Yale's Preemptive Surrender

This is pathetic. From The New York Times:

So Yale University and Yale University Press (YUP) consulted two dozen authorities, including diplomats and experts on Islam and counterterrorism, and the recommendation was unanimous: The book, “The Cartoons That Shook the World,” should not include the 12 Danish drawings that originally appeared in September 2005. What’s more, they suggested that the Yale press also refrain from publishing any other illustrations of the prophet that were to be included, specifically, a drawing for a children’s book; an Ottoman print; and a sketch by the 19th-century artist Gustave Doré of Muhammad being tormented in Hell, an episode from Dante’s “Inferno” that has been depicted by Botticelli, Blake, Rodin and Dalí.

YUP director John Donatich admitted that he was caving to threats of violence that he presumes will follow:

He noted that he had been involved in publishing other controversial books — like “The King Never Smiles” by Paul M. Handley, a recent unauthorized biography of Thailand’s current monarch — and “I’ve never blinked.” But, he said, “when it came between that and blood on my hands, there was no question.”

Reza Aslan, a religion scholar and the author of “No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam,” is a fan of the book but decided to withdraw his supportive blurb that was to appear in the book after Yale University Press dropped the pictures. The book is “a definitive account of the entire controversy,” he said, “but to not include the actual cartoons is to me, frankly, idiotic.”

Good for Aslan. What makes this really enraging is that Yale is one of the best academic presses out there, having published, for instance, the Annals of Communism Series, a diverse group of books that mined the (briefly opened) archives of the Soviet Union and effectively rewrote the history of the Spanish Civil War and the myth of a Leninist revolution betrayed by Stalinism. Unlike many academic publishers, there is no ideological conformity at YUP and former editorial director Jonathan Brent went out of his way, it would seem, to get a range of interesting perspectives outside of the typical race-class-gender triumvirate.

I interviewed Jyllands-Posten culture editor and Mohammad cartoon publisher Flemming Rose back in 2007.

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  • C. S. Lewis||

    Not the *real* Aslan.

  • Paul Simon||

    "You can count on violence if any illustration of the prophet is published."

    I know they'd never match my sweet imagination.

  • ||

    "What's more, they suggested that the Yale press also refrain from publishing any other illustrations of the prophet"

    Damn! I was working on a Mohammad as the Joker poster with the caption "Terrorism".

  • JB||

    I suggest they take their cowardice to France and get out. They can take their socialism with them as well.

  • ||

    This reminds me of the way Chamberlain acted at Munich. Not that I'm comparing Muslims to Nazis--I'm not--but bending the knee to people attempting to repress you or others is stupid. And it encourages more of the same.

    I can understand not wanting to offend people, but this isn't the place to do that. Are they avoiding offending anyone else?

  • hmm||

    "when it came between that and blood on my hands, there was no question."

    coward

  • Elemenope||

    coward

    History is littered with the bloody hands of the brave.

  • ||

    For a university that places moral relativism and multiculturalism as the two highest academic virtues, I wonder if Yale would have had any compunctions whatsoever at publishing a photograph of Piss Christ in a book condemning the religious right. I know which way I would bet!

    Shame on Yale.

  • ||

    jesus christ muslims, can't you guys take a fuckin joke?

    Mohammed walks into a bar and the bartender asks "Why the long face?"

    (insert punchline here)

  • ||

    The amount of violence within the US associated with printing images of Mohammed is basically nil, so the "blood on his hands" statement is kind of ridiculous. Europe is a little different, but really, we're talking about YUP's reputation weighed against so-far-nonexistent threats.

    He made the wrong choice.

  • ||

    Speaking of cowardice, why doesn't Reason link to the cartoons themselves?

    Why is anyone surprised. Yale and Princeton are the biggest pussies in the pussiest college league, the ivy.

  • Elemenope||

    He made the wrong choice.

    I tend to agree.

    On the other hand, if a person is presented with a choice between publishing truth and preserving life, life wins almost every time. You can always not publish and still either publish later or someone else may, but deaths are fairly permanent. (There are obviously exceptions to this, such as revelations of genocide, before y'all gang bang this comment.)

    The problem here is, as you pointed out, he has probably miscalculated the probability of domestic violence as a result of publication, and so as a practical matter he probably erred. I for one however will never blithely call a person faced with that choice a "coward" for choosing the safe course with what may well be other people's lives.

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    He noted that he had been involved in publishing other controversial books - like "The King Never Smiles" by Paul M. Handley, a recent unauthorized biography of Thailand's current monarch - and "I've never blinked."

    This man has never had his ass kicked by a Thai boxer.

  • ||

    "when it came between that and blood on my hands, there was no question."

    You guys are misinterpreting him, this isn't cowardice. He was saying that if they published the cartoons, and some crazy group threatened him for it, he wouldn't be able to stop himself from ripping off his cardigan, grabbing a bunch of his Ivy League pals and a truckload of machine guns and ammo, painting themselves in camo, and going on a mission to find the threateners and kill them and their families in as slow a manner as possible.

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    I for one however will never blithely call a person faced with that choice a "coward" for choosing the safe course with what may well be other people's lives.

    The choice is not his to make. You're responsible to your readers, not for them. And as your comment about the absence of violence in the U.S. indicates, his assumption here is an insult to American Muslims.

  • Elemenope||

    You guys are misinterpreting him, this isn't cowardice. He was saying that if they published the cartoons, and some crazy group threatened him for it, he wouldn't be able to stop himself from ripping off his cardigan, grabbing a bunch of his Ivy League pals and a truckload of machine guns and ammo, painting themselves in camo, and going on a mission to find the threateners and kill them and their families in as slow a manner as possible.

    Fucking LOL.

  • ||

    Tulpa must be right. They don't call it Skull and Bones for nothing!

  • ||

    Speaking of cowardice, why doesn't Reason link to the cartoons themselves?

    Again?

    Since there was no violence to speak of in the US, this has to stand as some kind of uber-cowardice.

    I find it fascinating, as well, that he apparently has no concept that any blood would be on the hands of those who actually commit the violence. Soft bigotry on display.

    What a disgusting display. Makes me glad to be a Harvard man. We've been looking down our noses at those Yalie punks for centuries. With good reason, it appears.

  • hmm||

    He's probably more fear full of pissing off large contributors rather than people dying.

  • Elemenope||

    The choice is not his to make. You're responsible to your readers, not for them. And as your comment about the absence of violence in the U.S. indicates, his assumption here is an insult to American Muslims.

    Let me ask you, if you were the guy to make the decision and you made it the other way, and it turns out you're the unlucky guy to prove the prevailing sentiment wrong (that violence would not, in fact come to the domestic U.S. over this issue), how unbelievably crappy would you feel?

  • hmm||

    fearful

  • EJM||

    Speaking of cowardice, why doesn't Reason link to the cartoons themselves?

    Apparently, you didn't follow the links (i.e., see, at the very least, this Volokh Conspiracy post, which is linked from Moynihan's interview with Flemming Rose, which is linked from this very post).

  • ||

    The Heckler's Veto strikes again! That Heckler, he's a powerful dude.

  • ||

    If you're going to kill someone because of a picture, is it likely that you weren't going to kill someone, anyway?

