The Ugly Duckling and the Cartoons

Haven't gotten a chance to read it yet completely, but the Danish Institute for International Studies has put out an intriguing analysis of  the cartoon controversy entitled "The Danish Ugly Duckling and the Mohammed Cartoons".  (The ubiquitious metaphor of the "ugly duckling", if you didn't already know, comes from the timeless tales of Denmark's greatest storyteller, Hans Christian Andersen.  He also wrote other classic and deeply symbolic fairytales like "The Little Mermaid", … [Read more...]

More on the Danish “children’s book” author

A commentor demanded, quite understandably, some links to substantiate my point in the last post on the cartoon affair ("Jyllands-Posten's acrobatics & Salon piece") that  the author of this infamous "children's book" is a well known Muslim-basher rather than a harmless kiddy book author, as Jyllands-Posten keeps implying in its propaganda.  The reason I did not provide more info initially is that there isn't much out there on this … [Read more...]

The cartoon riots compared to America’s race riots

A scholar explores how recent American history proves the wisdom (and ubiquity) of self-censorship in a healthy multi-cultural society.  -----------------------------http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/17/opinion/17Wright.html?_r=1&oref=slogin February 17, 2006Op-Ed ContributorThe Silent TreatmentBy ROBERT WRIGHT THE American left and right don't agree on much, but weeks of demonstrations and embassy burnings have pushed them toward convergence on one point: there is, if not a clash of … [Read more...]

Jyllands-Posten’s acrobatics & Salon piece

Salon has a great piece, aptly entitled "Rotten judgment in the state of Denmark", by an American-based Danish academic, Jytte Klausen. Here's an excerpt: This all would have been very well if the paper had a long tradition of standing up for fearless artistic expression. But it so happens that three years ago, Jyllands-Posten refused to publish cartoons portraying Jesus, on the grounds that they would offend readers. [...] [...] The paper wanted to instigate trouble, just not the kind of … [Read more...]

Pakistanis protesting against cartoons

The grisly show continues, as mobs in Pakistan swing into action to defend the Prophet by...vandalizing businesses in Peshawar.  That'll show those villains at Jyllands-Posten.  I'm reminded a bit of race riots in this country, where rioters often shoot themselves in the foot by trashing shops and other scarce economic infrastructure in their own communities.  The psychological reasons are complex, of course, but it's still tragic. Moreover, with all its economic and political … [Read more...]

“Europe’s Contempt for Other Cultures Can’t be Sustained”

A stimulating analysis of the broader historical backdrop to these clashes, and how little right Europe has to be smug and sanctimonious in all this. Read the whole thing. [HT: Hikm]Europe’s Contempt for Other Cultures Can’t be Sustained: Europe has never had to worry too much about context or effect because for around 200 years it dominated and colonised most of the world. Such was Europe’s omnipotence that it never needed to take into account the sensibilities, beliefs and attitudes of … [Read more...]

Fred Halliday on blasphemy & power

A good article in openDemocracy.net."Blasphemy and power" The theological and historical rhetoric of the cartoon dispute conceals its central message: the creation of a modern, unified field of world politics, says Fred Halliday. … [Read more...]

The idiot cavalry rides again

A newspaper in Egypt has taught the Danes a lesson--that Egyptians can be as stupid as anybody else, I suspect--by running a photo of a belly dancer with Queen Margaret's head superimposed. What a devastating riposte... The tone of the headline ("First picture of the Queen of Denmark") is very tabloidish.  Does anybody know this newspaper? Also, the fonts in the other headlines are too small for me to make out.  Can anybody out there translate the other headlines that … [Read more...]

More on the pig pic

The Danish Muslim delegation disputes the charge, widely made in Denmark, that they misrepresented the case by bogus images in addition to the 12 published by Jyllands-Posten.  They say this was the result of the mistaken distribution of a printout of an email attachment that they'd received.Am not sure whether this addresses all the charges (e.g., I think I saw a different picture, which was considerably worse) or whether this explanation has been rebutted by their Danish critics.Must say … [Read more...]

“Cartoons story uses a tired script”

The author is a good friend of mineCartoons story uses a tired script - baltimoresun.com Americans are thoroughly comfortable with what we know well, such as in thinking that the enlightened West basks in the doctrine of free speech while pious Muslims condemn hate-filled cartoons with violent demonstrations. … [Read more...]