Censorship

Do You Need a New Rose?

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Now playing at Reason.tv: Video of Associate Editor Michael Moynihan's interview with Flemming Rose, cultural editor at Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper that published those Mohammad cartoons a while back to such acclaim.

Moynihan does his best Alfred Hitchcock and intros the segment thus:

In September, I visited the offices of Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper responsible for publishing the now-notorious Mohammad cartoons, to speak with the man who commissioned the drawings, the paper's cultural editor Flemming Rose. Rose, who previously served as a correspondent in the Soviet Union and translated Boris Yeltsin's Against the Stream into Danish, discusses the fallout from the "cartoon crisis," similarities between the West's reaction to Soviet communism and Islamic extremism, and his Muslim supporters.

Click below to watch the vid:

NEXT: Holier Than Thou (or at Least Holier Than Rudy)

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  1. I think that may be right about it being an unprecedented case with regards to a certain stripe of the Muslim world trying to hold non-Muslims to a Muslim standard, at least in terms of scale.

    …even if it was Bernard Lewis* that said it.

    *Relax, I’m being droll!

    P.S. Love, love, love to this video format. Short and sweet, journalist doesn’t get in the way of the interview, smart–I want my Reason TV!

  2. Someone’s going to link to this. Might as well be me.

  3. well done, baked.

    can’t stand hr. Rose or Jyllands pesten!

  4. The videos are a good idea but you ought to provided embedded links so people can add them to their sites and blogs and get them out to more and more people.

  5. Tak, elg. I take it you didn’t care for J-P even prior to the cartoon imbroglio?

  6. selv tak, pingvin!

    yes can’t stand that paper – haven’t liked it for many years (I lived in Dk in the 90s)

  7. I really can’t believe the view of some of you guys on this subject. There is no value in attacking the faith of a billion people just to show that you can.

  8. Neu –

    attacking the Muslim population in Denmark because they could was definitely part of the plan – to provoke them, to underscore who was the “Them”.

    That sentiment is subtle, and is often times hidden. But it’s there, and it’s common.

  9. There is no value in attacking the faith of a billion people

    Why not? Faith is a disease. The world needs more epidemiologists.

  10. Thanks, BP, for posting the Damned link.

  11. There is no value in attacking the faith of a billion people just to show that you can.

    Cartoons are hardly an attack. Poor babies.

  12. Neu-

    The reaction of a lot of Muslims was even dumber. “Hey, their intentionally trying to provoke us in the hope that we over-react so we look like dipshits. So lets play right into their hands!”

  13. There is no value in attacking the faith of a billion people just to show that you can.

    There’s a whole generation of artists in the decadent West that is making a living doing just that. Only the religion is Christianity.

  14. It wasn’t spontaneous?

    Whatever one might say about things being “stirred up,” etc. I would argue that there was probably a lot of spontaneity.

  15. As for his comments on the USSR, wasn’t it ultimately Reagan’s willingness to talk to the Soviets (ignoring the advice of many of his advisors) that was just as important as any arms build-up?

  16. Cue iih…

  17. R C Dean,

    The big difference is…
    Crap. I gotta go back to work. Somebody else please explain why it’s different to provoke your own shitheads, versus provoking another culture’s, especially when a lot people raised in that culture are a minority in your country.

  18. R.C. Dean,

    I suspect that there are few if any artists who out to simply piss off a billion Christians simply because they can. People tend to be slightly more complex than that.

  19. I suspect that there are few if any artists who out to simply piss off a billion Christians simply because they can. People tend to be slightly more complex than that.

    Honestly, I think thats pretty much the reason South Park does it.

  20. you’re talking about a homogeneous, very closed, very reserved society here.

    It is also a small, insignificant country, but there is a definite hardcore vein of nationalism there. (be the “fly on the wall”, and you’ll hear that)

    In terms of “you look like the other, and I’ll treat you such, regardless of any other characteristic you have”, yes, the cartoons, in part, were there to reemphasize the differences in the culture and to reinforce the hierarchy.