  • PR||

    They may not mean to, but what they are actually saying is that in their minds, muslims are a bunch of homicidal maniacs too tarded to have a debate with.

  • Elemenope||

    I find it fascinating, as well, that he apparently has no concept that any blood would be on the hands of those who actually commit the violence. Soft bigotry on display.

    I really fucking doubt that. It's just that people generally care more about their own possible culpability than the proximate other who happens to do the deed. For example, I doubt seriously that he would hesitate to call such a person a murderer if they managed to kill someone. Why on Earth do you think otherwise?

  • Urkobold™||

    THIS PHOTO OFFENDS MUSLIMS.

    DON'T WORRY, IT'S SAFE FOR WORK. ASSUMING YOU DON'T WORK IN SAUDI ARABIA.

  • Elemenope||

    They may not mean to, but what they are actually saying is that in their minds, muslims are a bunch of homicidal maniacs too tarded to have a debate with.

    Cue Europe. This is the problem, over and over again. On the one hand, there in fact are many Muslims with whom a reasonable debate could be had. On the other, consistently it has been shown that the "fringe" willing to threaten and/or perpetrate violence is more firmly rooted in Western Islamic communities than in, say, the average Western Christian community. One can spin many theories as to why that is so, but the fact remains, for the time being, a fact.

    One ignores facts at one's own peril.

  • ||

    I prefer the disclaimer "safe for work, if you work for Extreme Associates".

  • ||

    What a disgusting display. Makes me glad to be a Harvard man. We've been looking down our noses at those Yalie punks for centuries. With good reason, it appears.



    Obama and Larry Summers are both from Harvard. And I don't recall any Harvard subsidiaries publishing the cartoons, either.

  • ||

    Let me ask you, if you were the guy to make the decision and you made it the other way, and it turns out you're the unlucky guy to prove the prevailing sentiment wrong (that violence would not, in fact come to the domestic U.S. over this issue), how unbelievably crappy would you feel?

    I wouldn't feel crappy at all, because I didn't do anything wrong.

    I would feel really, really pissed that some medieval barbarians were using my good works as an excuse to attack people, though.

    El, you need to be reminded of the First Iron Law:

    1. You get more of what you reward and less of what you punish.

    By rewarding people who threaten and commit violence by acceding to their demands, you guarantee more demands, more threats, and more violence. In my mind, he's more culpable for the bad results of giving these barbarians what they want, than he would be any violence committed after he did the right thing.

  • Robert||

    bending the knee to people attempting to repress you or others is stupid


    Not always. Good guys need to be more calculating. What's the cost in this case to the good guys? Just withholding a few art objects from republication. Look how much the bad guys had to do for that: they had to threaten to kill people! Which means that once in a while to make that threat good they have to actually kill someone. Looks like the bad guys have to do a lot of heavy lifting while the good guys just save themselves a tiny bit of work. It also means the bad guys get themselves very upset over a trivial thing, while the good guys get to play it cool. I'd much rather be the good guy in this situation, wouldn't you?

  • ||

    Obama and Larry Summers are both from Harvard.

    And which recent President was from Yale? Let me think. . . . ;-)

  • Elemenope||

    The first iron law is nice and all (though I tend to think it not so much a law, and certainly not made of iron; see statistics on capital punishment and murder rates, for example), but it is one thing in the abstract to say such things, and quite another to be the guy in the moment having to actually be "brave" with other people' lives so that the abstract principle can be served.

    Not everyone is so willing to be coldly cavalier, and should not as it comes generally be castigated for that. To use an apropos pop culture reference, it is one thing to be the guy calling for the other boat to get blown up to save yourself, and quite another to be the guy to turn the switch.

  • ||

    To use an apropos pop culture reference, it is one thing to be the guy calling for the other boat to get blown up to save yourself, and quite another to be the guy to turn the switch.

    That's not apropos. Publishing a cartoon that may possibly result in other people killing other people is not remotely comparable to flipping a switch that kills people automatically.

    Not to mention that speaking the truth and saving your own skin are vastly different motivations.

  • ||

    Also, in the movie you're referencing, NOT flipping the switch was an act of defiance in the face of evil that risked other people's lives as well as your own, just as publishing the cartoons is in this case. So it actually proves the opposite to the extent it's comparable at all.

  • ||

    Elemenope-

    Why the "revelations of genocide" exception? I understand if the genocide is ongoing. Otherwise, the exception loses its rationale.

  • ||

    Maybe people should start threatening them with violence for NOT publishing the cartoons.

  • ||

    Way back when I was getting ready to contract with Uncle Sam a dude on the selection committee asked me if I was ready to die for my country. I told him I had no interest whatsoever in dying but that I was willing to do things that might result in my death. I would feel the same about publishing these cartoons. I would not want to die for them, but I would be willing to publish them because it is the right thing to do and the risk is tolerable. Any violence committed against others would have been on the hands of the perpetrators and no one else.

  • ||

    Genocide is a popular crime for lefties to hate on, because it makes Stalin's and Mao's policies of mass murder look less evil compared to Hitler's. In my opinion, if you kill 20 million people, you're equally evil regardless of whether they were selected on the basis of race, ethnicity, or class, or if you just do it randomly. But that's probably just because I'm one of them libertarian nylonists.

  • Elemenope||

    Why the "revelations of genocide" exception? I understand if the genocide is ongoing. Otherwise, the exception loses its rationale.

    Well, that was sort of where I was going, but the general point was that exceptions would have to be extreme in some way, such that the revealed truth outweighs *significantly* the risk of death. Publishing already-published cartoons does not reach anywhere close to that sort of bar.

    Genocide is a popular crime for lefties to hate on, because it makes Stalin's and Mao's policies of mass murder look less evil compared to Hitler's. In my opinion, if you kill 20 million people, you're equally evil regardless of whether they were selected on the basis of race, ethnicity, or class, or if you just do it randomly. But that's probably just because I'm one of them libertarian nylonists.

    Um, every teacher/professor I've ever had who has commented on Stalin/Mao/Pot called what they did genocide without any hedging whatsoever. It is extremely likely that many of them were liberals.

  • ||

    When the Danish cartoons of Muhammad were causing publishers in Europe to get killed, Comedy Central ran a South Park episode that showed him but they completely blocked out the character as Matt and Trey had created him.

    My friends and I all e-mailed Comedy Central to criticize them for blocking the image, capitulating to the Muslims who would potentially do them harm. We each got e-mails back from the network, written in response to our actual statements, so we know they weren't canned. The execs that wrote back to us stated that they agree with our sentiments regarding free speech and letting terrorists win, etc but that they were not willing to sacrifice the safety of the non-decision making employees at their offices. I couldn't disagree with that.

  • ||

    Tulpa, you are right, mass murderers are mass murderers, be they Lenin or Lincoln.

  • Elemenope||

    That's not apropos.

    No, it is actually exactly apropos to the point I was making, which is that it is easy for you or I, not being in the situation, to opine with relative abandon about what the right thing to do really was, and it is quite another to be making the decision oneself. Lots of people talk a good game until the moment of truth, especially, in my experience, the ones that easily throw around words like "coward".

