November 20, 2009
An Analysis Of the Danish Cartoon Controversy
Flemming Rose’s decision to run twelve cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed triggered an international controversy. In defending his decision, Rose relies on two arguments: (1) the cartoons were a necessary response to a growing atmosphere of self-censorship imposed by a totalitarian radical Islam and (2) the cartoons-far from being insulting-were actually a way to include Danish Muslims into a national “tradition of satire.” On examination both arguments are problematic. The fear of totalitarian censorship-if even it applies to Muslims-fits poorly with an American free speech discourse that counsels patience, not action in the face of totalitarian threats. Rose’s reference to a “tradition of satire” is rooted in the Danish practices of social informality (hygge) and teasing, But this argument is undercut by Rose’s own anti-immigrant rhetoric as well as the larger anti-immigrant mood in Denmark and Europe.
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November 20, 2009 | Permalink
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