The radical culture of offense

I have complained often that America has become a culture of offense, where anything that might offend anyone now must not be said, as if we have grown afraid of speech, debate, disagreement, and different viewpoints. I find that attitude itself unAmerican, offensive.

Of course, the American culture has nothing on others when it comes to viewing offense as a forbidden crime, witness the violent uproar over cartoons depicting Mohammed and daring to criticize or question. Some Muslims are boycotting products from the countries where the cartoons have been published and rioting and burning European embassies; others in the community are questioning this behavior. And more publications across Europe and even now in New Zealand are running the cartoons, often in solidarity with the Danish publishers, to their own peril.

In America, the Bush Administration says it, too, finds the cartoons offensive:

The State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack, reading the government’s statement on the controversy, said, “Anti-Muslim images are as unacceptable as anti-Semitic images,” which are routinely published in the Arab press, “as anti-Christian images, or any other religious belief.”

Still, the United States defended the right of the Danish and French newspapers to publish the cartoons. “We vigorously defend the right of individuals to express points of view,” Mr. McCormack added.

Well, I’d hope so.

And U.S. news organizations are generally not showing the cartoons, arguing, as The Times summarizes the stance: “Representatives said the story could be told effectively without publishing images that many would find offensive.” See also an Editor & Publisher roundup.

Well, I emphathize with the fear of violent wrath, but this still leads to many questions:

: Shouldn’t we be more offended by violent reaction to speech than we are by speech? Shouldn’t we express that?

: Are we — governments, publishers, journalists, citizens — intimidated by the violence?

: On the one hand, would there be equal offense to images of Christ? Well, we have seen images of Christ deemed blasphemous and heard anger and political storms but have not seen riots. On the other hand, wouldn’t there be offense to images deemed anti-Semitic? Given history, there would be.

: So then where is the line in hate speech? And isn’t that line itself perilous?

: Should American journalists be publishing these images in solidarity with European publishers? Or would that be pandering? Or are those images part of the story that need to be seen to understand? Is there a right to see them, a journalistic responsibility to include them in reporting?

: Am I a chicken by asking these questions and not answering them? That’s the one answer I’ll give: Yes.

But I think we need to see this episode as the frightening extreme of a culture of offense. When offensiveness becomes a sin and a crime and a cause for retribution and even violence, it’s never clear where the line is. When speech is free, that line is quite clear.

  • Mike G

    This demonstrates another advantage of blogs over old dead media. One, that there’s too many blogs to bomb, so blog-owners are proportionately less afraid even though they’re just one person to run the cartoons.

    Two, bloggers aren’t pansy little chicken shits like The New York Times, The Washington Post, etc. Great moment in courage and freedom, you useless relics of a glory that was mostly in your minds anyway. Tim Blair has two balls, that’s apparently more than the entire building at 229 W. 43rd street.

  • JennyD

    The principle of free speech and a free press are all about offending people. That’s the unintendened consequence of allowing people to have independent ideas and express them. Someone else is not going to like everything I think or say. They may even be offended. I may not like their ideas. And so on.

    But should we discard these principles because I’m offended? Of course not.

    Did newspapers print photographs of the art pieces with a crucifix in a jar of urine, and a painting of Christ’s mother Mary with pieces of cow dung? I think some papers did, and I can guarantee that some readers were offended. But I support the right of the artists to express their views, and the rights of the papers to print the photographs, even if some were offended.

    That’s why I don’t understand the hesitancy, or the wimpiness of editors over these cartoons. That E&P article is full of scary quotes.

    “Kathleen Carroll, AP executive editor, said the news cooperative has long withheld images it deemed offensive, such as photos and video of beheadings. “We have a very longstanding policy of not distributing material that is found to be offensive,” she said, adding that the Inquirer was the only newspaper she knew of that had specifically requested the images from AP. “These images have not met that standard.””

    “The Los Angeles Times sent this statement to E&P this afternoon: “Our newsroom and op-ed page editors, independently of each other, determined that the caricatures could be deemed offensive to some readers and the there were effective ways to cover the controversy without running the images themselves.” “

  • kat

    {: Should American journalists be publishing these images in solidarity with European publishers? Or would that be pandering? Or are those images part of the story that need to be seen to understand? Is there a right to see them, a journalistic responsibility to include them in reporting?}
    No, it would not be pandering–it would be called having a backbone and refusing to cower to muslims.
    When there was Jesus in piss or Mary coverd in elephant shit, leftists deemed it art. No one was afraid to show the images. If one objected, one was a Christian nutjob. However, when it’s a bunch of embassy burning moonbats carrying signs threatening to blow up London or behead infidels, we cower in fear. Shouldn’t these muslims threatening violence over a cartoon be charged with hate crimes. Let’s show those pictures…pics of what real hate speech looks like.

  • michael

    The power of the internet. Who cares if American publishers do not want to run the images from the Danish magazine? I found the images posted on hundreds of web sites and blogs. On the list of why American newspapers are irrelevant, this episode ranks number 18.

    On a similar vain, why has there been no comparison between the Joint of Chief Staffs reactions to Tom Toles’ cartoon in the Washington Post and the cartoons from the Danish magazine?

  • michael

    The Syrians are unbelievable. A mob burns the Danish embassay. Where is the freedom of expression against the current government? Where is the Syrian press on the story that the president of Syria, Bashir Assad, has been directly linked to the murder of another country’s opposition leader?

    Besides burning embassies, this year, Syrian television aired a miniseries that depicted rabbis as cannibals.

    And remember, in most Arab and Muslim countries the Protocols of Zion is widely available for sale.

    I find it extremely offensive and moronic that anyone can side with Muslims on this issue. Their culture is filled with hate and contempt for other cultures and religions. They wallow in hate and intollerance.

  • kat

    Well, I don’t think Tom Toles has been arrested or gone into hiding like the Danish cartoonist.

  • Ron Pettengill

    jenny D is right on the money.
    time to see how brave the media is now. time to show the cartoons everyday and in every paper if anything in honor of the murder of Theo Van Gogh.

    remember sometimes, a society must be intolerant in order to preserve tolerance.

  • Ravo

    remember sometimes, a society must be intolerant in order to preserve tolerance.

    “Tolerance becomes a crime when it is applied to evil”…Thomas Mann

  • Robert Feinman

    When symbolic issues like this become hot buttons you can almost always be sure there is a back story. This story is a proxy for something deeper.

    My guess is that the local middle eastern government are encouraging (or at least not preventing) the outrage for their own political ends. Some likely reasons:

    To regain popularity for a weakened regime
    To divert the populace from local problems
    To try to force concessions from the west on various economic issues
    To gather supporters to a specific political faction as part of an internal power struggle

    The middle east has been feeling put upon recently with the heavy handed behavior over Iraq, Iran, Syria and Libya and this may be the chance for their leaders to show their “independence” at no real political or economic cost.

  • PSGInfinity

    You see, that’s why I like your blog, Jeff. You might be the very first to acknowledge #6. Question: given that is so hard, how do we help?

    Many newspapers and bloggers have had the (good) idea of reprinting the cartoons. And that’s fine, as far as it goes. But we’ll also need to afford you vigorous investigation, punishment, then deportation of muslims who threaten you. (Brings up the interesting conundrum of deporting native-born muslims, which I’ll set aside for now). We’re going to need to fight muslims exercising rights of ownership to nefarious ends, and that opens up a whole ‘nother can o’ worms. Conundrums, conundrums…

    Well, its a start, anyway. Enjoy the Big Gameâ„¢!

  • kat

    Or it could be something as simple as muslims using this cartoon to expose the fear of those who have no backbone in defending free speech/freedom of expression where islam is concerned,(but real brave attacking ‘Christian nutjobs’) while at the same time Arabic media is free to use anti-Jewish and anti-Christian cartoons because we must be taught that islam is superior and we dhimmi must comply when muslims use fear, intimidation, threats and violence to cow infidels into submission. They are making sure that this never happens again–we will be taught that mohammed is off limits and our press will cower and crumple and submit to allah. Free speech does not apply to muslims. They are free to do as they please. We are not–we are dhimmi. We must respect poobah.

  • Ravo

    Robert…probably to make a distraction to take the spotlight off of Iran.

    Images of Mohammed have been around for centuries. From what I’m reading on the subject, Koran doesn’t forbid the images, it forbids worship of those images (to prevent idolism)

    The cartoons are certainly not in danger of being worshipped by Muslims.

    Therefore, a crisis created to distract??

  • Jae T.

