When no American is able to see these comics in a paper or on a television how are we supposed to have a debate about them? Of course they are all over the net, but many people never log on. How in the world of instant information and 24 hour news can the majority of Americans be ignorant on an important issue of free speech, censorship, and religion?

Ted Rall has a good column out: The Nanny Press and the Cartoon Controversy. As to why they haven't shown the comics:

"The cartoons didn't meet our long-held standards for not moving offensive content," said the Associated Press.


If these cowards were worried about offending the faithful, they wouldn't cover or quote such Muslim-bashers as Ann Coulter, Christopher Hitchens or George W. Bush. The truth is, our national nanny media is managed by cowards so terrified by the prospect of their offices being firebombed that they wallow in self-censorship.

And offers a great point here:
While the Muslim world was raging over the Danish Mohammed cartoons, Washington Post cartoonist Tom Toles received a chilling letter from the Joints Chief of Staff in reaction to his single-panel rendition of a quadriplegic veteran; if not for the nanny media's slavish refusal to run photos of the real thing, would that abstract image have shocked anyone?
Ted also mentions the European Muslim website that printed a comic of Anne Frank and Hitler in bed. They said "If it is the time to break taboos and cross all the red lines, we certainly do not want to fall behind." Hardly the same. The Muhammad cartoons broke a taboo that was set in place by religious laws of another country, the Anne Frank comic seeks to just be as offensive as possible and makes about as much sense as these depictions of Muhammad, which are truly racist. (although I admit to laughing at the Bob Ross one).

But legitimate commentary on the state of Islam (thus breaking the irrational sharia laws) is a very worthwhile goal. Ibn Warraq is their foremost critic. An apostate who prints under a pseudonym so his family won't be murdered, he has written books harshly criticizing islam and promotes secular humanism. He has a new column in Der Spiegel:

The cartoons in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten raise the most important question of our times: freedom of expression. Are we in the west going to cave into pressure from societies with a medieval mindset, or are we going to defend our most precious freedom -- freedom of expression, a freedom for which thousands of people sacrificed their lives?

A democracy cannot survive long without freedom of expression, the freedom to argue, to dissent, even to insult and offend. It is a freedom sorely lacking in the Islamic world, and without it Islam will remain unassailed in its dogmatic, fanatical, medieval fortress; ossified, totalitarian and intolerant. Without this fundamental freedom, Islam will continue to stifle thought, human rights, individuality; originality and truth.
02.07.2006 |