  • No Name Guy||

    John Donatich = chicken shit.

    You sir are a fucking coward.

    If this pussy was in charge at Bastogne, it would have been, "when can we surrender", instead of 'Nuts'. If he'd been in charge of the 20th Maine or the 1st Minnesota at Gettysburg, the Union would have lost the battle. If he'd be flying with Torpedo 8 at Midway - he would have turned tail and ran, leaving the fighters up high to swat down the SBD's the followed. If he were down south in the 60's, he would have been a 'yes massa' kind of guy, instead of standing up to the dogs and fire hoses and beatings and lynchings. Whimp.

  • perilisk||

    His reasoning is that he's partly responsible if he publishes this, and violent extremists do something extremely violent.

    However, that also means he's partially responsible if violent extremists are emboldened by his actions to make death threats against other persons and institutions to suppress political speech. Hopefully people will remember to tell him he has... something... on his hands. Shackles?

  • ||

    "it is [EXTREMELY LIKELY] that many of them were liberals."

  • Elemenope||

    If this pussy was in charge at Bastogne, it would have been, "when can we surrender", instead of 'Nuts'. If he'd been in charge of the 20th Maine or the 1st Minnesota at Gettysburg, the Union would have lost the battle. If he'd be flying with Torpedo 8 at Midway - he would have turned tail and ran, leaving the fighters up high to swat down the SBD's the followed. If he were down south in the 60's, he would have been a 'yes massa' kind of guy, instead of standing up to the dogs and fire hoses and beatings and lynchings.

    Yes, wow, what a good point. Running a publishing company is exactly comparable to warfare. Especially that part where all the employees, even the ones not making the decision, are willing to die for the commander's publisher's orders.

    That's exactly how it is.

  • ||

    what really gets me about this is the subject matter of the book is the motherfucking cartoons, how do you write a whole book about the cartoons that shook the world and not print them?
    IIRC isn't there a canadian feller who's in trouble with the provincial human rights council for re-printing these cartoons?
    If you really wanted to defeat such a radical bunch of people, wouldn't making them look like the assholes that they are help prove the point?
    we need some sort of exponential deterence factor for over-reactors of all sorts. If you're gonna riot in the street over benign shit like this, you're really gonna be pissed after our next issue.

  • ||

    Um, every teacher/professor I've ever had who has commented on Stalin/Mao/Pot called what they did genocide without any hedging whatsoever.

    Well they were wrong. Those guys' victims were not disproportionately members of racial or ethnic minorities, so they're not guilty of genocide (unless you define any megamurder as genocide, which makes the word meaningless).

  • ||

    Elemenope,

    I know the point you're making, but your choice of analogy was terrible, as it was the truly cowardly decision (blowing up the other ship) that people couldn't bring themselves to do.

    In any case, in regard to your point, boo fucking hoo. It's a lot easier for a guy in a sports bar to yell at the pitcher to "just throw strikes" to Albert Pujols with the bases loaded, than it is for that pitcher to do it. But the pitcher is getting paid big money and getting all the perks and prestige of being a pro baseball player, so he needs to do it or find another job.

    Likewise, if you want to be a big name academic publisher with a rep for publishing controversial political works, you're going to have to exhibit more courage in your work than the average joe does. If Donatich doesn't want blood on his hands maybe he should get a job writing Hallmark cards.

  • ||

    Tulpa, its not as if the word has a single, unified and accepted meaning.

  • Elemenope||

    I know the point you're making, but your choice of analogy was terrible, as it was the truly cowardly decision (blowing up the other ship) that people couldn't bring themselves to do.

    Fair enough.

    In any case, in regard to your point, boo fucking hoo. It's a lot easier for a guy in a sports bar to yell at the pitcher to "just throw strikes" to Albert Pujols with the bases loaded, than it is for that pitcher to do it. But the pitcher is getting paid big money and getting all the perks and prestige of being a pro baseball player, so he needs to do it or find another job.

    I think the Comedy Central execs quoted above put it best. Sure, the execs are well-paid, but if what they do has a real capacity to injure/kill Otto the Janitor or Janice the Temp, it is probably unethical to do.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    What good is having a religion if you can't force everyone - believer and non-believer alike - to abide by its tenants?

    And you know, Family Guy always works me into a rage but they keep airing those things.

  • Elemenope||

    Also, as a parenthetical, they are paid to make the big decisions, but nothing in that means therefore that they will make the decisions in a way you approve of. After all, they're the ones being paid, not you.

  • ||

    When the Danish cartoons of Muhammad were causing publishers in Europe to get killed, Comedy Central ran a South Park episode that showed him but they completely blocked out the character as Matt and Trey had created him.

    Hey Nick, I'm pretty sure that no one was killed in Europe because of the cartoons.

  • Elemenope||

    Well they were wrong. Those guys' victims were not disproportionately members of racial or ethnic minorities, so they're not guilty of genocide (unless you define any megamurder as genocide, which makes the word meaningless).

    It is not required for them to be in the minority in order to qualify.

    Via Wiki:

    The 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Article 2: genocide is defined as "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."

    I do see "national" in there. I *don't* see "minority" in there. Stalin/Mao/Pot's crimes sure seem to qualify under the article.

  • ||

    Some folks assert that genocide means mass killing and/or destruction of a distinct racial group only. Others claim that genocide means the mass killing and/or destruction of distinct racial or ethnic groups. Still others would add national origin and religion. Yet many others would also add political and economic groups.


    Moreover, like it or not, the meaning of the word,as governed by popular usage and understanding, continues to drift towards, and morph into, "mega mass murder."

  • ||

    committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group

    Stalin was not trying to exterminate the Russian people, and Mao was not trying to exterminate the Chinese. They were not killing people because of their ethnicity. So, no.

  • ||

    Elemenope-

    The UN Convention definition excludes cultural, economic and political groups. Wonder why that was? Would those same liberal profs even know of Stalin's connection thereto?

  • ||

    Also, as a parenthetical, they are paid to make the big decisions, but nothing in that means therefore that they will make the decisions in a way you approve of. After all, they're the ones being paid, not you.

    True. But I have the right to criticize them and call them names for making the wrong decisions!

  • Libertarian||

    Mmmmmmmmm, I don't think a link to the cartoons is very gutsy. Anyone can link to something on another site. I wanna see an illustration or two right here at reason.com

  • Elemenope||

    People belong to an identifiable group (e.g. kulaks, non-communists, or what-have-you), and another guy comes along and kills people for teh one reason that they belong to this identifiable group.

    Genocide.

    In any event, any liberal affection or infatuation with the use of the word 'genocide' is very unlikely to be motivated by a desire to cover up the crimes of despotic regimes. That might *possibly* have been true of a *few*, like, forty years ago. Not today.

  • Elemenope||

    The UN Convention definition excludes cultural, economic and political groups. Wonder why that was? Would those same liberal profs even know of Stalin's connection thereto?

    The UN Convention definition is imperfect, but my point is even under its structures it's not exactly a stretch to cover what Stalin/Mao/Pot did, politically inserted exceptions notwithstanding.

  • Elemenope||

    True. But I have the right to criticize them and call them names for making the wrong decisions!