    Most of us are up tight about something, Most of the world needs to relax, I am talking about Amercians, Muslims, and every other religious group. I am so sick of hearing who is offended for what, everyday its something else, for example christian groups is my city were boycotting the movie Brokeback Mountain, its not enough to just not go to the movie, no they had to stand and protest, then get themselves on the local news saying Gay movies are bad, its against god. I am also sick of hearing complaints from people playing the race card. GET OVER IT. Here is how I feel if you have a problem, deal with it, not everyone is like you, if you get offended by a cartoon, turn the channel, if you think all your problems stem from race, speak about it in your homes, I am quite frankley sick of it. If movies offened you don’t watch them, and parents don’t bring suit to video game programmers, how about you preview the game, and decide for yourself if your child should have the game. Parents take responsibility for your own kids.

  • Brandon Blatcher

    For the Muslims it’s probably not a question of free speech: This was a purposeful violation of on the tenants of their religion. This is something Muslims just don’t do. Add in the fact that most of the cartoons are negative and published with the intent of stirring controversy and you’ve got situation of someone yelling fire in a crowded theater.

  • Brandon Blatcher

    Oh yeah, check out the wikkipedia article on the issue, especially the part on Islamic traditions, which gives a clearer view on Muslim depictions of the prophet and the main point of anger.

  • kat

    And check out why the cartoons were posted according to wikipedia-not to anger but to make a point about how muslims muzzle free speech.
    And the truth that the media is not telling is that these cartoons are old.
    Wikepedia says {The drawings, which include a depiction of Muhammad with a bomb in his turban, were meant as satirical illustrations accompanying an article on self-censorship and freedom of speech. Jyllands-Posten commissioned and published the cartoons in response to the difficulty of Danish writer KÃ¥re Bluitgen to find artists to illustrate his children’s book about Muhammad, for fear of violent attacks by extremist Muslims. Islamic teachings forbid the depiction of Muhammad as a measure against idolatry, a form of aniconism. In the past there have been non-satirical depictions of Muhammad by Muslims;}

  • Robert Feinman

    Here is a link to a thread which lends some credence to my supposition that this is a manufactured issue:

  • Jersey Exile

    Therefore, a crisis created to distract?

    To distract from troubles at home in Syria, perhaps. But considering that the Sunni Baathists and Shiite Iranians aren’t exactly bosom buddies, I find it hard to believe that they’re capable of working together in such a global conspiratorial manner as you’re suggesting. Hell, the Persians aren’t even Arab, so you can’t even play the pan-Arabian card on this one…

    Jeff is of course right on the money here. And kudos to the Inquirer (my old hometown paper) for having the stones to do its job when even our own government cowers in fear of fundamentalists of all stripes — Muslim, Christian, Jewish, even Hindu.

    But I think it’s somewhat of a stretch to insinuate that the “culture of offense” as practiced in America is somewhat to blame for religious nutjobbery, which historically has never needed any postmodern excuses to practice its violent brand of intolerance around the world. Yes, extremists on the right have in many cases coopted the rhetoric on the left in order to advance their own backward and superstitious agendas, but that’s just a modern PR spin.

    It’s easy to stand up and denounce something you already hate, as the predictable responses from the peanut gallery here thus far demonstrate. But real courage is standing up for the cause of free speech whenever and wherever it’s under assault — be it from the right of the left, the militant atheists or the radical fundies. Hats off to Jeff for knowing that freedom of expression is not, can not, and must not be a partisan issue.

  • mynewsbot

    These images are in bad taste but it doesnt give people of certain religion to start killing others

  • Ravo

    A commenter at another blog an observation that if “moderate” Muslims exercised this “righteous” anger at the terrorists, the world would be made safe in a day.

    But wouldn’t “Moderates” that do that would be called apostates and be subject to death?

    Another comments on the Behead and Exterminate type signs. Would not any of citizen, other than a Muslim one, be arrested for doing this under the “hate crime” and “incite to riot”. The following conversation asks why this terror cult is not forbidden to be practiced in Western countries, as any other terror/killing cult is.


    Total Muslim hypocrisy. Open any Arab newspaper and look at the almost daily cartoons of Ariel Sharon, or of Jews in general. People in glasshouses…….

    Total police hypocrisy. Why were these animals not arrested on the spot and charged with “using words or behaviour likely to incite racial hatred”? Oh no, I forgot, that law only applies to, ahem, certain other people.

    This is living proof (if any more were needed) that Islam is totally irreconcilable with Western democracy. It is an enemy which needs to be fought, not appeased or reasoned with, or tolerated in any shape or form. Its practise should be totally outlawed in Britain, and its followers sent packing from these shores. …Tom

    Tom, you have just described the heart of the satirical cartoons about Mohammad that started this whole mess. The question the cartoons should provoke is, “What would Mohammad do?” I mean, really. Would the peaceful prophet Mohammad condone blowing up innocent people?

    Unforunately, based on history, the answer is most probalby yes….Amy

    Re: CNN

    CNN has chosen to not show the cartoons in respect for Islam.”

    They aired the disgusting Army amputee cartoon and in fact had the cartoonist Tom Toles on CNN at 8 am yesterday. Apparently CNN has more respect for extremist Islam than for the United States Military, but that’s not news. ….Amy (same link as above)

  • Jim Wilson

    I was worried about this issue years ago, when the first hate crime legislation was introduced. I worried at the time — and still do — that by making sentences longer for hate crimes, the laws were punishing what people were saying or thinking, not simply for the crime they committed. Since then, the definitions have expanded enormously to incorporate a very large number of people in the “protected” groups.

    So, Jeff, not only are we in a culture of offense, we are punishing it with jail terms as well.

  • Ravo

    Jim…I agree with that totally. But whatever law you have, it must be uniformly applied. The world is seeing a hate group demanding to be above and outside the laws of every country. The consequences to any country appeasing such demands will be staggering.

  • Jorge

    When Bush tries to defend the defenceless grab for power, we say where is the outrage.

    When Bush attacks countries that are no threat to us, we say where is the outrage.

    When Bush attacks and murders tens of thousands of Irac citizens we wonder where is the outrage by the Irac citizens themselves.

    Now the unbelievable……someone draws a cartoon…..this is a reason for outrage?

    This is mass hysteria, like supporting Bush in overthrowing democracy.

  • Star A. Decise

    A cursory search of stories about the issue in The New York Times and a couple of other major American papers shows that they have avoided posting links to the cartoons, even as they cover the issue.

    We can argue whether the papers are properly covering the issue without showing the cartoons. We can debate whether American media should publish the drawings to demonstrate solidarity and a commitment to free speech.

    But the failure to link smacks plain and simply of cowardice.

  • http://ruthcalvo ruth

    Interestingly, burning buildings and stomping on flags is getting so much attention, when Pakistan’s strongly worded ORAL rebuke for the deaths of its citizens in our bombing attack inside its borders got so little. Wouldn’t it be nice to admire civilized behavior while we’re condemning public demonstrations? I’m offended by carnage committed in my name much more than by vulgar art financed by my tax dollars.

  • Ravo

    It’s all so topsy turvy these days:

    “This syndrome of anticipatory capitulation is based on a reversal of cause and effect, action and reaction. The perpetrators are handled with kid gloves, while the potential victims are counseled to be moderate.

    “Israel threatens Iran with Military Attack,” read a headline in the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, after the government in Jerusalem announced that it would not wait for Tehran to fire a nuclear weapon at Tel Aviv. The headline at Focus Online, another German publication, was even clearer: “Israel Threatens Iran with Self-Defense!” This “threat” has to be taken seriously, unlike Iran’s announcement that it would “wipe Israel off the map,” which is considered mere “rhetoric.”

    Future historians studying the 21st century will be amazed at the naiveté of the Europeans, who see no parallels to the 1930s appeasement of the Nazis and insist on believing they have to help Iran maintain its dignity, even at the cost of nuclear disaster.

    ….. Otherwise the terrorists might get mad.”

  • kat

    Or ruth will try to change the subject.

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  • Eileen

    As par for the course by the U.S. msm, what’s NOT being reported regarding The War of the Twelve Cartoons (not my expression, unfortunately) is at the heart of the matter:

    “Western media are missing a huge story in the Danish cartoon madness—the revelation that this insanity was deliberately incited by a group of Danish Muslims, led by Copenhagen imam Abu Laban, who toured the Middle East in December and showed fabricated cartoons that never appeared in Jyllands-Posten. The Counterterrorism Blog has lots of information about this, including an English translation of the Arabic letter that the Muslim delegation presented during their tour.” via Charles Johnson,

    At the very least, those much more offensive, Muslim-fabricated cartoons should be aired/published. Now consider:

    “But who wanted or caused the heat to become so turned up and why at that this particular moment?