    I have no opinion about the “insulting a billion people”, but I saw and experienced, first hand (as target, as bystander, and as fly on the wall) the subtle and not-so-subtle racism and resentment towards the “immigrants” in Denmark, and saw many unprovoked acts in the media designed to emphasize, “THIS IS YOUR PLACE. STAY.”
    (Dec 1998 – DR1 news show on a Christmas celebration in Havana is an excellent example of this)

    As Hak says, or at least riffing off his comment, it’s a very complex situation there…

  21. “There is no value in attacking the faith of a billion people.”

    …unless you’re selling newspapers.

    I don’t see much value in televised singing competitions, but then I don’t make my money selling advertising.

    If you can do something you really believe in and make money at it, well that’s great. …but just because you don’t really believe CSI: Sheboygan is going to make the world a better place, that doesn’t mean there isn’t any value. …not that this guy didn’t really believe in what he was doing.

  22. Cesar,

    I don’t. Otherwise, why does every show about “religion” (or any other subject) appear to end with some message?

  23. BTW, I have no problem with the makers of South Park using their to get whatever ideas they want to get across.

  24. “There’s a whole generation of artists in the decadent West that is making a living doing just that. Only the religion is Christianity.”

    Yeah, you can sell art that way too. …or music CDs. …or movies. You can sell T-shirts and banner ads that way. You can sell all kinds of stuff by attacking the faith of a billion people.

    I know where you can buy a 10″ statue of an astronaut Jesus online, but they’re all out of the glow-in-the-dark ones.

  25. I really can’t believe the view of some of you guys on this subject. There is no value in attacking the faith of a billion people just to show that you can.

    Except when it’s to show that you can’t, not without round-the-clock police protection, like some of the artists had to have.

  26. Kind of an interesting observation that all this was really about art. I hadn’t really thought about it that way.

    Flemming Rose may be a good journalist, but if he orchestrated all of this, then he’s an amazing artist.

  27. Cesar,

    I agree completley. Muslims should be smarter in attempting to censor those who speak out against their faith.

    Still, I’m sure Muslims in Europe suffer all sorts of discrimination and governments should take more effort to make sure it doesn’t happen anymore. In addition to that, you have to take into consideration the opression that Westerners have afflicted on the Muslim world.

  28. I don’t. Otherwise, why does every show about “religion” (or any other subject) appear to end with some message?

    From what I’ve seen, its always “religion is stupid”. I agree with the sentiment, of course, but lets not pretend its really any deeper than that.

    The message of those silly cartoons is also “Islam is stupid”.

  29. In addition to that, you have to take into consideration the opression that Westerners have afflicted on the Muslim world.

    Actually, you don’t.

  30. The message of those silly cartoons is also “Islam is stupid”.

    So, you’re calling it honest journalism?

  31. So, you’re calling it honest journalism?

    Yup. I think Islam is pretty stupid. Whether an individual Muslim is or not is another question.

    FWIW I take the same view towards Christianity, Morminism, et al.

  32. I never got an “Islam is stupid” vibe from the cartoons. I got an “Islamic fundamentalists are hostile to the basic cultural and political values of the West even as they continue to immigrate here in the millions, and our governments keep making concessions to their intolerant and absurdly sensitive sensibilities in response to their seemingly constant implied and explicit threats of violence, and it seems we are curtailing our own liberties and repressing our own speech and generally remaking our societies in an effort to make these immigrants who, may I mention one more time, are coming here willingly and of their own volition because their places of birth are economically, intellectually and technologically stagnant and politically oppressive, feel more comfortable, instead of explaining to them that while we are happy to extend the benefits of our freedoms and our prosperity to them, they will have to, in turn, learn to live in a secularly governed nation and be willing to respect the rights and beliefs of the very people from whom they are demanding rights and respect, and in order find out whether or not many of these immigrants are indeed able and willing to exist in a free and open society, we are publishing these rather mild cartoons and let’s see how everyone reacts” kind of vibe.