    The right, certainly. That does not guarantee the quality of your criticism, or any correspondence it may aspire to have with moral truth. Nor for that matter, does my criticism of yours.

    Isn't that part of the very point of having these arguments? ;)

  • ||

    The UN Convention definition excludes cultural, economic and political groups. Wonder why that was?

    Probably because the word comes from the Latin gens, which refers to an ethnic or racial group. This is the true meaning.

  • anonymous||

    "I do see "national" in there. I *don't* see "minority" in there. Stalin/Mao/Pot's crimes sure seem to qualify under the article."

    In the same sense that generic murder does, since after all you are destroying part of a national group. A very, very tiny part.

    But I think common sense indicates that genocide is different from mass murder in that it is intended as an assault on a genus (tribe/ethnicity/nation); the impact on individual humans is just a side effect. I don't think Stalin was trying to purge his land of the hated, bloodsucking Russians, and in distinguishing genocide from mass murder, intent is everything.

    Strictly speaking, if you break the group as a functional cultural entity, the fact that individuals survive is irrelevant -- the fact that descendants of Native Americans exist doesn't negate the fact that the native cultures were mortally wounded. It was a much more successful genocide than that of the Nazis. Go USA!

  • ||

    People belong to an identifiable group (e.g. kulaks, non-communists, or what-have-you), and another guy comes along and kills people for teh one reason that they belong to this identifiable group.

    Genocide.



    But that doesn't fit the UN definition you posted. You can't just unilaterally redefine words to mean whatever you want.

    The term was coined because destroying an entire ethnic group is an irreversible thing. Economic theories, political or religious beliefs can be transferred to groups that have not been slaughtered. But once an ethnic group is gone, it's gone. So there is a fundamental difference between that and political mass murder (though I think any mass murder is just as bad).

  • EJM||

    The UN Convention definition is imperfect, but my point is even under its structures it's not exactly a stretch to cover what Stalin/Mao/Pot did, politically inserted exceptions notwithstanding.

    FWIW, some (such as Barbara Harff) may the term "politicide" to refer to those examples.

  • EJM||

    Er, that should be "may use the term".

  • Elemenope||

    Probably because the word comes from the Latin gens, which refers to an ethnic or racial group. This is the true meaning.

    No, it is the *original* meaning. Words' meanings are not (despite the lamentations of language prescriptivists) etched in stone. Especially in English, etymology is a clue for meaning but nearly never the determinant!

    It is true that when the term was invented, it was meant specifically to describe ethnic mass murder. Since then, we have seen other crimes of a similar scale, likewise driven by the victims' identity with a certain group or class, and the word has broadened to accommodate this shift. This is the way of all languages, some more-so than others. English is very far towards the more-so end of that scale.

  • ||

    The semantic threadjacks aside, there are still these factors:

    1. There has been no appreciable cartoon violence in the US (unless you run across Looney Tunes reruns), so his claims of blood are overblown at best and ridiculous at worst. It's absurd to say that you're making such a decision to protect the janitor. It's conceivable, but extremely unlikely.

    2. YUP has a reputation which his decision has tarnished. If I were on any kind of alumni board or board of trustees, this would piss me off and I would seek to have him replaced.

    3. If we look at the angle of "giving in to threats brings more threats", we see someone giving into...no real threat at all. Neither he, nor YUP, has even been threatened or has a good reason to think violence may occur (because there has been no cartoon violence in the US, as opposed to Europe), yet they've caved anyway. That's a real dick move right there.

    I can see how one could defend his actions--I just can't see how one could respect them.

  • Elemenope||

    But that doesn't fit the UN definition you posted. You can't just unilaterally redefine words to mean whatever you want.

    The term was coined because destroying an entire ethnic group is an irreversible thing. Economic theories, political or religious beliefs can be transferred to groups that have not been slaughtered. But once an ethnic group is gone, it's gone. So there is a fundamental difference between that and political mass murder (though I think any mass murder is just as bad).


    I tend to think of it as a trivial difference when talking about the sheer scale of the crime. And wiping out the intelligentsia or the farmers or the dissidents or the poor just as irrevocably obliterates unique perspectives partially informed by the group they belong to.

    Given that words' definitions are ultimately consensual, tell you what. You sit down with any number of people, tell them that a crazy dictator just killed millions of people who all were a part of some group or other, and ask them what word comes to mind in order to describe the dictator's crime.

  • ||

    Tulpa, eh, um, probably not. A convention of gangsters and their puppets, advocates and emissaries are not generally predisposed to being etymological purists. See Stalin, Uncle Joe, influence upon United Nations Convention's definition of genocide.

  • ||

    If he doesn't want to risk his life or the life of the University staff, that's fine; but he's a bloody idiot for publishing the book at all without the pictures that make the goddamn book relevant in the first place.

    He needs to sell the pre-print rights and materials to a publisher with some sand.

  • ||

    I think the cartoons were photoshopped. I don't remember Mohammed looking like that.

  • Elemenope||

    If he doesn't want to risk his life or the life of the University staff, that's fine; but he's a bloody idiot for publishing the book at all without the pictures that make the goddamn book relevant in the first place.

    He needs to sell the pre-print rights and materials to a publisher with some sand.


    That's a good point.

  • ||

    Genocide is a popular crime for lefties to hate on



    Just had to excise this from context because it's so funny. Those liberals worrying their pretty little heads over genocide!

  • ||

    Epi-

    Semantic threadjacks rule.

  • Elemenope||

    I can see how one could defend his actions--I just can't see how one could respect them.

    Well, Epi, your three points are why I concur with you that he probably made the wrong call. My point only is that there is a world of existential difference between him making the decision (perhaps wrongly), and we here removed from the decision passing judgment upon it. One need not respect a decision to immediately leap to words like "cowardice" to describe it or the person making it.

  • ||

    Given that words' definitions are ultimately consensual, tell you what. You sit down with any number of people, tell them that a crazy dictator just killed millions of people who all were a part of some group or other, and ask them what word comes to mind in order to describe the dictator's crime.

    Well, you're push-polling that question by specifically noting that the victims were all of a certain group. In any case, I don't accept the idea that a word means whatever a majority of people say it means. Were that the case, the words Nazi, Communist, Fascist, Terrorist, Socialist, etc, would all be useless in intelligent discourse as they all mean "someone I disagree with politically".

    While we should respect current word usage, we must also give some weight to older uses as well (a sort of "democracy of the dead"), especially when dealing with technical terms like genocide and the various political groups.

  • ||

    Elemenope, calling someone a coward necessarily means passing judgement on them when you didn't have to make the decision they did. Are you claiming that there is never a legitimate circumstance to call someone a coward?

  • G.K. Chesterton||

    Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of their birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death. Democracy tells us not to neglect a good man's opinion, even if he is our groom; tradition tells us not to neglect a good man's opinion, even if he is our father.

  • ||

    Semantic threadjacks rule.

    Definitely better than the frivolous chat room discussions that half the threads here turn into.

  • Elemenope||

    Well, you're push-polling that question by specifically noting that the victims were all of a certain group.

    The poll would accurately match what I am claiming would be called genocide and you are claiming would not, thus addressing the question at issue directly. So, not a push-poll, but rather an actual poll.