    The clue to the answers to this second question lies in a second event almost certain to occur to today, if it has not already happened by the time this blog gets posted. This is the likely This is the likely decision today in Vienna by the International Atomic Energy Agency to report Iran to the UN Security Council for continuing with its programme of nuclear research. If that decision should occur, when the UN Security Council gets round to considering what form of sanctions to impose on Iran, guess to whom chairmanship of the Council will have passed. You’ve got it… plucky little Denmark.

    Suddenly, the pieces fall into shape. The rumpus suddenly escalated, complete with fabricated offensive cartoons, to so enflame Muslim opinion that Denmark could be intimidated directly through a threatened Muslim boycott of its goods, or indirectly by the EU fearful of a wider boycott, into voting in favour of Iran.” via

    If anyone doubts whether the sudden (four months later) outrage was in fact orchestrated, there’s this to consider:

    “I long ago lost count of the number of times I’ve switched on the TV and seen crazy guys jumping up and down in the street, torching the Stars and Stripes and yelling ”Death to the Great Satan!” Or torching the Union Jack and yelling ”Death to the Original If Now Somewhat Arthritic And Semi-Retired Satan!” But I never thought I’d switch on the TV and see the excitable young lads jumping up and down in Jakarta, Lahore, Aden, Hebron, etc., etc., torching the flag of Denmark. Denmark!

    Even if you were overcome with a sudden urge to burn the Danish flag, where do you get one in a hurry in Gaza? Well, OK, that’s easy: the nearest European Union Humanitarian Aid and Intifada-Funding Branch Office. But where do you get one in an obscure town on the Punjabi plain on a Thursday afternoon? If I had a sudden yen to burn the Yemeni or Sudanese flag on my village green, I haven’t a clue how I’d get hold of one in this part of New Hampshire. Say what you like about the Islamic world, but they show tremendous initiative and energy and inventiveness, at least when it comes to threatening death to the infidels every 48 hours for one perceived offense or another.” via

    Oh, and this:

    “White House spokesman Scott McClellan said: “We will hold Syria responsible for such violent demonstrations since they do not take place in that country without government knowledge and support.” via

  • Ravo,,1702565,00.html

    Vienna decided by 27 to three haul Tehran before the supreme world authority….

    As the crisis deepened, Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, drew parallels between Ahmadinejad and Hitler. She warned an international security conference in Munich: ‘Looking back to German history in the early Thirties when National Socialism was on the rise, there were many outside Germany who said, “It’s only rhetoric – don’t get excited”‘.

    The referral to the security council was a victory for Washington, which has been arguing for the shift for two years. The Europeans preferred to negotiate and resisted US pressure. But the collapse of the negotiations last month when Iran removed UN seals at its uranium enrichment site meant the Europeans had little choice but going to the security council. More crucially, countries more sympathetic to Iran, such as Russia, China and India, also voted to take the dispute to New York, leaving Iran with few friends apart from Cuba, Venezuela and Syria.

  • Zeyad

    I posted on the subject just today. I’ll try to add more soon.

  • Eileen

    “…and Syria.”

    Quel surprise.

    For the multi-culti crowd, here’s a question for you. If Islam prohibits the depiction of it’s so-called (pond scum) prophet, does that ‘rule’ apply only to Muslims, or does it apply to the entire world? If we submit to the dictates of Islam, we are no more than their dhimmis. Which is, of course, the goal. Prepare your prayer rugs, pound your heads on the floor, and assume the lofty butt facing Allah position NOW.

    As the msm turns itself into pretzels in their cowardly – and ideologically based – efforts to protect the sensitivities of Muslims, the crazies keep turning up the heat. News is getting out in spite of their best (spit) efforts. ‘Disaffected and impoverished youths’/’freedom fighters’/’militants’ – can you actually say terrorists? – in too many countries to count are rearing their ugly heads while threatening to cut ours off.

    MSM heads must be exploding about now. What to do? What to do? Even the DU and Kos kids are recognizing the insanity of torching embassies over CARTOONS.

    So when will the U.S. bastions of freedom of the press and speech wake up? Ever?

    If they had any balls whatsoever, they’d show those 12 cartoons, PLUS the Muslim-fabricated ones, right alongside egregious examplies of anti-Semitic, anti-Christian, anti-etc., cartoons which are published throughout the ME daily. The American public is entitled to see and KNOW their enemy. Instead, msm is doing its damndest to obfuscate and hide the truth.

    Now more than ever before, thank God for the internet.

  • Eileen

    Buy Danish products! Buy products from every single country whose press has shown a spine!

    It wouldn’t hurt to contact major MSM advertisers, either.

  • Ravo

    MSM heads …… What to do? What to do?

    LMAO…what a picture!

    re: cartoons..forget showing the 12.

    Feature all the cartoons drawn by Muslims disrespecting Jews and Christians.

    Keep in front of the world, the 3 Muslim fabricated ones they disrespected their own doctrine with, far worse than the original 12, that they tried to pass off as foreign. Will they throw tantrums over what they themselves have drawn?

  • kat

    I was exercising my clicker rights and I stopped at a channel that was reporting about the muslim mayhem. Lo and behold, they run a clip showing
    some Monty python thing showing a bunch of Jesuses singing on crosses. It was a Canadian CBC channel called Newsworld and the chicken shit bastards had to use footage that made fun of Jesus when the story was about muslims on a burning rampage in Beirut. A bunch of crazed animals destroying churches and businesses in a Christian section but the media tries hard to pretend this is a religious thing and not a muslim thing. MSM had better not whine about freedom of speech if they allow muslims to dictate policy to them. I don’t like some stuff about Christianity that is shown, but Christ is much bigger than some silly cartoon or TV show, and I will not become a criminal, arsonist, and terrorist, just because I am offended. Mohammed must be one sensitive son of a bitch.

  • Trogdor

    I find this quite illuminating in where American mass-media outlets stand.

    Blasphemous depictions of Jesus? Run the photos. Free speech.
    Blasphemous depictions of Mohammed? We must respect Muslims (or not anger them), and not be offensive.


  • Ravo

    “When Tony-winning author Terence McNally writes a Broadway play in which Jesus has gay sex with Judas, the New York Times and Co. rush to garland him with praise for how “brave” and “challenging” he is. The rule for “brave” “transgressive” “artists” is a simple one: If you’re going to be provocative, it’s best to do it with people who can’t be provoked.

    Thus, NBC is celebrating Easter this year with a special edition of the gay sitcom “Will & Grace,” in which a Christian conservative cooking-show host, played by the popular singing slattern Britney Spears, offers seasonal recipes — “Cruci-fixin’s.” On the other hand, the same network, in its coverage of the global riots over the Danish cartoons, has declined to show any of the offending artwork out of “respect” for the Muslim faith.

    Which means out of respect for their ability to locate the executive vice president’s home in the suburbs and firebomb his garage.”


    Out of the following four potential scenarios it seems the MSM is at number #4:

    1. Christians learn to be as violent as Muslims when anyone blasphemies their beliefs – not likely for Christians following the peaceful Jesus.

    2. Muslims learn to protest non-violently.

    3. The media doesn’t run anything that offends anyone.

    4. The media treats Muslims as having special privilege.

    The MSM seems stuck on #4

  • jon

    Yes, but.

    The culture of offense could be considered a *form* of debate.
    Perhaps the problem is with the form of journalism which takes the most absurd “offenses” and covers them at face value. Fake news, in other words.

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  • frumiousb

    Last night, my partner and I took a taxi home from the center of Amsterdam. Our driver was Muslim, of Turkish family origin (Dutch, in other words). On the radio, we were listening to the announcement that an extreme right politician in the Netherlands (Geert Wilders) had posted the cartoons to his web site. Both my partner and the driver started swearing. The driver said, (my poor translation, not his poor eloquence)

    “Why is this necessary? We are most of us trying to get along. What those people did in Lebanon was awful, and has nothing to do with the situation of Muslims in Europe. But Wilders just sees a fire and a chance to throw gasoline…”

    In a nutshell, I think that his attitude is perfectly correct.

    Probably in the press in the US, people would report that Wilders is acting out of solidarity with Jyllands-Posten. True. But, they don’t get what the European right (including both Wilders and Jyllands-Posten) is all about. The Le Monde cartoon was a different matter, and genuine commentary, but much of the reprinting that has been going on is a product of people who have a platform invested in creating trouble.

    It is surely possible to deplore riots without supporting the extreme right?

