February 1, 2006

"Yes, we have the right to caricature God."

That's the headline in France Soir, which has reprinted the Danish cartoons that depict the Prophet Mohammad, along with a new cartoon showing the Gods of various religions saying, "Don't complain, Muhammad, we've all been caricatured here."
[The French newspaper] France Soir said it had published the cartoons to show that "religious dogma" had no place in a secular society.

Their publication in Denmark has led to protests in several Arab nations.

Responding to France Soir's move, the French government said it supported press freedom - but added that beliefs and religions must be respected.
Must? In what sense? Free speech obviously includes the right to express the most severe disrespect for anything at all.
Thousands of Palestinians demonstrated this week in the Gaza Strip, burning Danish flags and portraits of the Danish prime minister.
Fine. More speech. But those threats of violence aren't too smart. You're just giving the cartoonists more fodder.

UPDATE: "The Muslim owner of the France Soir newspaper has fired the Paris newspaper's editor for publishing controversial cartoons making fun of Islam."


Goesh said...

Bully for the Frogs! I was quite surprised to learn of this, and very pleased. I suppose the recent 'days of fire' still burns, no pun intended, in the minds of many French people. I think they connected the islamic fundamentalist mindset to the burning, after all they the French are mostly infidels, and decided they were not going to be intimidated by boycotts and Arab huffing and chest thumping. What gall for the Saudis to be so deeply offended when their religious interpretation does not allow women to vote and drive cars!

Ross said...

I'll go out on a limb and speculate that the sorts of people who issue fatwas calling for the death of cartoonists because of their blasphemy aren't too concerned about what that does to their image among said cartoonists.

More fodder for ridicule? Hey, that's more fodder for fatwas.

brylin said...

Salmon Rushdie and Theo Van Gogh come to mind.

David said...

Shows what happens when you believe your own P.R. The Arabs are their own worst enemy and that will ultimately bring them down.

Truly said...

It looks like the UK won't ban making fun of religion after all: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/31/AR2006013101394.html

(Sorry, I don't know how to do links.)

I agree with goesh--this was really surprising coming from the French.

PatCA said...

Wow, high fives to the French!

It's time we treat Islam with the same respect we treat any other religion...ahem. :)

Simon said...

You'd think that with the continuing wrangling over the formation of a new government (Hamas doesn't want to do it alone, Fatah doesn't want anything to do with Hamas, and the new Israeli prime minister doesn't really want anything to do with either of them) and the imminent collapse of the peace process, the Palestinians would have more pressing things on their mind than minor events in Denmark.

brylin said...

A flicker of optimism of a kind from Claire Berlinski:

"In the war against Islamic radicalism, Europe’s chief weapon will be its enormous seductiveness. While Europe has been home to history’s most extraordinary forms of religious fanaticism, European civilization has also had a corrosive effect on the religious life, whether Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish. There is no reason to expect the Muslim experience to be different. The temptations of Western civilization, as the characters in British novels repeatedly discover, are corrosive … That which disgusts the Islamists—alcohol, promiscuity, faithlessness, decadence—will for many be their undoing. These are what Europe has to sell, and they are commodities that have repeatedly proved more appealing than abstract salvific ideologies—at least, in the long run."

P. Froward said...

Referring to Mohammad as a "god" isn't exactly calculated to soothe Muslim sentiments, is it? Good for them.

Slocum said...

Excellent. I'd very much like to see the cartoons published widely in European newspapers to the extent that it simply won't be possible for the Islamists to protest every one of them. It needs to be made very clear that free speech rights are fundamental in Europe as a whole.

Meade said...

Truly said...
I agree with goesh--this was really surprising coming from the French.

Yes, but don't be too surprised - it came from a French newspaper from which the French government officially distanced itself.

brylin said...

Ann: You didn't include a link to the actual cartoon. Pourquoi?

Elizabeth said...

I agree with goesh--this was really surprising coming from the French.

Really? With the French, we have revolution in common. It wasn't the British that sent us the Statue of Liberty.

Does freedom of speech mean, then, that we have the right to caricature Bush, as well, at his SOTU? If so, why was Cindy Sheehan arrested?

TidalPoet said...