    I don't accept the idea that a word means whatever a majority of people say it means. Were that the case, the words Nazi, Communist, Fascist, Terrorist, Socialist, etc, would all be useless in intelligent discourse as they all mean "someone I disagree with politically".

    Um...they *are* generally useless for that reason, except when used to refer to their original historical context. What, you've never noticed? Sometimes words die ignominiously, but sometimes words die because they are gang raped by the general public into meaninglessness.

    Elemenope, calling someone a coward necessarily means passing judgement on them when you didn't have to make the decision they did. Are you claiming that there is never a legitimate circumstance to call someone a coward?

    That's not necessarily true. Often a person is in a situation or has been in a situation sufficiently similar in extremity and type to the one at issue; such a person would be better equipped to pass such a judgment than someone who has not.

    The question is ultimately not whether the judgment can be made, but rather how much weight we should assign to its conclusions. I submit that two commentators on a message board should perhaps not be taken as seriously on such a matter as people who have been or are in comparable situations.

    Regardless, my original point (way up at the top of the thread) was that we extol the virtue of bravery and bewail the turpitude of cowardice, and yet the brave have killed thousands of times as many as the cowardly. Our priorities here are quite fucked up, just from that fact alone.

  • ||

    My point only is that there is a world of existential difference between him making the decision (perhaps wrongly), and we here removed from the decision passing judgment upon it. One need not respect a decision to immediately leap to words like "cowardice" to describe it or the person making it.

    Understood, though I personally never called him a coward--I don't have enough information to determine whether he acted out of fear, ass-covering, legitimate concern, etc.

    However, while we are removed from the decision, this is the type of decision where I feel more comfortable deciding what I would have done and taking issue at his actions, unlike, say, a soldier's decisions in wartime or something else I have no experience of. I can say with a high degree of confidence that if you put me in his shoes I would publish the pictures.

  • ||

    I have a thought. With something like this, where the heckler's veto is exercised, potentially, with a sword, maybe the answer is for many outlets to publish the images or text in question more or less simultaneously.

  • SIV||

    ... unique perspectives partially informed by the group they belong to.

    Fuck Diversity

  • Elemenope||

    I have a thought. With something like this, where the heckler's veto is exercised, potentially, with a sword, maybe the answer is for many outlets to publish the images or text in question more or less simultaneously.

    That might be wise. But then, where is the profit in that?

    Fuck Diversity

    You are always well prepared with great pearls of wisdom, SIV.

  • ||

    Regardless, my original point (way up at the top of the thread) was that we extol the virtue of bravery and bewail the turpitude of cowardice, and yet the brave have killed thousands of times as many as the cowardly. Our priorities here are quite fucked up, just from that fact alone.

    That's debatable, as cowardly behavior often leads to as many or more deaths indirectly. Also, a lot of the deaths you're laying on bravery were the deaths of evildoers. Anyway, I'm of the opinion that there are more important things in life than avoiding death.

  • Elemenope||

    Understood, though I personally never called him a coward--I don't have enough information to determine whether he acted out of fear, ass-covering, legitimate concern, etc.

    I know. It was a group of folks further upthread.

    However, while we are removed from the decision, this is the type of decision where I feel more comfortable deciding what I would have done and taking issue at his actions, unlike, say, a soldier's decisions in wartime or something else I have no experience of. I can say with a high degree of confidence that if you put me in his shoes I would publish the pictures.

    Fair enough.

  • ||

    maybe the answer is for many outlets to publish the images or text in question more or less simultaneously

    You'd think they would have done so. Enough outlets and the threateners would have too many targets. Dilute the danger, as it were.

  • Elemenope||

    Anyway, I'm of the opinion that there are more important things in life than avoiding death.

    I am too. I just tend to doubt that republishing cartoons is one of those things.

  • ||

    In fact, the pusilanimous attitude prevalent in many corners of our society that it's not worth risking lives to fight evil is one of the main disadvantages we have vis a vis the rest of the world going forward.

  • ||

    I just tend to doubt that republishing cartoons is one of those things.

    These are no ordinary cartoons, so cut the sarcastic tone. Failing to republish them when it would otherwise be appropriate emboldens those who make the threats.

  • ||

    Coward

  • ||

    Episiarch,

    National Offensive Speech Day!

  • Elemenope||

    In fact, the pusillanimous attitude prevalent in many corners of our society that it's not worth risking lives to fight evil is one of the main disadvantages we have vis a vis the rest of the world going forward.

    Wholeheartedly disagree. It is perhaps the primary guarantee that the US will never again be engaged in a WWI-style and size conflict unless facing an actual existential threat. Our reluctance to spend lives also forces us to rely on, and become more effective with, diplomatic options.

    And since the fuck when has it been the job of the US to sent its people to die overseas in order to "fight evil", whatever the fuck that means?

    These are no ordinary cartoons, so cut the sarcastic tone. Failing to republish them when it would otherwise be appropriate emboldens those who make the threats.

    I wasn't being sarcastic. These cartoons, including all their context and purported importance, are not worth losing lives over. Full stop.

  • SIV||

    I wasn't being sarcastic. These cartoons, including all their context and purported importance, are not worth losing lives over. Full stop.

    Sheep

    Baaaa! Baaaaa!

  • ||

    So who in the western world has been killed over the cartoons so far?

  • ||

    National Offensive Speech Day!

    Fuck your dumbfuck speech day, you twisted goon!

    Oh wait, it wasn't NOSD today?

  • ||

    I wasn't saying we should be fighting wars overseas to fight evil. This case doesn't involve any troop movements, you may have noticed, but if the decision had been made otherwise, it would show evildoers that we're not afraid of them. Let them issue fatwas and death sentences till they're blue in the face, we will defy them.

    A more general issue is that people are always encouraged to give muggers your wallet without resistance, cause "it's not worth your life". Reality is, of course, it's extremely unlikely that a mugger is going to kill you in any circumstance, rather than just looking for a less troublesome target, but the thought of risking death makes people shut their brains off it seems. And then they piss and moan about how the muggers seem to multiply when official policy is to reward them!

  • ||

    Religion shouldn't be outlawed, but it should be generally discouraged.

  • ||

    Religion shouldn't be outlawed, but it should be generally discouraged.

    Add secular leftist ideologies (feminism, environmentalism, anti-Walmart-ism, etc) to that list and I'll agree.

  • ||

    No, silly, it's tomorrow. And now the name has changed, to open it up to all nations: Speak Offensively Day.

    SOD on at 12:01 a.m. ET! SOD off at 11:59 p.m.

  • anonymous||

    "Wholeheartedly disagree. It is perhaps the primary guarantee that the US will never again be engaged in a WWI-style and size conflict unless facing an actual existential threat. Our reluctance to spend lives also forces us to rely on, and become more effective with, diplomatic options."

    No, that's as much a reluctance to risk -taking- lives, unjustly.

    It would be more analogous, though probably not more correct, to say that Donatich's attitude is the primary guarantee that the US can never again have a civil rights movement. Any prospective Martin Luther King would have to consider that agitating violent, angry hatemongers might result in brutality not just against those who are willing to follow him to death, but also to innocents the movement is trying to liberate. Sure, they would have been constantly oppressed otherwise, but not necessarily killed.