    Anyhow, in answer to your questions, my attempt:

    violent reaction to speech is, of course, more offensive than the hateful speech itself

    I am not sure that it can be compared (particularly in Europe) to blasphemy against Christianity since Christianity is the dominant culture. Those cartoons published in a European setting are part of the continuing and continuous effort of marginalization from the right. That does not justify the violent reaction, but it is disingenuous to allow these kinds of cartoons to be taken out of their real context. This was *not* comparable to a nasty Toles cartoon lampooning the president.

    As for publishing the cartoons in the US, I think that it would be stupid to do so as a “support” for Jyllands-Posten. That support means something different than just supporting abstract notions of free speech. It may *well* be useful to post them so people understand what the fuss is all about, assuming that they are contextualized appropriately.

  • Michael Nielsen

    I, being danish and living in Denmark, find your (Jeff’s) post very encouraging. The comments above, even more encouraging. The events in the recent days, _after_ the infamous Tour of the Imams, have been unpleasant and any support is appreciated.

  • Eileen

    Yah, Michael Nielsen, well put: the Tour of the Imans which precipitated The War of the Twelve Cartoons.

    We are with you 1,000 percent, Michael – nothwithstanding our LLL MSM! And might I add, I’m more than in awe of your country’s strength and might. May America emulate you and your great Queen Margrethe II!

    Right behind you, my friend.

    Anything I can do??? Just ask.

  • HA

    Jersey Exile,

    But considering that the Sunni Baathists and Shiite Iranians aren’t exactly bosom buddies, I find it hard to believe that they’re capable of working together in such a global conspiratorial manner as you’re suggesting. Hell, the Persians aren’t even Arab, so you can’t even play the pan-Arabian card on this one…

    This is a completeley ignorant comment. Hezbollah is a joint Iranian/Syrian terror operation. Your theory is completely at odds with reality.

    This is the problem with lefties. You guys come up with all kinds of theories that attempt to confirm your predisposition. And then, no amount of empirical evidence can dissuade you from your faith in your theories. That is why you guys are still socialists. Your faith in Marx is as profound as Pat Robertson’s in Jesus.

    Think of it as Unintelligent Design.

  • HA


    I’m offended by carnage committed in my name much more than by vulgar art financed by my tax dollars.

    What a great country. Even our blasphemy is government-funded.

    I, for one, would like to see our government reallocate our blasphemy dollars into carnage. The money spent by our government on Piss-Christ would better serve the cause of peace if it had been spent on some cluster-bombs.

    If we had dropped cluster-bombs on the Iranian savages who seized our embassy back during the Carter misadministration, the Danish and Norwegian embassies would not be smoldering today.

  • Eileen

    Right you are, HA.

    Sorry, but I’ve read Jersey Exile for being quite beyond just a socialist slug for many moons now.

    Persians, he says, are disassociated from Islamofascism? Right!

    How does one spell taqiyya?

    May we ALL wake up to a better day.

  • ashok

    My own thought, and maybe someone has voiced this already, but I’m too lazy to go back and read, is that this whole thing was a ploy by the Danish newspaper to get some controversy started.

    It’s a grab for attention, nothing more. Everyone and their mother knows people were going to be threatened with death for this sort of thing, and that the jihadis would be powerless although shocking. The cartoons I found to be of strikingly poor quality, and that leads me to my questions:

    Is speech meant to incite for the sake of ratings protected speech? Should it be?

    To what degree is the very concept of a mass media a lowering of speech to the level where the only thing it can do is bring out the worst in all of us, whether that worst is us being manipulated to buy products, or threatening others with death because there’s nothing else to do?

    What are we going to say when this all blows over, and proves itself to be a hype? Is this really a cause of the destruction of our liberty, our ability to communicate/be informed, or is it a symptom of damage that has already been done?

    I really did not want to post on this topic. It will be dead by Friday, I’m sure.

  • Eileen

    Oh please, ashok.

    You’re pissing in your own wind. Certainly nothing more than that.

    “I really did not want to post on this topic.”

    Too bad you did.

  • Scott Butki

    I respect the right to print these cartoons but I question whether there was any value to it. Contrast that with the Tom Toles cartoon on the soldier.
    The crucifix in the urine bottle was mentioned – but I don’t recall that image being printed in many newspapers.

    I wrote up some thoughts on the subject here.

  • CaptiousNut

    Don’t anyone believe that Big Media’s tepid coverage of the cartoons is simply “polictically correct” or designed not to “offend”.

    When Clinton was in office, the NYT defended the likes of those that called black college girls “water buffalo”.

    Today, they weigh each story/event by how much it would help or hurt President Bush.

    If both parties were considered strong or equal on GWOT issues then the MSM might be less tempted to politicize reality.

    Remember that France was burning for days before the MSM even gave it a token mention.

  • Wise One

    Three cheers for the muslims. I am sick of all the secular humanists who insult my religion, Christinity then hide behind freedom of speech. I just wish we Christians rioted a few times ourselves. Again, three cheers for the muslims.

  • Jersey Exile

    HA and Eileen,

    Please. My point was that the chances of this being some kind of grand strategy to distract world attention from Iran’s nuclear ambitions are virtually nil. Syria can’t save its own sorry ass now, let alone mastermind a global disinformation campaign on behalf of the Muslim world.

    And Eileen, where exactly did I say that “Persians are disassociated from Islamofascism”? You may like using (Andrew Sullivan-approved) big words, but your reading comprehension must be at a third-grade level if that’s what you took away from my post.

    Iranians are not Arabs. They are fiercely nationalistic and very much have their own agenda. Iran fought a bloody ten-year war against a Sunni Baathist government and accepts Syrian support in Lebanon only because it has to. Persians may have as many foaming at the mouth zealots as the rest of the Islamic world, but at heart they’re still convinced they’re better than their Arab conquerors, and this makes them far more dangerous than the “Muslim Caliphate” you and your ilk lose so much sleep over.

  • Michael Nielsen

    Thank you Eileen, and help, well, you are helping now.

    In Denmark the battle looks different; while everyone is shocked at what can happen (danish citizens threatened etc), from the start there has always been a “but they (Jyllands-Posten) did it to provoke the muslim immigrants in Denmark”.

    I have even had to respond to a person claiming this way a ploy to incite hatred between muslims and non-muslims in Denmark.

    If that was the case, and lets just entertain that ridiculous notion for a bit, it was a failed attempt. Yes, some demonstrated a few hours one day against the cartoons, but that was it. The whole thing blew over, apart from a small group that wouldn’t let go. Representatives of this small group then went on their tour…

    But the notion is ridiculous; Jyllands-Posten, the largest newspaper in Denmark, has fought for understanding, democracy (as much as a newspaper can) and freedom of expression, for many decades.

  • Ravo

    that this whole thing was a ploy by the Danish newspaper to get some controversy started.

    It seems it was a ploy by Muslims to use those old cartoons to start a controversy at this particular point in time.

    But will all the concerned folks such frumioubi’s cab driver ever know that?

    It was waaaaay back — was it Oct of 2005 that the cartoons were originally published?

    All pretty much forgotten until……..

    From what I’ve read over the past few days…-

    It was Muslims themselves who actually drew an additional three far more insulting cartoons to add to the original 12 (passing them off as being from infidels) and taking them on a publicity trail to purposefully start a hullabaloo about it.

    The reasons for the timing of this controversy are said to have coincided with the vote in Vienna re Iran.

  • Ravo

    Muslim hypocrisy….

    The hypocrisy is so evident here there can be no missing it. So why do we in the West, not take these wonderful examples of Islamic peace and plaster them all over the newspapers and televisions when these riots break out? We can easily show how the Palestinians used a holy church in Jerusalem as a place of terror and violence, while using bibles for toilet paper. Or show a mosque that sits atop a Hindu holy site that was torn down after slaughtering the worshippers in cold blood. Or show where the Taliban defaced a huge Buddhist stature simply because Islam believes that NO images of gods should be allowed.

    The US mainstream media is far WORSE than useless. We need a huge boycott of TV news and newspapers until they start covering ALL the news as it actually is.

    I no longer tune in or buy a daily newspaper and haven’t for a long, long time. Stop buying ANY paper (other than small community issues). Every cent is a contribution to their treasonous agenda.

  • Michael Nielsen

    Just for the record, the additional (30-40?) cartoons displayed, which were never published and apparently a lot worse than what most of us could imagine possible, are of this date “of unknown source”. But the imam of whom we know showed at least one of these horrible cartoons have refused to tell where they came from, except that they were “sent to a muslim”.

  • Jersey Exile

    From what I’ve read over the past few days…-

    It was Muslims themselves who actually drew an additional three far more insulting cartoons to add to the original 12 (passing them off as being from infidels) and taking them on a publicity trail to purposefully start a hullabaloo about it.