Cindy Sheehan wasn't arrested. Please, research and learn before opening your mouth or typing. She was detained (as was another woman) for wearing a t-shirt that was against the House rules. Try, try, to comprehend.

As to the caricature, I'm sure you aren't actually asking if Bush can be caricatured, since he is, almost daily in major newspapers around the country.

But - it seems other European countries are spreading the love with these cartoons. (LGF has the info)

Susan said...

A flicker of optimism from Claire Berlinski??

A commenter on her article said it best:

"Ms. Berlinski is obviously extraordinarily intelligent. However, her belief that “alcohol, promiscuity, faithlessness and decadence” will carry the day for the West is profoundly disturbing and misplaced. It is exactly these things that will kill ANY society “in the long run” and it is apparent the West has one hell of a head start. “[A]lcohol, promiscuity, faithlessness and decadence” are the exactly the reasons Europeans won’t have a “long run”; the prime example is ethnic European childlessness. Her belief that a totally secular culture will win out “in the long run” is being proved wrong by actual events.

As a broad rule, sobriety, virtue, faithfulness and morals will carry the day every time against its polar opposites; the West must harness its positive attributes to survive the threat of Islamism."

XWL said...

Elizabeth, you know the answer, or at least you should.

(and if that sentenced were vocalized it would be drippingly condescending and patronizing)

Drudge reminds us that protest t-shirts in the gallery of the congress are verbotten, regardless of party.

There were 68 noisy, sparsely attended 'convergences' sponsored by World Can't Wait (old school Maoist, 'nuff said), no (credible) reports of beatdowns and stifling of dissent at anyone of them.

There is a time and a place for that kind of demonstration, Cindy Sheehan knew the rules and broke them, in a childish attempt to make the SOTU all about her. For some she succeeded, for others she demonstrated her profound narcissism once again.

But, for some AmeriKKKa is just another oppressive fascist regime where the foot of 'da man' is always on the throat of the 'oppressed'.

This thread should be about some Europeans finally standing up to the malignancy of Radical Islam within their borders, but that's not possible for everyone I guess.

BDS prevents focusing on the topic at hand. BDS demands that everything is about that eeeevil boooosh.

Gaius Arbo said...

I think this is great. There's also a buy Danish campaign going on in the blogosphere, to offset the threatened boycott of Danish goods.

I posted a link to the cartoons in question myself. I look forward to the fatwa.....

bearbee said...

The Brussels Journal has been following the story with many articles and cartoons

brylin said...

Saudi Arabia and Syria have recalled their ambassadors, and Libya has closed its embassy over the Danish cartoon.

Bomb threats have been received, and several Muslim countries have begun a boycott of Danish produce.

And this is all after the Danish newspaper issued an apology!

And the news is still breaking.

Interestingly, none of the articles reporting on the controversy has published the actual cartoon.

Elizabeth said...

Tidalpoet, can you manage to disagree without telling me to shut my pie hole? Your crassness is no suprise, though, as I see you citing the Little Green Snotball crowd.

Detained, arrested, big difference. She was taken into custody. What about the case of the guy wearing the F*ck the Draft t-shirt into court? Yes, Sheehan is the definition of immaturity, and no hero of mine. But we're awfully puffed up about freedom of speech while we tolerate an administration that has a long history of T-shirt fear. Bush is protected from citizens who disagree with him at every public appearance. That's nothing to be pleased about.

price said...

There's something sort of charming about a culture that will run out into the street yelling and burning things for almost no reason. Charming in a cave man sort of way. Are they really that bored over there? It's a political cartoon in another country! Sometimes when I read our Sunday comics, I want to run out into the street yelling and burning things, but I don't. That restraint is called "civilization."

Susan said...

Elizabeth, The rules of the House are that no signs are allowed and T-shirts are considered signs.

Tidalpoet, Not only was another woman also detained for wearing a T-shirt but that woman was Beverly Young, wife of Rep. C.W. Bill Young of Florida (Republican) chairman of the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee. Her T-shirt read, "Support the Troops Defending Our Freedom."

brylin said...

Susan: That's why I called it a "flicker of optimism of a kind."

freya said...