    You know – journalism is supposed to provoke, to make you think, to invite discussion, blah blah blah, or at least it is when it’s the West or Christianity or capitalism or Jews or Israel getting skewered. I don’t recall ever reading or being taught that a free society makes exceptions about hurting the feelings of a group of people that have suffered wrongs and injuries in the past.

  33. I turned down a very lucrative and prestigious Fellowship (the Orsted Fellowship) at the Danish DTU because I personally felt like I was threatened because I am Muslim (and no, I do not ear a beard, or put on a robe. I am as Western as “a western man can be”). The people who offered me the scholarship were very sorry for the anti-Muslim rhetoric and communicated to me that this is not the kind of Denmark they wanted either (and in fact xenophobic and nationalist at heart, dressed in the name of free speech). I hope Michael Moynihan can read this now.

  34. I really can’t believe the view of some of you guys on this subject. There is no value in attacking the faith of a billion people just to show that you can.

    Neu Mejican, This was my initial reaction about the cartoons and aftermath. Nothing’s changed.

  35. … And I do agree with Rose on many things by the way — especially “intimidation” to create discourse. But, as I have always said, out of pure ignorance that was a very stupid kind of “intimidation”. It simply put most if not all Muslims, moderate and otherwise, on the defense and could not have initiated a discourse within the Muslim community as Flemming claims. It did to a very very small extent. Why not poke fun at Nasrallah, or Hamas? That would have been way smarter and would have helped distinguish between the “moderate” and the “non-moderate” in an intra-Muslim discourse, especially Western Muslims? That would have been intelligent. But again, I think, the goal was intimidation of all Muslims, especially those in Europe.

  36. My last two comments, I think, best formulate my and many other “moderate” Muslims objection to the stupidity of this free speech. This viewpoint has rarely been acknowledged by the pro-Rose camp (e.g., Michael Moynihan — and I really hope he gets a chance to read this comment of mine).

  37. I think, the goal was intimidation of all Muslims, especially those in Europe.

    iih, I think an additional the goal was to point out the incompatibility between between western cultural traditions and values and a significant portion of the Islamic community. That was certainly made apparent. I do note that in North America there wer no riots, just a lot of teeth gnashing and letters to the editor. That is the traditional western response to an offending publication. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops do it all the time.

  38. J sub D:

    I think an additional the goal was to point out the incompatibility between between western cultural traditions and values and a significant portion of the Islamic community.

    I thought that was too obvious, wasn’t it? How would highlighting the obvious be smart? Wouldn’t it have been smarter to poke fun ad Nasrallah, Hamas, or Ahmadinajad more effective? At least they are relevant to current events and would certainly spark debate about current events. Don’t you think?

    BTW, I personally did not write any letters to editors or anything of the sort, until MM kept going at it as if Rose was a saint of free speech.

  39. That would have been intelligent. But again, I think, the goal was intimidation of all Muslims, especially those in Europe.

    THE INTIMIDATION OF MUSLIMS!!!!

    Let me get this straight, a guy draws a cartoon, has to go into hiding, people riot and killed and the guy doing the intimidating was the guy who drew the cartoon.

    Yes, iih, you are so opressed. Hirsi Ali, who had her clitoris mutilated and was headed for a life of bondage before escaping, and a cartoonist are the bullies. How do you find the courage to face newspaper cartoons? You’re truly an inspiration to us all.

    Fucking insanity. Christopher Hitchens may be a neo-con and communist, but he gets it. All of you “yes, but…” people should frankly be ashamed of yourself.

    The intimidation of Muslims! Is there anybody left in this world besides murdering stone age fanatics and people who have had their brains turned to such mush by political corectness that they think that, once again, MUSLIMS ARE THE ONES BEING INTIMIDATED?!?!?