    The reasons for the timing of this controversy are said to have coincided with the vote in Vienna re Iran.

    This is why LGF or the O’Reilly Rant aren’t considered “authoritative sources”!

    A less paranoid/conspiratorial timeline, thanks to Wikipedia:

    The cartoons were first published in late September 2005; approximately two weeks later, nearly 3,500 people demonstrated peacefully in Copenhagen. In November, several European newspapers re-published the images, triggering more protests. Labour strikes began in Pakistan the following month, and several organizations criticized the Danish government. More protests occurred in January 2006, and later that month a boycott of Danish goods began. Several countries withdrew their ambassadors to Denmark, and widespread protests began. The protests, some of them violent, continued in February. In Damascus, Syria, both the Norwegian embassy and a building containing the Danish, Swedish, and Chilean embassies were stormed and set afire by protesters. The Danish General Consulate in Beirut was burned down by more than 10,000 protesters.

    9/30/05 – 1st Publication in Jyllands-Posten
    1/10/06 – Republication in Norwegian Christian periodical Magazinet
    2/1/06 – Republication in Die Welt and France Soir and Arab newspapers

    So unless this conspiracy involves the Norwegians, the Germans, and the French, I think you guys are barking up the wrong tree. It’s idiocy on the part of the protestors nonetheless, but hardly a sinister Muslim plot to help Iran get the bomb.

  • Ravo

    Why were those Danish flags to hand? Who built up the stockpile so that they could be quickly dragged out right across the Muslim world and burnt where television cameras would come and look? The more you study this story of “spontaneous” Muslim rage, the odder it seems.

    And why did Muslims make sick drawings of Mohammed far worse than anything the Danes printed and have them published, if it upsets them to have any images at all published?

  • http://ruthcalvo Ruth

    Wow, HA: “If we had dropped cluster-bombs on the Iranian savages who seized our embassy back during the Carter misadministration, the Danish and Norwegian embassies would not be smoldering today. ” You may be the first person I’ve ever heard who wanted all those embassy personnel, who had the misfortune to be captured, also be incinerated. Gotta admit, that’s worse than funding torture and bombing civilians other than our own. Do you try to run down schoolchildren who jaywalk as well?

  • Ravo

    True Islam Unmasked
    Written by Barbara J. Stock

    [Excerpts from] The Islamic Pandora’s Box has been opened and no amount of energy spent trying to push the true face of Islam back in will be successful.

    The inherent violence, intolerance, and inbred anger of Islam is now out for all to see. The world is watching and the “handful of terrorists who have high-jacked a peaceful religion” doesn’t pass the “laugh test” any longer….

    ….Let’s summarize. Slit a man’s throat in the name of Allah for no reason at all—good work and Allah is pleased. Draw a cartoon about Islam—this is punishable by death. That, in a nutshell, is Islam.

    If there is anything good to come from all of the fury Islamics have put on full display for the world, it is that passive people, especially those in Europe, have now been witness to true Islam.

    We have all seen the terrorist arm of Islam while the gullible continued to cling to the idea that Islam is peaceful and accepting and tolerant.

    It is none of those things.

    Islam demands acceptance while accepting nothing.

    Islam demands tolerance while giving none.

    Islam claims it only wants peace in the world while starting wars and rioting and killing at the slightest perceived insult.

    Horrified Islamic religious leaders will attempt to downplay the violence knowing Islam has exposed its hateful nature, but it is too late.

    At last, true Islam has shown its face to the world, and this time the world was watching.

    the rest of the article at…..


    Any country is foolish to put out the welcome mat for violent mental patients!

  • ashok

    If this thing blows over in a week, and nothing is learned, then to me the whole thing was a giant hype by people who had no real news to report. That none of us were aware of the very dark side of free speech and identity politics would be shocking, except I think we are all aware of those problems.

    Eileen, thank you for your kind & thoughtful response. You have shown me how to respect others on the Internet, and I am most thankful for that.

    Michael Nielsen, I disagree, but I wish you the best and hope that all goes well in Denmark. Nobody likes this fundamentalist outcry, certainly not me, and I’m willing to be wrong about it blowing over partly because I hope it blows over very soon.

  • Franky

    Aren’t a number of people here now complaining about muslims the same who complained about the “msm” (the new jew for the new millenium – the evil conniver who orchestrates everything to hold you and your kind down) showing what was considered anti-christian tv shows?

    If you’ve ever complained about anti-christian art or tv programs you have no right to comment on this latest scandal (in fact you’re only recourse is to join your fellow fundamentalists and agree that the papers should be shut down for having the temerity to offend a religion).

  • kat

    Too bad the religion of peace can’t bring the same kind of crowds ranting and raving against suicide bombers and terrorists.
    No one says muslims can’t complain–it’s just the arson and murder I object to. A 14 year old crazed cartoon moonbat even shot a priest in Turkey.

  • Franky

    There is of course a world of difference in between how the fundamentalists complain (one relatively peaceful if really, really annoying and another burning down embassies).

    But the motivations are the same – the imposition of your sensibilities on the rest of the world.

  • kat

    Bullshit–your idea is that if I complain I’m a fundy–I should just shut up and eat your shit. No frigging way–you can kiss my sweet ass if you think that is going to work. You leftists think you can legislate hate crimes against
    certain things that you hold dear but I’m not supposed to be offended by what you deem free speech–only if it suits your thinking.
    There is no comparison between complaining and going nuts and burning down embassies, Christian churches, and murdering innocents. None. You’d have to be a stinking terrorist with the mentality of a dung beetle to say they are the same.

  • Franky

    If you seek to prohibit me from seeing some anti-chrsitian or anti-muslim art or cartoons, then you may be a fundy.

    You and the islamists now complaining about the cartoons are an equal threat to my civil liberties. I wish you both the same luck with your endevor.

  • Ravo

    There is nothing wrong with the motivation…if it’s to register one’s displeasure by showing peaceful protest at a specific action someone, or some organization such as a newspaper is taking.

    As in the Book of Daniel blasphemy, the offended wrote the station, had discussions, and refused to “consume” the product.

    At no time, is screaming about death and extermination like mentally deranged violent inmates of an insane asylm, and/or hurting people and burning property, an answer.

    Neither can you expect that one segment of people be allowed to draw debasing pictures of the rest of the earth’s inhabitants, while demanding similiar pictures not be drawn to hurt THEIR sensibilities.

  • kat

    No, Franky, they are your islamists. If I ever choose to not have the right to complain, I’ll move to an islamic country.

  • Franky

    There is a difference. Like all fair-minded people, I support everyone’s right to protest what they dislike and make their opinions known.

    What I dislike from the fundamentalists here and in the muslim world is their desire to ban those things they dislike.

    The theocratic mindset really does traverse borders, nationalities and languages – it’s a view of the world that insists that because of your faith, because you are totally right, you can dictate to other people what they can or can’t see.

    Of course it goes without saying that that challenges the heart of western civilization’s enlightenment values (of course as the creationists continue to remind us, just by being born in the west, don’t make you enlightened).

  • kat

    You leftists have no problem banning things you don’t like–Christmas carols, creches, anti-gay cartoons or speech, etc. Thing is ,Franky, people like you want to impose your beliefs on me, rather than my imposing mine on you. Respect is a two way street. It is you who wants to dictate your Marxist views on society. I care nothing about what you believe, but don’t tell me what I should believe and don’t tell me I can’t criticize without being compared to murdering moonbats burning buildings and killing people. It is you who constantly comes to their defence, not me. That must make you comparable to them, no? A leftist fundy, Franky.

  • Ravo

    “Franky…there is a huge difference between complaining about something and bringing about change by economically based behaviors, and having something be illegal.

    Below is a comment from a poster on another board. Tho I don’t have a way to link to it, but it explains what we are trying to define pretty well I think:

    “The wars of religion are long over; blasphemy laws no longer exist.

    In the Western world, one may deplore the “Piss Christ” of Serrano and write letters. One may also suggest that there is no constitutional guarantee to be supported by taxpayers’ money in one’s exercise of free speech.

    But otherwise, unless one is attempting to suppress the kind of speech that incites to imminent lawless violence (the Brandenburg test) in the United States other kinds of speech cannot be banned.”

  • Franky

    Well we almost entirely in agreement then.
    The differences are minimal but still important. I happen to think that taxpayers should contribute towards funding art and if that sometimes offends people that’s the price of art (but I am sympathetic to a religious taxpayer outraged his money is going for such controversial art, but the day I can opt out of paying for wars I don’t want is the day i’ll be more sympathetic to their complaints).