As someone living in a country where communal tension is rife and religion's not exactly everybody favorite topic..... i can only say that what's important is the West make up its mind about what it wants...

For sometime Bush's wooing the Arabs with promise of money and power and on other days -presumably when the opinion polls drop-

The white house decides to go on the offensive ridculing all islamic fundamentalism... The current government is literally sleeping with the enemy... and hence freedom of speech is only a blanket term that doesn't exist in reality.. Or maybe its the fear -noone wants to piss off the arabs!!

Cat said...

Elizabeth - You can wear a t-shirt that says "F" the draft (I would tell the idiot there is no draft), but if you do, you pay the consequences of doing so in front of say, a judge, who prohibits the use of the "F" word in his court. I would assume, for instance, I would be asked to leave certain restaurants and probably sent home from work for wearing the such a t-shirt or even a blank t-shirt if a dress code applied.

There are limits to speech. Speech that incites, etc. Bush, nor Ashcroft nor anyone else have changed the speech laws.

knoxgirl said...

All this over a couple of cartoons...what a big bunch of babies! Get a hobby or take a valium.

Elizabeth said...

Cat, the case is from 1971, and a courtroom isn't a private business, like a cafe. I always enjoy that phrase "limits to speech" as if the limits are based on sensibilities, not carefully carved necessities, like incitement to riot and child porn. Pissing someone off isn't incitement.

Elizabeth said...

And since I haven't said so yet, bravo for the French, for the Dutch, and for the Norwegians.

beloml said...

Die Welt in Germany has also done the same.

Goesh said...

A newspaper in Italy, Spain and two in Germany have followed. It's just too darn bad most muslim women are not allowed to vote - I think they would vote to end this stupid boycott. Well, they would have to be allowed to drive to get to the polls in many places first before they could actually vote. Oh the many nuances of outrage and offensive behavior.....

Susan said...

I thought "of a kind" meant "somewhat" or "sort of" so that you mildly agreed that what Ms. Belinski was saying was optimistic.

I, and the commenter I quoted, strongly disagreed with Ms. Belinski's statement about the positive effects of the temptations of the West - alcohol, promiscuity, faithlessness, decadence.

brylin said...

Former President Bill Clinton has condemned the cartoons as "appalling" and "totally outrageous."

monkeyboy said...

NRO points out that a man wearing an anti-Clinton t-shirt was removed from the Senate in 1999.

WASHINGTON A Pennsylvania school teacher was yanked out of a VIP Senate gallery and briefly detained last week during the impeachment trial for wearing a T-shirt with graphic language dissing President Clinton.

Now, back on topic. I wonder if there is a difference between the reaction to "P1ss Christ" and these cartoons.

Drew W said...

Cheers to France Soir for supporting free speech in the face of Arab backwardness and sanctimony. Like most people on this thread, I was surprised to see they did it. What was certainly not a surprise was the French government's nebulous, politically correct declaration that "beliefs and religions must be respected." (And why in the world did the French government feel it had to distance itself from an independent newspaper if it really does support press freedom?)

Would an American newspaper ever join in the fun and do what France Soir did? I don't think it's happened yet, but it should. Personally, I'm awaiting a snide, scalding Frank Rich column on the appalling lack of respect for free speech endemic to Arab populations. (They're almost as bad as the FCC!) I'm sure he'll do it. Right after he gets around to writing the one about the assassination of Theo Van Gogh.

Another question you could ask is whether or not Bill Clinton will retract his ludicrous pander in Qatar this week, where he referred to Jyllands-Posten running "these totally outrageous cartoons against Islam."

Simon commented, regarding the Palestinians' general disarray after Hamas' electoral win last week: "You'd think . . . the Palestinians would have more pressing things on their mind than minor events in Denmark." You'd think. But when there are serious political and social problems that need to be responsibly addressed, don't Arab leaders tend to distract their citizenry with cheap symbolic hot-button issues? From what I've been reading, it seems like it still works. (And the loser-left likes to refer to Americans as "sheeple.")

brylin said...

Susan, Personally I'm pessimistic on the ability of European culture to withstand the high fertility rate of their Islam residents.

