Fighting Violets or Shrinking Violets?

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Eugene Volokh writes that my old alma mater, New York University, violated its own stated policy when it decided to close to the press an event at which the infamous Danish Mohammad cartoons would be displayed. As most everyone else who's commented on this has noted, they're within their rights as a private institution to do what they want here, but it's both contrary to the spirit of open debate in an academic setting and a terrible precedent that gives the impression that respectful disagreement is less effective than being loud and violent.

Addendum: Sully reports that Borders and Waldenbooks stores won't be stocking the next ish of Free Inquiry, which also reprints several of the cartoons.

NEXT: Be Serious, Dahlink

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  1. Osama was right about one thing–we ARE decadent. Too worried about a one-in-a-million risk to stand up for our liberties. It’s our perceived wussihood as much as anything else that got us attacked in the first place.

    Next time I get a chai at Borders, I’m going to wear a t-shirt that is offensive to Muslims. Just to make my point.

  2. Yeah, like the press is going to give that front page coverage, anyway? They certainly would never print pictures of the artwork, if their conduct a couple months ago is any indication.

    I agree, though; it’s disgusting to see anyone caving in to that violent, temper-tantrum bullshit.

    When Muslim fundamentalists were going crazy (more crazy) over those cartoons, America missed a golden opportunity. Without intending to, those assholes revealed to us a weak spot: we can terrorize them far more easily than they can terrorize us. To terrorize us, you have to abduct people and kill them. To terrorize them, you scribble a picture of Muhammed taking it up the ass from a camel, and post it online. Or you piss on a Koran, and post the video. A million of us could do that every day, all over the country. What could they do to stop us, or retaliate, that they don’t already want to do anyway?

  3. Hmm, maybe I should join the Borders boycott… it would probably do my wallet some good, if nothing else…

  4. Barnes & Noble is apparently hangin’ tough. Eat hot coffee, religious extremists! Heck, I’m going to go buy a book from them right now, before they go craven on me, too.

  5. Sully reports that Borders and Waldenbooks stores won’t be stocking the next ish of Free Inquiry, which also reprints several of the cartoons.

    I believe something similar happened to The Satanic Verses, before stores realized that the money they could make off the book’s notoriety was worth more than any Muslim boycott.

    Long live the free market.

  6. “Next time I get a chai at Borders, I’m going to wear a t-shirt that is offensive to Muslims. Just to make my point.”

    Do they still sell the t-shirts with the offensive cartoons on them? Does anybody know where i could order one?

  7. There are some related t-shirts at CafePress.com. After a quick look, I saw one that has the words, “I Draw Muhammed Cartoons”. They have some that have artwork similar to the Danish cartoons, too. I’m sure the actual cartoons are out there somewhere, too, though CafePress probably won’t have them since they are copyrighted.

  8. Arrrghhh…don’t remind me of that nickname. It’s bad enough that the schoool, with a student body of 32k, remains mired in Division III. The nickname is just salt on the wound.

  9. I sent an email to Barnes and Nobel asking them to continue to stock the mag, which I posted on my site.

    I figure it can not hurt, and may help head off a trifecta of tyranny.

  10. When Muslim fundamentalists were going crazy (more crazy) over those cartoons, America missed a golden opportunity.

    You know, you’re right. But there’s still room for the libertarians to make up for it.

  11. As an American living in Europe and an NYU alumni, I am very surprised by how weak the US response has been to cartoons. All across Europe no one is questioning the freedom of self-expression in any kind of times and yet the US, the country that takes credit for inventing the idea, consistently backs down.

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