    Basically I adhere to the idea that if I don’t like something, I won’t go to see it. I don’t seek to have that eradicated. For instance, Jerry Falwell. I personally think the man’s a dangerous buffoon headed straight to hell but I would never join a boycott of his show because i know others listen to him and enjoy him.

    hahahaah sorry Kat, apparently you didn’t get the message – it’s now illegal even to say the word “christmas”. We won that.
    So good to see somethings don’t change. Bravely fighting in the trenches of the (non-existent) war on christmas. Godspeed you brave soldier. Godspeed.

  • HA

    Jersey Exile,

    My point was that the chances of this being some kind of grand strategy to distract world attention from Iran’s nuclear ambitions are virtually nil.

    What do you suppose Iran’s President was doing in Syria on January 21? Let’s see:

    He noted the similar views of Tehran and Damascus on political issues and developments, and stressed the two countries’
    determination to defend their common stances on political issues.

    The president cited developments in Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon as the main topics discussed with Syrian officials.

    The two sides also stressed the need to consolidate stability and unity in Iraq, Ahmadinejad said, adding that they were also united in their firm belief that an independent state for Palestine, return of Palestinian refugees and materializaion of their goals was the only way to solve the Palistinian issue.

    On Lebanon, he said, the two countries supported establishment of peace and reinforcement of unity.

    Referring to his “important” meetings with the Lebanese ulema and President of the Syrian National Assembly Nabih Berri, he said the two sides’ common stances on regional issues were highlighted in those meetings.

    Syria backs Iran’s right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, he stated.

    Well now what do you have to say? Kind of blows away your little theory doesn’t it?

    I can only wonder what kind of excuse you will now come up with to ignore reality.

  • al

    Is anybody seriously thinks that this anti- cartoon Muslim’s riots worldwide are not linked to the fact that Nations Agree To Iran UN Referral? Wake up !
    Is it not an interesting: once in a while France took a position against Arabs, supporting Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon and immediately France got riots. Just yesterday Iran found itself in isolation in the cozy company of Cuba Venezuela and Syria and about to be referred to UN and 4 months old cartoons were taken in play. Coincidence?
    We are blackmailed by international Muslim mafia.

  • al

    kat wrote ;
    “It is you who wants to dictate your Marxist views on society. I care nothing about what you believe, but don’t tell me what I should believe and don’t tell me I can’t criticize without being compared to murdering moonbats burning buildings and killing people. It is you who constantly comes to their defence, not me. That must make you comparable to them, no?”
    i agree
    I grew up in Soviet Union and I was thinking that I heard enough of socialism/Marxism propaganda but when I came to US was shock by overwhelmingly leftist orientation of the press and “ intelligencia.” Believe me all what Muslims extremists are doing lately is entirely in presumption that left liberal west will be impress and will eventually help them to destroy this capitalist society. I am atheist but I cannot support this antichristian bias. It what Muslims extremists are trying to put in play anti capitalist and antichristian bias in the west.

  • Pingback: » Blog Archive » The Culture of Offense

  • Ravo

    Thank you Al, some of us are aware, but it helps to have it confirmed from those who have had greater experience with it. Glad you are here.

  • kat

    And leftist aplogists for terrorists always come to the defence of the rampaging murdering muslim mobs by never failing to get a Christian angle into the story. These crazed goons burning and murdering will never be held accountable for their actions. Leftist loons will always find a way to compare and blame Christians. Muslims know there will always be idiots to condone and excuse their lunacy. Soon I expect that I will hear it is Bush’s fault.

  • Ravo

    For instance, Jerry Falwell. I personally think the man’s a dangerous buffoon headed straight to hell but I would never join a boycott of his show because i know others listen to him and enjoy him.


    I’ve heard of Falwell, of course, but never heard him speak or watched his show. I watch very little TV

    There is a difference though, in simply not liking something, and have someone distorting what is sacred to you. The first I’d ignore, the second I’d express my objection and personally boycott if possible.

    (Though I hope I’d have the good grace and sense of fairness to not protest if I had been doing the exact same thing to the other party)

    What I wouldn’t do is act less civilized than cavemen or beasts.

  • Eileen

    Thanks Al, and again, Michael. Your insight is extremely valuable and welcome.

    As for the Franky’s out there who perpetually try to defend Islam by suggesting sane analagies with ‘fundamentalist Christians’ exist, you need to buy a clue. When you can provide even one citation for an article, photograph or video which shows thousands of Christians across the globe burning embassies, shouting “Annihilate the Non-Believers”, “Behead the Non-Believers”, or leaving notes pinned by knives into chests to protest artistic expression, you might have a point. There is NO equivalency to be made to Islamonazi thugs. None.

    Efforts to distort and deny reality – or change the subject – never cease to amaze. The more Islam reveals its lunacy the more the U.S. MSM’s agenda and left wing apologists are also revealed. If there is any upshot to the ever increasing ‘demonstrations’ and ‘protests’, that would have to be it.

  • Eileen

    Back to those exploding heads for a moment. I wonder what MSM moguls think their readers and viewers will DO as day after day the furor increases over cartoons they refuse to show? Does it even dawn on them that they might turn to the internet and other sources to find them? You know, to see what all the hubbub’s ABOUT?!

    As MSM does its damndest to protect and promote the agenda at all costs, all they’ll wind up achieving is causing their customers to go elsewhere. Hiding the truth never ends up working well in the long, anyway. And that is why the taqiyya talkers will also, ultimately, fail.

    What sublime irony! :)

  • Franky

    Ahhh the beauty of seeing fevered minds working hand in hand.
    So it’s all a dastardly plot by muslims to distract the world from iran’s nuclear program and our media is complicit in this because they hate christianity and ultimately want to make us all live under sharia law. Man, this mainstream media must be worse than i thought – i had no idea. We should get Bill O’Reilly on this. Thank god you brave posters are out there, willing to risk ridicule all to bring us the truth. You’re heroes.

    (Jeff, as a sidenote, how did you end up with a comments section that is somehwere north of Mars and a little to the right of Free Republic?)

    Eileen, if you’re going to mention my name have the good grace to read my posts and then respond to the contents of such and not respond to what you hoped I had written. It’s not too much to ask.

    “There is of course a world of difference in between how the fundamentalists complain (one relatively peaceful if really, really annoying and another burning down embassies).

    But the motivations are the same – the imposition of your sensibilities on the rest of the world.”

    My Eileen, someone might thing you had rigged a computer to just automatically type your posts out regardless of what was posted before you.

    I wasn’t drawing attention to the world christian community, rather your own hypocrisy in demanding that things be removed from television that offend you but deciding you’re now a free-speecher. To believe in something you have to have principles not simply an interchangeable set of beliefs that you can adapt to either defend Bush or attack muslims. Otherwise you just don’t get taken seriously. Sorry.

    of course no one is condoning the violent behavior. I personally would have printed the cartoons if i was a newspaper editor if only to show some solidarity with those who had and also to demonstrate that freedom of speech is non-negotiable.
    But again I do tire of the “oh-my-god-someone-is-gay-on-television-and-
    -i-had-to-look-really-hard-to-find-the-show-but-i-did-and-now-i’m-outraged” crowd who have the gall to seek to remove from air what they don’t like and are now crying free speech.

  • Ravo

    A “perfect comparison”

    excerpted from an article by Steve Muscatello

    The latest issue of Rolling Stone depicts rapper Kanye West as a Christ-like figure in a crown of thorns with the title: “The Passion of Kanye West.” The cover shot is a disgusting affront to Christians, and certainly as blasphemous as the cartoons were to Muslims.

    As a result, no one was surprised when Christians firebombed Rolling Stone headquarters in New York.

    Oh wait, didn’t happen.

    Okay, well no one was surprised when Christians threatened to firebomb the building.

    Nope, didn’t happen either.

    Rarely does history provide such a perfect point of comparison, and the contrasting responses could hardly be more telling: When faced with a nearly identical situation, one faith resorted to violence, threats and rage like unruly savages; the other was civil, responding (if at all) with letters to the editor, calls for a boycott and many public denunciations.

    Second, the rage of the Muslim world again lays bare radicalism for all the world to see. A similar fervor was set off in 2005 in response to purported Koran desecration at Guantanamo Bay. People died then, many of them Muslims. But it didn’t matter. The rage is as overwhelming as it is contagious.

