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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Local media

I'm sorry, but the Star Tribune is wrong: at this point, the cartoons are the story, and not publishing them is essentially ignoring a news story.

I'm going to echo a lot of people's comments. First, the cartoons are crude and insulting, no doubt about it. However, in the free societies that exist in the U.S. and Europe, people have the right to express their crude and insulting ideas. But keep in mind the impact. Just like with flag burning or something like Piss Christ, you aren't impressing anybody, certainly not me.

On the other hand, burning down embassies and killing people? Reactions are completely out of line. I am equally disdainful of all fundamentalist religious types, regardless of creed: this is why. Just as the makers of these cartoons aren't impressing me, those who are reacting with violence aren't either. What is happening is completely out of proportion given the fact that when you get down to it, these are some cartoons. That's it.

As an anti-Iraq war reality-based liberal, I'm disrespected pretty much on a daily basis by this administration and many members of the media. However, I haven't decided to burn down Fox News or kill anybody because of it. That's not how the world works, and the Muslim community is allowing its most extreme members to tarnish everybody, just like when Pat Robertson opens his mouth.

This incident should also give pause to all those neocons who envision democracy spreading far and wide in the Middle East: liberal secular democracies are not likely to spring up in places where the vast majority of people think that it is the government's job to censor blasphemous things. This certainly isn't a religious or cultural issue; the same reason applies to former Soviet states, few of which can be considered democratic. I guess Fareed Zakaria has it right when he says that liberalization needs to come first, democracy later.

3 Comments:

At 1:31 PM, February 08, 2006, Anonymous Victoria said...

I'm interested in the back story of the protests. As a community organizer myself, I can see the work of activist organizers in the behavior of the protesters. For example, they are singularly focused on the Danish newspaper that originally published the cartoons (and, by extension, the Danish government... and apparently the Norwegian government, which has taken a stand with the Danes). That's not accidental. The cartoons have now been published (even before the protests began) in hundreds of newspapers in dozens of countries across the world. An organic demonstration would not naturally focus on just one.

Anyway. Just want to know more.

 
At 9:55 AM, February 09, 2006, Anonymous Victoria said...

As I said yesterday:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/08/AR2006020802293.html?referrer=email

 
At 10:27 AM, February 09, 2006, Anonymous Victoria said...

and more

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/09/international/middleeast/09cartoon.html?th&emc=th

 

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