  40. S of S:

    As for his comments on the USSR, wasn’t it ultimately Reagan’s willingness to talk to the Soviets (ignoring the advice of many of his advisors) that was just as important as any arms build-up?

    Good point.

  41. Chalupa:

    You did not read my comment properly. I am not against intimidation of Muslims, I recommend smarter intimidation, in fact.

    Didn’t you say you will not be positing on reason anymore? Anyways, good to have you back.

  42. TakTix: Cue iih… HI!

  43. Chalupa: In case you did not get that, here it is again: Intimidate those among Muslims who wish to interpret/implement their religion in a way offensive/dangerous to the West. Attacking Muhammad does not do the job. It alienates those in the Muslim community who are trying to help in the effort of de-radicalization of Muslims, especially those in the West. Attacking current radical players would have certainly embarrassed the silent moderate Muslims, provoked the radical, and encouraged the active moderates to work with non-Muslims in defeating the ideologies of the extremists. What do you think, Chalupa? Like that?

  44. “It simply put most if not all Muslims, moderate and otherwise, on the defense and could not have initiated a discourse within the Muslim community as Flemming claims. It did to a very very small extent. Why not poke fun at Nasrallah, or Hamas? That would have been way smarter and would have helped distinguish between the “moderate” and the “non-moderate” in an intra-Muslim discourse, especially Western Muslims?”

    And yet Muslims are still talking about it?

    At the time, wasn’t there an ongoing, pan-European discussion about the integration of Muslim immigrants throughout Europe? From the politics of Pim Fortuyn to the murder of Theo van Gogh, from the riots in France of November 2005, riots which happened shortly after these cartoons went international… Wasn’t there already a big, long, drawn out ongoing discourse about the assimilation of Muslim immigrants?

  45. Ken:

    And yet Muslims are still talking about it?

    Not really among themselves. Mostly to people on the “other side” of the debate.

  46. Ken:

    Wasn’t there already a big, long, drawn out ongoing discourse about the assimilation of Muslim immigrants?

    yes, indeed, there was. Now, again, one wonders about the effect these cartoons had on that older discourse. The cartoons just erased all of that and almost entirely destroyed any progress that would have been made to that point. Someone upthread hinted at the real purpose of these cartoons. You seem to touch on the root causes here again.

  47. Chalupa: In case you did not get that, here it is again: Intimidate those among Muslims who wish to interpret/implement their religion in a way offensive/dangerous to the West. Attacking Muhammad does not do the job. It alienates those in the Muslim community who are trying to help in the effort of de-radicalization of Muslims, especially those in the West. Attacking current radical players would have certainly embarrassed the silent moderate Muslims, provoked the radical, and encouraged the active moderates to work with non-Muslims in defeating the ideologies of the extremists. What do you think, Chalupa? Like that?

    Showing that there were people willing to kill and die over a cartoon did more to provoke real debate on the issue of Islamic integration than all the tired pc platitudes combined. Were these moderate Muslims you are talking about working towards convincing all Muslims to accept blasphemy as a human right before the cartoon controversy? I really doubt it.

    Muhammed needs to be attacked simply because he can’t be. It’s that simple. And if the Muslim world can be provoked over a cartoon, then it needs to be provoked.

  48. Chalupa: Whatever.

  49. I hope you’re posting here for a long time, my friend. Europe in particular is going to be very interesting to watch.

  50. “It alienates those in the Muslim community who are trying to help in the effort of de-radicalization of Muslims, especially those in the West. Attacking current radical players would have certainly embarrassed the silent moderate Muslims, provoked the radical, and encouraged the active moderates to work with non-Muslims in defeating the ideologies of the extremists.”

    I’m not so sure demonstrating the apparent intolerance of yet to be assimilated Muslims was the primary objective, and I think Muslims of whatever stripe should have considered that possibility.