  • Elemenope||

    Let them issue fatwas and death sentences till they're blue in the face, we will defy them.

    "Um, what's this *we* thing, white man?"

    Feel free to be cavalier with your own life, but God help you if you are cavalier with someone else's.

    Reality is, of course, it's extremely unlikely that a mugger is going to kill you in any circumstance, rather than just looking for a less troublesome target, but the thought of risking death makes people shut their brains off it seems.

    No, it's perfectly rational. Most people are willing to sacrifice the cash they have on them in order to avoid a .1% probability that a robber would kill them. There will be other wallets, but not other lives. Feel free to choose otherwise for yourself.

    Any prospective Martin Luther King would have to consider that agitating violent, angry hatemongers might result in brutality not just against those who are willing to follow him to death, but also to innocents the movement is trying to liberate. Sure, they would have been constantly oppressed otherwise, but not necessarily killed.

    Yes. I believe in such extremity that the situation mirrors Kierkegaard's teleological suspension of the ethical. A person may cause a small evil in order to do a greater good, so long as the fact that evil is done is not exculpated during or after the fact. As King himself pointed out, civil disobedience is still disobedience, and one should understand that the act is, at its base, wrong according to the codes of the given society, and ought to be punished as such.

  • Michael Ejercito||



    On the other hand, if a person is presented with a choice between publishing truth and preserving life, life wins almost every time. You can always not publish and still either publish later or someone else may, but deaths are fairly permanent. (There are obviously exceptions to this, such as revelations of genocide, before y'all gang bang this comment.)


    And what death threats were involved in this case?

    I find it fascinating, as well, that he apparently has no concept that any blood would be on the hands of those who actually commit the violence. Soft bigotry on display.


    I wonder if John Donatich would advise people to do the same about advocating for abortion rights.

    Should people refrain from advocating for abortion rights because of the threat of violence?

    The execs that wrote back to us stated that they agree with our sentiments regarding free speech and letting terrorists win, etc but that they were not willing to sacrifice the safety of the non-decision making employees at their offices.


    And yet they greenlit an episode mocking the Ku Klux Klan.

    Were they not worried some white supremacist nithing might kill Comedy Central employees?

    His reasoning is that he's partly responsible if he publishes this, and violent extremists do something extremely violent.


    So then civil rights activists should have surrendered to the Ku Klux Klan?

  • Michael Ejercito||

    No, it's perfectly rational. Most people are willing to sacrifice the cash they have on them in order to avoid a .1% probability that a robber would kill them. There will be other wallets, but not other lives. Feel free to choose otherwise for yourself.


    There is such a thing as strategic retreat.

    I wonder how this applies to encounters with rapists. Is submission to rape always the best idea?

  • Rich||

    With something like this, where the heckler's veto is exercised, potentially, with a sword, maybe the answer is for many outlets to publish the images or text in question more or less simultaneously.

    Or perhaps, as recently hyped in H&R, for one outlet to publish like this.

  • ||

    Most people are willing to sacrifice the cash they have on them in order to avoid a .1% probability that a robber would kill them. There will be other wallets, but not other lives.

    Where's your concern for the lives of others now? You can bet there will be other muggings with this attitude, too.

    Well, until the mugger encounters someone with the stones to free his mind from the confines of his cranium and introduce it to the new experiences of being splattered on the sidewalk.

  • alan||

    I wonder how this applies to encounters with rapists. Is submission to rape always the best idea?

    I think the friend of an acquaintance of mine got it right when she stabbed the guy in the eye instead of submitting.

    Ultimately, raising the cost of criminality is the best insurance against it.

  • ||

    But don't think I'm anti-Islam. In fact, I'm immersing myself in Islamic culture right now by watching the hour and a half long "Bellydance Superstars" special on the local PBS station.

  • alan||

    But don't think I'm anti-Islam. In fact, I'm immersing myself in Islamic culture right now by watching the hour and a half long "Bellydance Superstars" special on the local PBS station.

    Hey, what happened to:


    Definitely better than the frivolous chat room discussions that half the threads here turn into.

    Yeah, that one stung and I pretty much agreed with everything you said until that moment. It was like, woahh -- some of self medicate with frivolousness to deal with the lefty troll pest.

  • ||

    Hey man, do as I say, not as I do. I'm sick, I need help. blah blah ;-)

    Now they've switched to the mandatory beg-a-thon with a far less pulchritudinous (but still entirely female, strangely) cast in the background, so I can type efficiently again.

  • Elemenope||

    There is such a thing as strategic retreat.

    I agree, though it is not always possible. Then you are left with the choice to either fight, negotiate, or submit.

    I wonder how this applies to encounters with rapists. Is submission to rape always the best idea?

    Everyone makes their own subjective calculations going into a situation what things are worth to them, including their life, their property, and so forth. I imagine, like everything else, a person facing a rapist has choices to retreat, fight, negotiate, or submit, and those choices are weighed by their own viewpoint of the situation, what they care about, and what they are willing to risk. The calculation is also affected by the perception of relative power of the two people involved.

    The vast majority of people would not think that the money in their pockets is worth their life. Perhaps more people might think that avoiding being raped is worth more risk. To all the cavalier cowboys I do have to ask, how does your perception change if they are armed and you are not? Are you still gonna try to kick their brains in?

    Ultimately, raising the cost of criminality is the best insurance against it.

    That sure works out great for the victim who doesn't beat the odds, doesn't it? Not to mention that if you get into escalating brinksmanship with criminals, it is as likely that push-back will encourage as many criminals to be armed or be more aggressive as it will discourage.

  • alan||

    Ha! Speaking of immersion into Islamic culture, I have the excellent Black Hawk Down soundtrack in the background, Barra Barra, with the Algerian Rachid Taha on vocals. He could be giving out a recipe for falafel with the lyrics, but what ever he is saying it just makes you want to 'yayeyayeyaya' your way into jihad.

  • Elemenope||

    Now they've switched to the mandatory beg-a-thon with a far less pulchritudinous (but still entirely female, strangely) cast in the background, so I can type efficiently again.

    Pulchritude..... Mmmmm......

  • alan||


    That sure works out great for the victim who doesn't beat the odds, doesn't it? Not to mention that if you get into escalating brinksmanship with criminals, it is as likely that push-back will encourage as many criminals to be armed or be more aggressive as it will discourage.


    Criminality and cowardice go hand in hand. I have stopped bad behavior before with nothing more than eye contact. Seriously, that is what is recommended in Akido. Eye contact, because the chemicals governing a persons fight or flight responses kick in at the sudden unexpectedness of it.

  • ||

    Oh noes, we can't ethcalate the violence!

    Not to mention that if you get into escalating brinksmanship with criminals, it is as likely that push-back will encourage as many criminals to be armed or be more aggressive as it will discourage.

    Criminals can't win an war of attrition with law-abiding citizens. There's just too many of us.

    And if that ever ceases to be the case, we're screwed regardless. Better to go down with a fight than to unilaterally disarm.

  • ||

    To all the cavalier cowboys I do have to ask, how does your perception change if they are armed and you are not?