    Victor Davis Hanson has called this the “lunacy principle,”

  • Sya

    It’s very interesting to see how we in the Western World try to react with some understanding. Regarding the violence we’ve seen in the Moslim World in reaction to the cartoons. I’ve seen them. They portray a cartoonist that is afraid to draw Mohammed. And the worst is the one that portrays Mohammed with a fuse in his head. I kinda liked them because there’s some truth in every good joke.
    However, it seems that it was a hoax. It weren’t the cartoons themselves that caused the riots. One important Danish Iman: Ahmed Abdel Rahman Abu Laban, plays a pretty important part. He took with him to the Middle East a 40-pages thick document. Not only with the cartoons in it. But with some selfmade also. Needless to say, these cartoons were far from funny. They Portrayed Mohammed with the head of a pig. And a praying Moslem, being xxx by a dog. This really is not a joke but an attempt to try and get the moslims into a sharia against Europe.
    In Brussels Moniquet has allready promissed to deliver more detailed information on the subject.
    Read more on:
    And excuse my English. I’m Dutch.

  • kat

    Free speech does not mean swallowing leftist crap without a whimper–it means just that -speaking out. It does not mean raving, burning, killing, and rampaging. It does not mean free terrorism.

  • kat

    Perfect examples of the double standard among the artsy leftist crowd. It isn’t about art–it’s what the left deems correct and artistic. Anti-jew and anti-Christian is art, anti-muslim is blasphemy. Now you know. And I heard on the News this morning that hot cross buns are banned in some schools–might scare a muslim into a frenzy, I guess. Acting like a crazed lunatic, killing and burning, brings results.

  • Sya

    In addition (again, sorry I missed it before) to Michael Nielsen post:
    We shouldn’t let radical imams get what they want: ending the right to make a joke of one another.
    That’s my opinion.

  • Sya

    free speech in the Netherlands is restricted by law when it comes to deliberately evoke hatred. Or discrimination. That’s also illegal.
    We have had some discussions about this in the Netherlands. I favor free speech but what is happening here is evoking hatred by some radical and also in the moslim-world, unwanted moslims.
    So legislation on this issue has its purpose. The Jewisch Organisations in the Netherlands already went to court because of anti-semitic cartoon-responses. And that is exactly where these kind of cases should be handled.

  • BW

    Let’s look at an example where someone/something might have a huge amount of devoted followers… someone like.. oh, Howard Stern? Okay. If I put a cartoon in the paper that depicted Stern as a complete idiot, and his fans firebombed the newspaper’s building, would that be considered “provoking” or “inciting hatred” or be the same as “yelling fire in a crowded theater”? Of course not. Is it because the fairy-tale man is given more respect than a real man?
    How about this one?
    If I left a young child alone with a pedophile and something happened, would you say I provoked the pedophile? OF COURSE NOT. You MIGHT say I shouldn’t have done that, but you’d crucify the pedophile because he’s the one DOING THE ILLEGAL AND DISGUSTING THING.
    All of a sudden we’re afraid of doing things that criminals are using as an excuse to commit crimes.
    And BTW, yelling fire in a crowded theater is illegal because it would cause a reasonable, expected response of panic, and panic is not good in a crowded room. Firebombing a building is not a reasonable response to a cartoon, I don’t care who you are. What’s next – praising the people who blow up abortion clinics?

  • kat

    Well, then they should lock up the Danish imams for evoking hatred. If it was Jerry Falwell, leftists would piss themselves.

  • kat

    There are still some people in our media with spines and unwilling to submit to islam. Thank God.

  • Eileen

    Excellent cites, Kat. So. Several days – a week? – into it we have a grand total of four (count ’em) U.S. papers and one network – Fox News – which have shown some spine. Pitiful. No, it’s shameful. Did you know even papers in Greenland have published the cartoons?

    This article provides a great overview of the Islamonazi cartoon wars but also describes how some Danish MUSLIMS are showing spine as they respond to the radical Danish Imams who made the ME ‘tour’:

    Geez. Wouldn’t it be great to read/hear about these stories in the U.S., MSM? What’s it take, really? Isn’t falling on your sword better than getting your dhimmi heads cut off?

    Oh, and speaking of dhimmis, there’s also PBS in Dallas:

  • Franky

    Not to be too proud, but dear God I’m grateful for the education I received.

    Good night all.

  • Eileen

    Yes, Franky, you clearly show your education at every turn.

    Madrassa U?

  • Jersey Exile


    Did the Iranians solicit the cartoons in the first place? No. But are they taking advantage of the furor to grandstand now that it’s gone global? Of course. There’s no doubt that Muslim leaders have deliberately stoked the fire on this issue by adding cartoons to the original published dozen and spreading additional rumors of Western slights against Islam to boot, but conflating all of this with the nuclear showdown with Tehran benefits no one. It’s fun to mix up all of these issues and pretend there’s a larger, more sinister scheme at work, but I think you give Muslim radicals too much credit when you do so. They’re a bunch of ignorant and violent yahoos who will glom onto any issue that will make the West look bad and give them license to kill and destroy in the name of their delicate religious sensibilities.

    Please don’t confuse fortuitous coincidence with evil genius.

  • Jersey Exile

    Eileen, Kat, and all:

    I agree that the media has been spineless on the issue, but you can’t stop there. What about those ultra-liberal commies at the Department of State?

    The U.S. State Department has condemned the decision of newspapers in Denmark and elsewhere in Europe for publishing cartoon drawings depicting the prophet Muhammad, something that is offensive to Muslims. State Department press officer Janelle Hironimus told reporters, ‘Inciting religious or ethnic hatred in this manner is not acceptable. We call for tolerance and respect for all communities and for their religious beliefs and practices.’

    So are President Bush and his cabinet a bunch of dhimmis in your book now, too? But I guess selective outrage is oh-so-fashionable these days…

  • Jersey Exile

    Speaking of selective outrage, here’s free speech champion Jeff “We Are All Danes Now” Jacoby back in 1995 pronouncing a fatwa against Andres Serrano and other artists that dared mock the beliefs of the American heartland:

    Mention these examples, and NEA partisans grind their teeth. Most of the agency’s funds, they argue irritably, are not used to subsidize such gross and obnoxious “art.”

    But you’ll never hear them regret those subsidies or apologize for them. On the contrary, they defend them. They embrace them. They maintain that art is supposed to “challenge our most sacred values,” that the artist’s role is to “shatter preconceptions” and “provoke society.” Such definitions reduce the idea of art to little more than self-indulgent rudeness. It is a sign of how badly the currency of contemporary culture has been debased that so many artists and arts bureaucrats insist that debauchery and degeneracy are compatible with art – insist, even, that they are art.

    That attitude of hostility to mainstream sensibilities is entrenched within the NEA and its logrolling “peer review” panels. The NEA consistently rewards novelty over quality. Its grant recipients are often distinguished by little more than intolerance toward traditional standards and art forms. Artistry, beauty and craftsmanship are routinely rejected in favor of radical politics, victim chic and anger.

  • ray_g

    Jersey Exile: Are you seriously comparing calls to cut off an artist’s funding to calls to cut off an artist’s head?
    What he is saying is not only is the art offensive, it is bad art to boot and was only funded because, to quote him “The NEA consistently rewards novelty over quality…Artistry, beauty and craftsmanship are routinely rejected in favor of radical politics, victim chic and anger.”
    I have artist friends who agree with this. You may disagree, but it is a valid criticism to make and a reasonable starting point for debate. It is not a call for censorship.
    One more time: criticism and refusal to provide funding is NOT censorship. Censorship is when armed agents of the government take you to jail for making your art. Not when taxpayers say no to your request for public subsidy.

  • Jersey Exile


    I’m by no means equating the two, merely pointing out that Jeff Jacoby’s absolute support free speech is in fact contingent upon not offending his own religious and political sensibilities. Many people who have taken up arms on behalf of the Danes in this cartoon furor are only doing so because it suits their own agenda against “Islamofascism”.

    While we who have always believed in the sanctity of the First Amendment and freedom of expression welcome new converts to the fold, we can’t help but be suspicious when our ranks swell whenever an easy target presents itself, and find it ironic that these folks are often the first to brand us traitors or terrorist sympathizers whenever we support a cause which rankles them personally.

  • al

    to Franky!
    “Not to be too proud, but dear God I’m grateful for the education I received.“
    Wow, I bet it is Ivy League , very impressive!!! Remember that irony is a cheap way to feel yourself smart. Education is not a substitute of brains and your own ability to think. If you have something to say, do it, otherwise enjoy yourself . I see no position in your words, only irony and self-absorption. What are you thinking, if anything?
    When I was mentioning Muslim plot, that you are mocking, I meant same things that author of the Iraq the Model blog meant:
    “You know that those cartoons were published for the 1st time months ago and we here in the Middle East have tonnes of jokes about Allah, the prophets and the angels that are way more offensive, funny and obscene than those poorly-made cartoons, yet no one ever got shot for telling one of those jokes or at least we had never seen rallies and protests against those infidel joke-tellers.

