Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Censorship, editorial cartooning and Europe's crazed Imams

In the coming Post Literate Era, public education will emphasize verbal and visual forms of communication, and the wired world is expected to be fully navigable by spoken command. In that high speed global community most forms of censorship will involve the banning of unacceptablee images. If some shudder today at the careless display of a swastika or a burning cross, that will count as nothing in a world patrolled by the agents of Image Control.

Censorship and NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC magazine, October 2008The October 2008 edition of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC had a full page on the contagion of worldwide censorship. Today we abide the incessant protests of the faint of heart or the faux of heart, condemning the most innocuous of words or phrases. Too often it leads to the murder of those who spoke or wrote blasphemy.
Kurt Westergaard, Danish CartoonistDanish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard has been thrust once again into the spotlight wielded by Europe's crazed imams. Why? Simply because some of his cartoons have been selected to enhance a Danish journalist's book of essays.
ROUGHLY SAID, Lars Hedegaard's book on Free Speech Lars Hedegaard's new book GROFT SAGT or "ROUGHLY SAID" is a collection of his hundred best columns. [ ISBN 13: 9788792417015 ] The fact that it is illustrated with 26 Kurt Westergaard cartoons has Europe's Muslim politicians frothing mad once again. Not one Danish publishing company had the guts to print it, forcing a Danish Free Speech association to step up to the plate.

Muhammed with a bomb for a brain - cartoon by Kurt WestergaardThis is one of the Westergaard cartoons in Jyllens Posten which in 2006 led to rioting, arsons and murder. In fact the anarchists bomb metaphor enjoys a 130 year tradition in European graphics and even school kids in North America recognize it from the Spy vs Spy strip in MAD magazine.

Adolph Hitler with a Bomb for a brain - cartoon by Kurt Westergaard
And what of the offending subject matter in the twenty six Kurt Westergaard cartoons? Bare breasted women in the company of the sacred prophet, several bombs in turbans, (now a Westergaard trademark) Muslims with multiple wives, U.S. President George Bush as a Muslim with crossed fingers, assorted Christian priests, European political figures, examples of divine intervention, Hitler as a taxi driver, etc, etc. Nothing with the power to arrest our planet in its solar orbit, but enough to inflame those who view the world through the lens of Medieval texts.

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