Dhimmsbury’s Garry Trudeau, the cartoonist who has never offended anyone, weighs in on the Muhammad cartoons and says we should never cause offense to another. From Newsbusters:
Gary Trudeau, creator of the ‘Doonesbury’ comic strip, says cartoonists should draw the line when it comes to offending people. In an interview published in the Santa Barbara Independent:
Q. What did you make of the Danish cartoon mess? I understand that you said you would never play with the image of Allah. But did you feel you should have done so out of a sense of professional solidarity, or to make a statement about freedom of speech?
A. What exactly would that statement be? That we can say whatever we want in the West? Everyone already knows that. So then the question becomes, should we say whatever we want? That, to me, is the crux. Do you hurt people just because you can? Because you feel they shouldn’t be deeply hurt, does that mean they aren’t? Should the New York Times run vicious caricatures of blacks and Jews just to show the First Amendment in action? At some point, common sense and sensitivity have to be brought to bear.
Allahpundit at Hotair has exactly the right riposte (and his original contains many useful links as well):
Yeah, the thing is, not everyone does know that. Or else the Western Standard wouldn’t have been sued and Fallaci wouldn’t have been prosecuted and religious-hate-speech laws wouldn’t have been passed and Theo Van Gogh wouldn’t have been stabbed in the street and the Danish cartoonists wouldn’t have gone into hiding. As for the second bolded statment, lay aside his suggestion that cultural [critics] should censor themselves to suit subjective standards of offensiveness. It’s so stupid, unrealistic, and hypocritical as not to warrant further discussion. The real point, of course, is that the cartoons weren’t self-censored due to “sensitivity;” they were censored due to fear. Comedy Central admitted that flat out when they refused to let South Park show Mohammed, as did Borders when they refused to carry the issue of Free Inquiry magazine that reprinted the Jyllands-Posten cartoons. And now, in Denmark, video of the DPP kids drawing images of Mohammed has been taken offline on the same day that the foreign ministry issued a travel advisory warning Danes to stay out of the Middle East until this blows over….
Exit question for Trudeau: would it make any difference to his free-speech hypothetical if blacks or Jews were threatening to kill Bill Keller if he ran vicious caricatures of them? What would “common sense” counsel in that case?