Given the European less-than-replacement fertility rates, within a couple of generations there will be dramatic change.

See this Mark Steyn article. I have previously linked to it in the comments on this blog, but no one has provided a persuasive counterargument, although some have expressed their dislike of what it says.

brylin said...

First they came for the funny ones

Truly said...


What, exactly, does this have to do with the White House? I imagine that if you asked these cartoonists (comic strippers?) who they disliked more, Bush would come out FAR ahead of radical muslims. I doubt they'd credit him for the idea.

No such thing as bad publicity, I guess--I'd never heard of many of these European newspapers until this little contretemps.

Wurly said...

What a hoot! Saudi Arabia withdrawing its ambassodor over a cartoon, when the Saudis will not allow christians to worship in the country and it is the rare jew (see Thomas Friedman) who is allowed in the country at all. All EU countries and the U.S. should pull their ambassadors from S.A. until that discrimination is outlawed.

Simon said...

Drudge reminds us that protest t-shirts in the gallery of the congress are verbotten, regardless of party.

There is no single "gallery of Congress" - there are the galleries above each chamber. The problem with Drudge's article is that he cites an example where a person was removed from the Senate gallery, seven years ago. To conclude this is a valid comparison without an actual citation to the rule in question, which Drudge doesn't provide, makes two assumptions: first, that the rules governing the House gallery are the same rules that govern the Senate gallery (they aren't necessarily the same at all; each chamber sets its own rules) and second, that the rules in effect today have not changed since 1999. House Rule IV(6) sets the rules for the House gallery, and it says nothing about protest t-shirts.

I'm not defending Sheehan, who I think is almost (but not quite) beyond contempt, but Drudge (as usual) assumes too much.

Freeman Hunt said...

Relevant law to Sheehan ejection?


TidalPoet said...

"Tidalpoet, can you manage to disagree without telling me to shut my pie hole?"

I didn't tell you to 'shut' anything. I asked you to learn before opining as a common courtesy to those of us who have to read what you write. Yes, quoting anything from LGF must make me something in your eyes, of course reading Sullivan, Slate, Althouse, Hewitt, and Powerline all in a row must make me something else, right? Or are you assuming things because you felt defensive? I can't help it if your comment was ignorant.

"as I see you citing the Little Green Snotball crowd"

I didn't cite the "crowd" I cited the links in a single post. Or do you consider reading multiple blogs a sign of crassness?

Susan, yes, I'd read that. I just thought it was interesting that Elizabeth had decided to only read the highlights of incident. She must still believe in the objective standards of the press.

Pogo said...

The radical islamists will abide by the Western concepts of justice and tolerance only when it suits their agenda, and only for themselves.

It would be funny if it weren't so tragic that some Westerners so easily accomodate this obvious ruse. Unlike the Stalinists, the Arabists have discovered how to sell Westerners the rope to hang themselves with: an excessive adherence to ensuring that procedures are followed.

Insufficient attention paid to the foundations of procedural justice, i.e., Western civilization, will only foster its demise.

That is, as has been said, the Constitution is not a suicide pact.

DEC said...

Re: "...it came from a French newspaper from which the French government officially distanced itself."

From the Associated Press: "France Soir, founded in 1944 and now owned by an Egyptian magnate, has been struggling to stay afloat and bring in readers in recent years."

The owner is Egyptian? Egypt is 94 percent Muslim. That adds an interesting angle to the whole story.

Jacques Cuze said...

Sheehan, the mother of a fallen soldier in Iraq who reinvigorated the anti-war movement, was handcuffed and charged with unlawful conduct, according to Capitol Police Sgt. Kimberly Schneider. The charge was a misdemeanor and Sheehan was being released on her own recognizance, Schneider said.

Schneider said Sheehan had worn a T-shirt with an anti-war slogan to Tuesday night's speech and covered it up until she took her seat. Police warned her that such displays were not allowed in the House chamber, but she did not respond, the spokeswoman said.

Let's see tidal flush, she was detained, she was cuffed, she was charged, in what weird world (drudge, limbug, powerbottoms, lgf?) do you live in where this isn't considered "arrested".

You owe Elizabeth an apology, since you are the one short on facts. You owe Ann Althouse and all of her readers an apology for your behavior here this morning.

