I’ve been thinking about this lately and just recently became inspired to write…
One thing I’ve noticed since the Danish cartoon thing was huge…it seems to me that some people, in their way, insist that free speech/expression now includes not only saying what one will…but saying ANYTHING one can…just to prove they can. For instance, lets say…well…racist jokes and comments. One is, to some minds, now required to tell these jokes in defense of free speech. Without them, apparently, “the terrorists have won”.
I say, in my defense of free speech, that one is allowed…even encouraged in some areas…to NOT say some things. Just because you can say something does not mean you have to march up to the mountaintop and scream it out for everyone to hear…and do so particularly if individuals or groups of individuals become offended because they have no business stomping all over your rights by being offended. It wrecks the fun.
Really…I am a strong proponent of free speech. So much so that I reserve the right to a/ not say things I don’t want to, b/ differentiate between that which ought to be said in private and that should be said in public, and c/ feel free to tell other people what I think of what they just said (which, frankly, seems to me to be the most forgotten part).
About the Danish cartoons…
I was against the Western Standard’s publication (publicity stunt) of them, but I did buy a copy of this month’s Harper’s magazine. The reason I was against one and for the other? Timing and context. The WS published these cartoons to rub noses in it and to make money. They capitialized on the timing by publishing this particular issue during the riots. And, a visit to the Shotgun Blog will show you that some of this magazine’s readers and blog-commenters have no love for Islam or it’s members and therefore little concern towards both sides of the issue. Harper’s, on the other hand, published them much later…in fact, it’s likely that most people had seen the cartoons by then. They invited that wonderful illustrator Art Spiegelman, the creator of Maus (which, if you haven’t already read, you really ought to), to comment on the merit of each cartoon as a cartoon and rate the offensiveness of each. It was a truly interesting article.
What can I say? One had taste, the other didn’t.