    My perception changes to say, wow Tulpa, you're pretty stupid not to be armed right now!

  • Spoonman||

    Timidi mater non flet

  • Elemenope||

    And if that ever ceases to be the case, we're screwed regardless. Better to go down with a fight than to unilaterally disarm.

    In the Wild West it was generally a smarter policy on behalf of criminals to shoot first and steal afterward, on the general probably correct assumption that their victim would be armed. The only thing that kept this under control was the relatively small community size, something which is not true today in many places.

    My perception changes to say, wow Tulpa, you're pretty stupid not to be armed right now!

    Nevertheless, that's the situation. Even people who are habitually armed are occasionally *not* armed; and that is the scenario I'm asking about.

  • Elemenope||

    Timidi mater non flet

    Much like the earlier Spartan "With your shield or on it". Need I mention these were epically fucked up societies?

  • Spoonman||

    I've always interpreted "timidi mater non flet" to support fleeing from certain death, not to criticize it.

  • ||

    Timidi mater non flet

    ...sed fortes fortuna adiuvat.

  • ||

    I prefer not giving my mother a veto over my battlefield behavior.

  • Elemenope||

    I've always interpreted "timidi mater non flet" to support fleeing from certain death, not to criticize it.

    Considering Roman imperial society, I imagine it was a criticism, though we would read it more as an endorsement. I don't honestly know what the consensus is about the original sense of the quote.

  • Henry McCarty||

    In the Wild West it was generally a smarter policy on behalf of criminals to shoot first and steal afterward, on the general probably correct assumption that their victim would be armed.

    [citation very much in need here]

    Hint, overwhelming force was the rule of the day and picking off the outliers.

  • Spoonman||

    In searching, I couldn't find it. Regardless, the point I was making was that sometimes it's the smart thing to do. On the other hand, tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito.

    Skipping random shit said by dead people, I think cowardice is acceptable, even laudable, when fighting another man's war, but disgusting when fighting evil.

    I should go to sleep.

  • ||

    From what I can gather, it's often paired with the quote I gave above to form "Fortes fortuna adiuvat et unt timidi mater non flet." Which would lend credence to Elemenope's interpretation.

    for non Latinists, that's (roughly) "Fortune favors the bold, while a coward's mother does not weep."

  • ||

    I've always interpreted "timidi mater non flet" to support fleeing from certain death, not to criticize it.

    Uh, no. LMNOP is correct. It was disgraceful for a mother to have her son act the coward in Roman society. If I recall correctly, she might even "disown" or shun him.

    Timidi mater non flet

    ...sed fortes fortuna adiuvat.


    I didn't realize Tulpa and Spoonman were Doc Holiday and Johnny Ringo.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Such candyassedness. And from Yale, no less.

  • William||

    "...there is no ideological conformity at YUP..."

    Absence of ideological conformity is a good thing? Somebody should tell the zombies who post here.

  • ||

    Better ideological conformity than ideological deformity (which is what William exhibits).

  • Elemenope||

    Absence of ideological conformity is a good thing? Somebody should tell the zombies who post here.

    Yah, there is just so much *agreeing* going on around here...

  • ||

    William looked at his clock; it was midnight. He was extremely tired from beating his dog Upton all day. Upton had dug a hole in the yard that William was convinced was a libertarian statement about the stimulus package, regarding the futility of paying people to dig holes and then fill them in. Upton's exposure of his libertarian leanings had driven William into an incoherent rage, and he had spent hours chasing Upton around and beating him with a rolled up copy of Mother Jones.

    But he had to push through the fatigue...there were still pointless, unfocused comments to post insulting libertarians, and he had to keep going.

  • Postholer||

    For digging holes....for posts.

  • ||

    It's certainly Yale's prerogative to be craven cowards when faced with the prospect of violence from a pack of violently superstitious nut-cult members. Not everyone is cut out to be a hero.

    Of course, if they're going to publish a book about this subject at all, it's ridiculous to omit the cartoons they're talking about.

    -jcr

  • ||

    it is as likely that push-back will encourage as many criminals to be armed or be more aggressive as it will discourage.

    Back in the 1970s, the Hasidic community in New York had a problem with muggings. The muggers knew that the Hasids weren't likely to fight back, and a non-trivial percentage of them were carrying diamonds!

    So, the Rabbis got together and deliberated, and came to the conclusion that getting mugged was not a mitzvah, and that passivity was not a winning strategy. The upshot was that for several months after that decision, anytime you saw a group of Hasids, they'd each be carrying something heavy and solid, and they only had to beat the shit out of a few muggers before the muggers' risk/reward calculation was substantially altered, and they switched to mugging tourists and effete liberal WASPS who were highly unlikely to be armed.

    -jcr

  • John||

    The fear of the university is troubling. A university should not be fearful of ideas and the reaction from some people regarding those ideas. The university press even more so.

    My reaction to the Yale Press decision is at my blog.

    http://theobservedblog.blogspot.com/2009/08/cartoons-that-shook-university-in-its.html

  • Elemenope||

    jcr --

    Thus merely shifting the attacks to other populations less capable of defending themselves, such as tourists (who, due to home court disadvantage are naturally more vulnerable), and 'effete WASPS' (who don't actually tend to be liberal, so I don't know where that came from).

    I doubt the Hasids viewed shifting the burden of attacks onto others as a mitzvah.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Elemenope,

    Fair enough, but what can you do? Muggers will, hypothetically speaking, go for the easiest target.

  • ||

    Muggers will, hypothetically speaking, go for the easiest target.

    They are also likely to reconsider their career choices if they get the crap kicked out of them, even once.

    -jcr

  • MNG||

    This thread has a few winners.

    "Damn! I was working on a Mohammad as the Joker poster with the caption "Terrorism"."

    and

    "That Heckler, he's a powerful dude."

  • ||

    So, who actually got killed because of the cartoons (excluding the enraged dumbass in pakistan)? The reason I keep asking this is that it might give an idea as to the risk. i.e. How would it compare with driving to work.

  • MNG||

    I respect and share LMOP's concern with life and his conclusion to use it as the criteria in deciding this kind of thing, but the long term consequences must be thought of. Bowing to these thugs will embolden them, will delay the inevitable confrontation with them (like most thugs they will push until pushed back against, and this would eventually mean serious consequences for everyone's quality of life). Probably best for people to start standing up now. Muslim extremism is very serious threat to some of our cherished values. Accomodation is likely to have good long term consequences...

  • Rich||

    Muslim extremism is very serious threat to some of our cherished values. Accomodation is likely to have good long term consequences...

    I *think* you meant "bad" consequences.

    Anyway, I was wondering whether any extremists have published a list (preferably exhaustive) of "offenses" that'll set 'em off; or are we just supposed to guess? (I knew a guy who was upfront about "Don't ever call me an a-hole", so you knew what to expect from him.)

  • ||

    Makes me glad to be a Harvard man.



    Well, you know what they say, you can always tell a Harvard man.

    ...can't tell him much, but... :)

  • ||

    Memories of the Rushie book are still fresh. I can sympathize with the publisher's wish to spare the life of some unknown translator in Italy or wherever. But consider this: That same high minded publisher would not hesitate a moment to publish some torture photos from Abu Ghraib even if he knew such photos would incite acts of violence against our forces in Iraq. The left has their own list of protected species and has a long history of ignoring victims who are not on their protected species list.