    Only God knows what’s in somebody’s heart, but I don’t see why I shouldn’t believe this story as told. If I were a publisher here in America and I thought artists were too afraid to illustrate a children’s book, I’d like to think I’d be painfully obnoxious in print.

    …but listening to him talk about “appeasement”, etc., it sounds to me like his primary target was Danish liberals of a certain stripe. So, anyway, Muslims may have been the subject of this debate, but I’m not so sure they were the primary target.

  51. Ken, I certainly agree on all and am glad to see that someone is able to see or suspect that there is more than just what they eye sees, regarding

    and I think Muslims of whatever stripe should have considered that possibility.

    keep in mind that as a minority you tend to be edgy, and oversensitive. To cite another example, Hitchens is yet another atheist arguing against religion in general. Most Western Muslims, however, are very wary of him since his talk has some very dangerous implications. Shouldn’t Muslims be alarmed, not by his freedom of speech, but by the implications of Hitchens’ speech (see libertarian link)? When you belong to a minority that is under a lot of scrutiny, you ought to be wary.

  52. Chalupa: Whatever.

    Not exactly QFT, but Quoted For Understanding That Sentiment And Recognition Of That Kind Of Moment With Someone Like That (QFUTSAROTKOMWSLT).

  53. highnumber 😉

  54. Not exactly QFT, but Quoted For Understanding That Sentiment And Recognition Of That Kind Of Moment With Someone Like That (QFUTSAROTKOMWSLT).

    Someone like what? Heroic? Honorable? Brilliant? Being the rare human being with the confidence, intelligence and independence not to believe in myths of political corectness or religion?

    This coming from the person who told us not to piss off Muslims cause they’re from a different culture.

    Hey asshole, when they imigrated to your country and they’re rioting outside your door are they part of your culture yet? Tell me, are you as big a pussy in life as your political beliefs indicate?

  55. “I agree completley. Muslims should be smarter in attempting to censor those who speak out against their faith.”

    Are you actually claiming that the attempts at censorship are ok, just not the methods employed? If this type of mindset is prevalent amongst Muslims, it’s not surprising that only one majority muslim country in the world is even remotely democratic.

    And how exactly is discrimination against Muslims even relevant to the cartoon discussion? These dark-ages mentality morons went apeshit over a fucking cartoon. It is amazing how silent certain people are when media organs in Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian territories, to name only two, call Jews apes and pigs on a daily basis, but when someone draws a benign picture of Mohammed, these jaberring assholes take to the streets with signs declaring those who insult islam should be beheaded and their pathetic enablers don’t condemn their incitement to violence, rather they lecture us about how evil we in the west are.
    We live in a free society, one which affords me the right to call Mohammed a pedophile and a warmonger. If your first reaction to individuals with similar sentiments is a call for censorship or support for murderous thugs who protest my right to say such things, maybe you should move to Iran. You would feel much more at home.

  56. “Chalupa: Whatever”

    Wow, what a scathing rebuttal. I hope you don’t unleash a similar verbal torrent on me.

  57. “iih, I think an additional the goal was to point out the incompatibility between between western cultural traditions and values and a significant portion of the Islamic community. That was certainly made apparent. I do note that in North America there wer no riots, just a lot of teeth gnashing and letters to the editor. That is the traditional western response to an offending publication. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops do it all the time.”

    You seem to be forgetting the Muslims in this country, such as the leadership of CAIR, that spoke the classic “I believe in free speech, but….” line. Implicitly, and sometimes explicitly, stating that blasphemy should not be protected by the first amendment, as more than a few “Muslim civil rights” groups did goes far beyond “teeth gnashing and letters to the editor”. That no major American newspaper published these cartoons shows just how willingly editors caved to the censorious impulses of these lunatics.