    What I want to say is that I think the reactions were planned to be exaggerated this time by some Middle Eastern regimes and are not mere public reaction.
    And I think Syria and Iran have the motives to trigger such reactions in order to get away from the pressures applied by the international community on those regimes.

    However, I cannot claim that Muslim community is innocent for there have been outrageous reactions outside the range of Syria’s or Iran’s influence but again, these protests and threats are more political than religious in nature.”

    It what people “ on the ground” think. May be they less educated but I trust them. In my view all this situation has nothing to do, neither with free speech, nor with religion. It is about establishing Muslim’s exclusivity in the world. They can destroy Buddhas and burn flags and kill people by the name of God, they feel themselves entitled to publish anti-Semitic cartoons routinely with no hesitation but ,in the same time ,they are violently( I emphasize violently!!!) against anything that they uncomfortable with. Again, if you have something to share about that, be my guest, otherwise …. enjoy your education, very soon you will get a tenure in a local medrece .

  • Shady

    Most of what deserved to be said about the Mohammed cartoon controversy has already been said, along with much that deserved to be left unsaid. One relatively neglected point, however, is the striking misrepresentation (often by both sides) of what the most controversial cartoons themselves were trying to say. Cartoonists, armed only with a drawing and a half dozen words, cannot create perceptions of reality. Rather, they utilize widely shared perceptions as a starting point for reinforcing or rebutting those perceptions. I invite readers to understand the meaning of the cartoons by answering the following multiple choice question. Which is a widely shared perception of reality among non-Muslims?
    a) Mohammed was a terrorist
    b) Mohammed was a vile and foolish creature deserving of mockery and ridicule
    c) Most Muslims are terrorists
    d) Islam has been widely and increasingly used as a justification for murderous violence that poses a serious threat to global harmony
    If you answered a, b, or c, I suppose you have a right to believe the cartoons ridiculed Mohammed or stereotyped Muslims, but I also expect you have been living on a different planet from the rest of us. I believe that the vast majority of those who have seen the cartoon of a bomb-turbaned Mohammed accurately interpreted it not as mockery or ridicule but as a warning. We ignore the lit fuse at the peril of all of us – Muslim and non-Muslim alike. The cartoons are hardly the latest warning. A song, “Fear Of God”, written early in 2001, anticipated some of the events that have followed (see “No Other Prize” at Sound Samples.) and the fatwa issued against Salman Rushdie was an even earlier harbinger.

  • omer

    maybe now it is too late to leave comment but I have to write about this, first the 14 year old who shot a priest in turkey did it with a gun which is not easily accessible, a gun which is not recognizable by the metal detectors. Also, this event happened in one of the most nationalistic cities in Turkey, and this was the only event happened in the aftermath of the cartoon crisis. Now, most of the columnists and police thinks this event was done to muddy the water in the aftermath of the cartoon crisis. In Turkey, there were protests but they were very different than the ones you saw in the media. Turks always respected the other religions in this area.
    Last, i think, most of the europeans and americans are as blind and ignorant as arabs, too. Someone is using your religion and nationalism against the muslims. There are millions of muslims in the world, some terrorists are placing bombs in your city, some muslims are burning consulates, and all the muslims are being accused. Not all the muslims speak the same language, nor they have the same culture.
    It is not only the misperceptions about islam, when i talk an american about Turkey he can talk about Saracen swords, what the f.. man how many turks used saracen swords in the history, learn something about middle east you fat gameboy-playing nerd we do not have the desert architecture, we never spoke arabic, our clothes were always different than the desert clothes. (Yep generalization is caused by ignorance and upsets the opposite, sometimes causes more than sadness) A weirdo is bombing a building in the us, another weirdo is issuing death sentences(fatwas) than all the muslim world is being responsible for this. I am muslim, and our religion requires us to respect all the other religions(not only the trio of islam,christianity,judaism), but i want to see this respect to my religion, too. A muslim’s atrocity can not be the reason or excuse for these cartoons. I won’t even talk about the freedom of press(I never believed the absolute freedom, it is not hard to see why that is impossible, one of the many examples which proves it:

  • al

    to omer;

    I will live unanswered all rude and offensive words you said about us westerners and about Arabs. Let us consider these words as a sign of your “ not ignorance” your enlightened superiority. What I want to explore is that passage:

    “A weirdo is bombing a building in the us, another weirdo is issuing death sentences(fatwas) than all the muslim world is being responsible for this. A muslim’s atrocity can not be the reason or excuse for these cartoons.”

    Really ?
    Why not?
    Is any examples off Muslims disassociating themselves form terrorism? There are no examples of protests against terrorism in the Muslim world
    Cartoons were targeting Muslim religion FOR REASON not frivolously . and reason be is JIHAD itself as a GLOBAL TERRORISM WITH RELIGIOUS JUSTIFICATION. As long as you brought religion in terrorism your religion no longer immune from anything. I think it is fair game to target religion that used as a justification for mass murder.
    Newspaper just REFLECTED DAILY REALITY of JIHAD , you must hold responsible those who created REALITY not those who REFLECTED IT. Instead you are mad on the MIRROR.
    If your religion is high jacked it is YOUR responsibility to stop those who high jacked religion. You ,instead of trying to shut –up those who reflecting reality , want us to pretend that JIHAD is not happening because in your holly books written something else? I think that Danish newspaper and west is just more easy goal for you than your own terrorism ! any way I will insist that as long as JIHAD is around, it is fair game to do religious cartoons. Those cartoons are targeting religion because that religion allowed to be used as an alibi for terror . That is our way of NON VIOLENT RESPONSE on violent terrorism. You want to stop it? Stop JIHAD
    I think it is a double standard when you offended by cartoons and in the same time not offended by terror created by the name of your religion. Normally Muslims would violently protest around the world not against cartoons but against terror by other Muslims.
    what would you say?

    omer wrote;
    “but i want to see this respect to my religion, too.”

    You cannot force people to respect anything . Your friends are telling “Respect it , or you will be beheaded”! Respect must be earned , not extorted. And, one more, time again, are you seriously saying that in Muslim countries other religions and cultures are respected? Tell me what do you think about numerous anti Semitic, anti American and anti Christian cartoons and actions that routinely through decades are taking place in the Muslim countries! Burning flags ! Tell me something about that.
    Your religion is Islam ours is a FREE SPEECH. You cannot demand respect of your rules with no respect to ours.

    omer wrote;
    “I am muslim, and our religion requires us to respect all the other religions(not only the trio of islam,christianity,judaism),”

    Really ?
    what about other religions? What about Buddhism for example? You are not ignorant like we are , are you ready to respect something beyond your imam told you to respect? What about demolished Buddha’s in Afghanistan?

    You respect Judaism?
    Really ?
    anti-Semitic cartoons routinely published all over the middle east , may not in Turkey but I was Turkey at least once against that? You are talking about respect. How many times you burned American flag? Or you are looking for respect only for your self?
    What about Theo Van Gogh killed by Muslim extremist? Is any Muslim protested any of those actions? No!!!

    “There are millions of muslims in the world, some terrorists are placing bombs in your city, some muslims are burning consulates, and all the muslims are being accused. Not all the muslims speak the same language, nor they have the same culture.”

    nobody said that all Muslims are terrorists.
    What I am saying is that all terrorists who threatening world globally are Muslims.
    It is interesting when it is convenient to you guys all over you pan Muslim solidarity. Only religion based interstate entity is Muslim ( Islam conference Association of 56 Islamic states which according to its mission promoting Muslim solidarity in economic, social, and political affairs ) There is no Christian countries organization no Buddhists states organization, only Islamic. May be you are not supporting terrorism but you not against it either, meaning you are supporting it morally

    “In Turkey, there were protests but they were very different than the ones you saw in the media. Turks always respected the other religions in this area.”
    Talking about ignorance ,can you tell us about how In Turkey respected Armenian Christians from 1890 to 1922?

    I won’t even talk about the freedom of press(I never believed the absolute freedom, it is not hard to see why that is impossible, one of the many examples which proves it:
    Why not? This conflict what you are refereeing to will be resolve in court not on the streets and nobody threatening to behead nobody.

    “when i talk an american about Turkey he can talk about Saracen swords, what the f.. man how many turks used saracen swords in the history, learn something about middle east you fat gameboy-playing nerd we do not have the desert architecture, we never spoke arabic,”
    what do you know about history of Texas? What do you know about history of Cherokee people? What do you know about revolutionary war? I am sure not too much , why Americans should know what swards did you use ? Are you kidding?