  • ||

    In the Wild West it was generally a smarter policy on behalf of criminals to shoot first and steal afterward, on the general probably correct assumption that their victim would be armed.

    This sounds like a fairy tale to me.

    Practically no one carried concealed firearms in the Wild West. Any outlaw would have had a very good idea whether his victim was armed.

    I also recall, but am too lazy to Google, that most shootings in the "Wild West" were of young men. Why outlaws would disproportionately pick on those best able to resist, is a mystery to me. I suspect that (1) there was less criminality in the Wild West than Hollywood would have you believe and (2) criminals in the Wild West were no stupider than criminals today, would pick on unarmed victims where available, and absent sociopathic tendencies, wouldn't court a hanging by gunning someone down without reason.

  • ||

    Thus merely shifting the attacks to other populations less capable of defending themselves,

    I think you mean less willing to defend themselves, which is different.

    I find it curious, as well, that you seem to be advocating against self-defense, on the grounds that since violence is inevitable anyway, the moral thing to do is man up and take your beating so someone else doesn't catch it.

  • ||

    So, some corrupt Nigerian government hack says its a threat and Yale caves?

    How utterly embarassing.

  • Daniel in Brookline||

    I agree that discussions of the Mohammed cartoons, pro or con, should include the cartoons themselves.

    Failure to do so has already cost lives -- when, for example, Muslim rabble-rousers invented inflammatory cartoons of their own, claiming they had also been drawn by Danish cartoonists. Rioters -- and the apologists for them -- didn't know the difference, because they hadn't seen the originals!

    In addition, if people are rioting and killing because of a few extremely tame cartoons -- and requiring the whole world to follow Muslim standards, not local standards -- then acquiesing to the demands will make things worse, not better. What demand will be made next, using this one as a precedent? (Chances are it'll be even sillier than this one.)

    You can find the complete list of 12 original cartoons here. Alternatively, there is a slideshow of them at littlegreenfootballs.com.

    respectfully,
    Daniel in Brookline

  • DirtCrashr||

    The blood should be on his knuckles, not his hand. But his hands are soft and squishy.

  • ||

    Yale University Press has produced a monument to its own cowardice. Perhaps a second edition will include a visual depiction of the book's subject matter.

  • ||

    He might have redeemed himself slightly if he acknowledged fear that he'd be jeopardizing the safety of Yale students and graduates all over the world to violence at the hands of fanatical maniacs

  • ||

    What ineffable stupidity. I could see it from the Riyadh University Press, but Yale?

  • nooneofconsequence||

    Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph."

    Haile Selaisse

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Not to mention that if you get into escalating brinksmanship with criminals, it is as likely that push-back will encourage as many criminals to be armed or be more aggressive as it will discourage.


    You seem to forget that criminals are cowards; the reason they commit robberies is because it is easier than honest work. If robberies become too hard for them, they will stop.

    He might have redeemed himself slightly if he acknowledged fear that he'd be jeopardizing the safety of Yale students and graduates all over the world to violence at the hands of fanatical maniacs


    So he should refuse to publish any articles supportive of gay rights because it might jeopardize Yale students and graduates all over the world to violence at the hands of gay bashers like Russell Henderson, Aaron McKinney, and Mohammed Atta?

  • Michael Ejercito||

    There are many people, including celebrities, who publicly advocate for legal recognition of same-sex "marriage".

    Should they not be terrified that people like Russell Henderson and Mohammed Atta might want to kill them for voicing their beliefs?

  • jb||

    Can you imagine Mencken's response to this absurdity?

    Funny.

  • B||

    "Tulpa, you are right, mass murderers are mass murderers, be they Lenin or Lincoln.'

    And this year's prize for the single most retarded line written on a blog goes to the douchebag who wrote the above sentence.

  • ||

    Sigh, this shows how we have fallen. Its become effective to control public discourse by violence.

  • Yale Office of Public Affairs||

    Statement by Yale University Press

    Yale University Press will publish The Cartoons That Shook the World, by Jytte Klausen, this November. The Press hopes that her excellent scholarly treatment of the Danish cartoon controversy will be read by those seeking deeper understanding of its causes and consequences.

    After careful consideration, the Press has declined to reproduce the September 30, 2005 Jyllands-Posten newspaper page that included the cartoons, as well as other depictions of the Prophet Muhammad that the author proposed to include.

    The original publication in 2005 of the cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad led to a series of violent incidents, and repeated violent acts have followed republication as recently as June 2008, when a car bomb exploded outside the Danish embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, killing eight people and injuring at least thirty. The next day Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the bombing, calling it revenge for the "insulting drawings."

    Republication of the cartoons-not just the original printing of them in Denmark-has repeatedly resulted in violence around the world. More than two hundred lives have been lost, and hundreds more have been injured. It is noteworthy that, at the time of the initial crisis over the cartoons in 2005-2006, the New York Times, Washington Post, and Boston Globe declined to print them, as did every major newspaper in the United Kingdom.

    The publishing of the book raised the obvious question of whether there remains a serious threat of violence if the cartoons were reprinted in the context of a book about the controversy. The Press asked the University for assistance on this question.

    The University consulted both domestic and international experts on behalf of the Press. Among those consulted were counterterrorism officials in the United States and in the United Kingdom, U.S. diplomats who had served as ambassadors in the Middle East, foreign ambassadors from Muslim countries, the top Muslim official at the United Nations, and senior scholars in Islamic studies. The experts with the most insight about the threats of violence repeatedly expressed serious concerns about violence occurring following publication of either the cartoons or other images of the Prophet Muhammad in a book about the cartoons.

    Ibrahim Gambari, under-secretary-gGeneral of the United Nations and senior adviser to the secretary-general, the highest ranking Muslim at the United Nations, stated, "You can count on violence if any illustration of the Prophet is published. It will cause riots I predict from Indonesia to Nigeria."

    Ambassador Joseph Verner Reed, dean of the Under-Secretaries-general, under-secretary-general of the United Nations, and special adviser to the secretary-general, informed us, "These images of Muhammad could and would be used as a convenient excuse for inciting violent anti-American actions."

    Marcia Inhorn, professor of anthropology and international affairs and chair of the Council on Middle East Studies at Yale, said, "I agree completely with the other expert opinions Yale has received. If Yale publishes this book with any of the proposed illustrations, it is likely to provoke a violent outcry."

    Given the quantity and quality of the expert advice Yale received, the author consented, with reluctance, to publish the book without any of these visual images.

    Yale and Yale University Press are deeply committed to freedom of speech and expression, so the issues raised here were difficult. The University has no speech code, and the response to "hate speech" on campus has always been the assertion that the appropriate response to hate speech is not suppression but more speech, leading to a full airing of views. The Press would never have reached the decision it did on the grounds that some might be offended by portrayals of the Prophet Muhammad. Indeed, Yale University Press has printed books in the past that included images of the Prophet. The decision rested solely on the experts' assessments that there existed a substantial likelihood of violence that might take the lives of innocent victims.

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