  58. “I turned down a very lucrative and prestigious Fellowship (the Orsted Fellowship) at the Danish DTU because I personally felt like I was threatened because I am Muslim (and no, I do not ear a beard, or put on a robe. I am as Western as “a western man can be”). The people who offered me the scholarship were very sorry for the anti-Muslim rhetoric and communicated to me that this is not the kind of Denmark they wanted either (and in fact xenophobic and nationalist at heart, dressed in the name of free speech). I hope Michael Moynihan can read this now.”

    If some drawings in a newspaper and the resultant criticism of the absolutely insane muslim reaction are enough to keep you out of an entire country, you need to get a fucking backbone. After all it could be worse. You could be a jew trying to get a job, or even admittance, to any muslim country in the middle east.

  59. “attacking the Muslim population in Denmark because they could was definitely part of the plan…

    This site is absolutely amazing. For a libertarian website, an awful lot of the commenters here are more PC than the administrations at major universities. We are discussing cartoons for crying out loud. Publishing them was not the intellectual equivalent of Kristallnacht, no matter how much Muslims whine and cry that it is. If Christians behaved in this same paranoid “Us vs. Them” manner every time some hack submerged a crucifix in urine, this country would have collapsed ages ago.

    If ignorant assholes are willing to call for someone’s death over a fucking cartoon, then maybe, just maybe, they deserve the contempt of the public as well as its ridicule. These thin-skinned goons deserve no sympathy, no matter how many sob stories we hear from them or the useful idiots in this country that rationalize their thuggery. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t demand censorship for blasphemy and publicly call for the murder of those who insult Mohammed and Islam and then bitch when someone calls you what you are: irrational bigots. Please spare us the “muslims are so down-trodden” bullshit.

  60. “Shouldn’t Muslims be alarmed, not by his freedom of speech, but by the implications of Hitchens’ speech (see libertarian link)? When you belong to a minority that is under a lot of scrutiny, you ought to be wary.”

    It is fucking impossible to take Muslim commenters on this site, or in this country, seriously. Why? Because they go apeshit over a fucking cartoon in Denmark, but utter nary a word over human rights abuses committed daily in the name of Islam in majority-muslim countries. In many muslim countries you can be executed for apostasy or blasphemy, for homosexuality, for sexual relations with a non-muslim, etc. You can be imprisoned for having a bible, for prosletyzing to muslims, for drinking alchohol, etc. You get the point. But instead of chastisiing their co-religionists, they circle the wagons and cry “xenophobia and racism” whenever anyone else dares to point out how intolerant some of them are. The cartoon episode is a perfect example of this. Instead of stating the obvious, that the protestors were thugs with a penchant for murderous overreaction, we get fed a line of bullshit about how oppressive and anti-muslim liberal democracies are because they didn’t censor a newspaper when it published a set of cartoons. And even more laughable is the absolutely asinine assertion that when some of the cartoonists have to flee or go into hiding the real victims are muslims.

    Until muslims become a little less selectively outraged over human rights abuses involving other muslims, they need to shut the fuck up.

  61. I agree with Mwa p.

  62. Someone like what? Heroic? Honorable? Brilliant? Being the rare human being with the confidence, intelligence and independence not to believe in myths of political corectness or religion?

    Quoted For Hilarity.

  63. highnumber,

    He is a misunderstood genius and a hero to and champion of oppressed white, male college students everywhere.

  64. Fundamentalist Muslims and Christians are meant for each other. FMuslims want to kill people and Christians want to be killed. Okay, old time Christians, back in the day.

    More semi-seriously, writing cartoons or doing documentaries about a faith that has some serious question marks attached (at least as practiced the fundamentalists in their camp – and that’s a pretty large sector) is more about providing opposition, raising awareness, etc. than ‘just pissing people off.’ Hirsi Ali and her filmaker were trying to bring to light the terrible oppression of women in many branches of Islam. It’s easy to sit back in one’s P.C. armchair, thousands of geographical and cultural miles away from the cruelty and oppression, and smugly and magnanimously say that sheiks will be sheiks, let’s have a coke. etc.

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