A French magazine called Charlie Hebdo was set to publish an issue with a cartoon Mohammed on the cover and their offices were firebombed.
Time magazine’s Paris bureau chief Bruce Crumley then wrote a disappointing piece full of vitriol aimed not at whoever the firebomber might be but at the publisher.
Although the current title is “Firebombed French Paper Is No Free Speech Martyr” judging from the URL the original title was “Firebombed French Paper A Victim Of Islamists Or Its Own Obnoxious Islamophobia” He opens with :
Okay, so can we finally stop with the idiotic, divisive, and destructive efforts by “majority sections” of Western nations to bait Muslim members with petulant, futile demonstrations that “they” aren’t going to tell “us” what can and can’t be done in free societies?
Probably when some muslims stop demanding that everyone must follow their religious rules regardless of everyone else’s chosen religion and when they understand that sticks and stones may break their bones but cartoons are no reason to firebomb.
Honestly, transgressivism tends to become boring without the reaction. (want to test my claim? Watch these probably NSFW videos and try to deny that after perhaps a moment of shock they didn’t become tedious, boring and even predictable.)
But do you still think the price you paid for printing an offensive, shameful, and singularly humor-deficient parody on the logic of “because we can” was so worthwhile?
He really doesn’t understand free speech. If violence becomes what sets the limits for free speech then other people will abandon civility and adopt violence to get their way.
Don’t publish a cartoon of Mohammed or don’t show Mohammed on South Park may not seem like too much of a loss but book burning totalitarians tend to be greedy and they have no intention of recognizing reciprocal rules.
The basis for banning depictions of Mohammed more expansive than one might expect. The prohibition of depicting Mohammed is based on the koran’s exhortation against idolatry. The worry is that if people see a cartoon prophet on a magazine or an uncensored episode of South Park then hundreds of millions of muslims throughout the world will toss away their Korans and start worshiping the magazine with the cartoon Mohammed. Or pray five times a day to an image of a cartoon Santa Claus in a bear suit pretending to be Mohammed.
Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus are, like Mohammed, prophets in islam so, while it isn’t mentioned much, they too are off limits.
For some idolatry isn’t allowed even in a religion that isn’t related to Abrahamic traditions, like Buddha statues in Afghanistan that were blown up by the Taliban. Having a different religion that is permissive of images is no excuse. Even being a godless infidel is no excuse.
The hadiths forbids the drawing people or animals (“All the painters who make pictures would be in the fire of Hell. The soul will be breathed in every picture prepared by him and it shall punish him in the Hell, and he (Ibn ‘Abbas) said: If you have to do it at all, then paint the pictures of trees and lifeless things“). Trees that look like people might be questionable.
That’s a lot of things that need censored; I’m not surprised that some book burning totalitarians decided to start censorship campaign with a narrower focus.
Back to Time’s Paris bureau chief Bruce Crumley:
But that seems more self-indulgent and willfully injurious when it amounts to defending the right to scream “fire” in an increasingly over-heated theater
btw, shouting fire in a crowded theater is okay if there is a fire. But it seems the proper analogy would be to defending someone writing a movie and another person objecting to the characterization.
Don’t like it? Don’t buy it. See, avoiding barbarism isn’t that hard.
Although, he mentions that violence is unacceptable his analogizing cartoons to falsely shouting fire in a theater (speech that can be restricted) implies that he thinks Charlie should be restricted. Some implied excuses for censorship in the article:
…idiotic, divisive, and destructive efforts by “majority sections” of Western nations to bait Muslim members
Who decides what is baiting? Can “minority sections” publish offensive things?
… it published another stupid and totally unnecessary edition mocking Islam.
Has he seen youtube? The stupid and totally unnecessary proliferates.
…But do you still think the price you paid for printing an offensive, shameful, and singularly humor-deficient parody on the logic of “because we can” was so worthwhile?
ban the unfunny!
Apart from unconvincing claims of exercising free speech in Western nations where that right no longer needs to be proved, it’s unclear what the objectives of the caricatures were other than to offend Muslims—and provoke hysteria among extremists. After it’s 2007 reprinting of those, Charlie Hebdo was acquitted by a French court on inciting racial hatred charges lodged by French Islamic groups over those and other caricatures
Exercising of the right of free speech “no longer needs to be proved” and the very next sentence notes that they had been charged with a crime for publishing a cartoon. It is amazing that someone would write that “exercising free speech … no longer needs to be proved” in an article about a publisher getting firebombed apparently because they were trying to exercise their right to free speech.
One nice thing about free speech that many people forget is that speech you don’t like can make for a great idiot detector. Sure, you may find something offensive but you can use that experience to mark that person as an idiot. For example, I now know that Time magazine’s Paris bureau chief Bruce Crumley is an idiot. Thanks Free Speech!
Alternate headline : Time magazine’s Paris bureau chief Bruce Crumley doesn’t know how to use quotation marks
Crumley writes :
As part of its gag, the paper had re-named itself “Sharia Hebdo”.
Judging from the photo it appears that it renamed itself “Charia Hedbo”
November 4, 2011, 7:26 pm at 7:26 pm
re: reciprocal rules
If everyone must follow the religious rules of others then I intend to found a new religion loosely based Eastern philosophy. It involves statues of a portly, smiling guy and requires all women to go completely without clothes (exceptions to be made on a case by case basis). I call the new religion Nuddhism : Nirvana through Naked Knockers.
November 6, 2011, 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm
I for one support your outstanding philosophical endeavor.
Up with miniskirts!
November 4, 2011, 7:54 pm at 7:54 pm
Is Bruce a member, honorary or otherwise, of the Australian Press Council? He’d fit very comfortably next to Julian Disney.
November 8, 2011, 4:36 pm at 4:36 pm
I’m surprised a call for “a special low-fee membership for small web-based publishers and bloggers” and the potential of chilling fines hasn’t gotten more attention.
November 5, 2011, 4:22 pm at 4:22 pm
And until a few hundred years ago, Muslims themselves made beautiful depictions of Mohammed.
Bruce’s reasoning is analogous to telling a battered wife who dare not speak lest her husband flare up again and spill some more of her claret to indeed shut up and make a sandwich.
November 5, 2011, 6:51 pm at 6:51 pm
So the fellowship of the perpetually offended, get offended by a caricature of a middle aged paedophile goatherd.