Friday, February 10, 2006

If a cartoon falls in the forest, does anybody laugh?

I had decided to do no blogging on the subject of Those Cartoons, partly because it has all been said and partly because I am in not just two but five or six minds about the whole thing. Freedom of speech good. Bomb-throwing bad. Responsible and intelligent behaviour doubleplusgood.

So I was glad to see that Garry Trudeau, one of the world's greatest cartoonists, is currently having his say on the subject here, where he articulates what is more or less my position much better than I ever could.

From this interview, which includes a link to Trudeau's cartoons on the subject of the Rushdie fatwa in 1989, here are some highlights:

"The Danish editor who started all this actually recruited cartoonists to draw offensive cartoons (some of those he invited declined). And why did he do it? To demonstrate that in a Western liberal society he could. Well, we already knew that. Some victory for freedom of expression. An editor who deliberately sets out to provoke or hurt people because he's worried about "self-censorship" is not an editor I'd care to work for. ...

Just because a society has almost unlimited freedom of expression doesn't mean we should ever stop thinking about its consequences in the real world."


genevieve said...

Thanks for the link, PC.
Can't help remarking on how times have changed, and wondering why.

Four years ago I sat with another parent in a class on censorship at uni where we were openly mocked because we had chosen to filter our computers for our children.
Maybe it's about time we considered 'hurt' and 'right to speak' as belonging somewhere in the same sentence, not on different sides of a spectrum.

plumpes Denken said...

Robert Fisk also very effectively deflates some of the rhetoric behind those engaging in a clash of civilisations.