But you owe me no apology, just an explanation: are you a liar, or just stupid for reading and believing the sources you do? Really, because the rest of the literate world would like to know.

And if you care to read Glenn, you will see the law is behind Cindy Sheehan. As the Bynum court explained: "Believing that the Capitol Police needed guidance in determining what behavior constitutes a 'demonstration,' the United States Capitol Police Board issued a regulation that interprets 'demonstration activity,'" and that regulation specifically provides that it "does not include merely wearing Tee shirts, buttons or other similar articles of apparel that convey a message. Traffic Regulations for the Capitol Grounds, § 158"

So, please, let's hear your apology to Elizabeth.

And Ann, I am sure we would all like to know how you fit last night's arrests, and similarly outrageous behavior from Chez Chimp corresponds with Dear Leader's acceptance of "responsible criticism?"

Well good thing we have Alito who is known for his protection of individual liberty against the government.

RogerA said...

It may be worth repeating p.froward's comment about depicting the Prophet as God--that is really considered blasphemous in Islam--

That said, it would be interesting to see how many of the posters herein have ever spent any time in the Kingdom--I spent a full year there in 1988 when I was between wives and needed lots of money-the money was good, there were hot and cold running nurses, and you got to work those absolutely wonderful people known as Saudis.

For those of you who bemoan loss of liberty in this country, try living in a country that takes your passport when you arrive, issue temporary identify papers, wont take jews in as a matter of course, subject you to arbitrary search and seizure, and even beating my the muttawa's (religious police loosely translated). Its a different world. But as I said, the money was good etc.

Simon said...

Freeman Hunt-
Yes, very. I stand corrected; while it isn't against House rules, it violates 40 U.S.C. §5104(f)(2) ("[a person or group may not] display in the Grounds a flag, banner, or device designed or adapted to bring into public notice a party, organization, or movement").

DEC said...

Roger A: "...it would be interesting to see how many of the posters herein have ever spent any time in the Kingdom..."

I have done a lot of business with most of the countries in the Muslim world for 30 years, Roger. I have visited nearly all of the Muslim nations 20 or more times. I lived in Egypt and in Indonesia.

bearbee said...

no-pasaran brings to memory the 2002(?) cartoon by Doug Marlette A fatwa was issued.

Danish Blog providing commentary on happenings.

Cat said...

Elizabeth, I have no idea what "case" you are talking about with the "f" worded t-shirt.

The court may not be a private cafe, but a judge can kick anyone out of his courtroom he sees fit for say, wearing a baseball hat and refusing to take it off, wearing jeans or a "wife beater" or sleevless tee, ANYTHING that he/she sees as disrespectful to the court room may be barred. He can kick them out for not standing when speaking; for speaking when you should be silent (stifling of dissent!!), for not referring to him/her as "your honor," for any disruption (crying too loudly). The judge rules that roost!

Pogo said...

quxxo, I think Cindy Sheehan should be arrested just for showing up.

So there.

TWM said...

The wife of a Republican Congressman was asked to leave from the SOTU last night:


The difference is she did not argue with the officers and actually left when asked to do so. Cindy refused to comply with their request to cover up or leave, so she was arrested.

And if I recall correctly during the Clinton impeachment a man was also ejected for wearing a t-shirt with a slogan about, well, something Monica did for Bill.

The rules apply to both sides.

Oh, and kudos to the French newspaper people. Are you sure an American doesn't own it?

RogerA said...

DEC--as I recall from one of your posts on another thread you mentioned that--then you understand the role of baksheesh and other interesting aspects of the culture--and I think the posters here could benefit from your observations of the Arabic world.

RaymondW said...

I spent almost a year in Saudi Arabia.

Kinda explains why I think multiculturalism is silly and stupid and why I take such a hard line on islam.

Islam shouldn't be considered a religion in the same way catholicism or scientology or jews-for-jesus are.

Islam is a global killer.

RogerA said...

DEC--nice blog, BTW--brings back memories--do you recall what the arabic word for moonshine was? (apropos your post about drinking bad moonshine)
You really do know the Arab world!!!

Jacques Cuze said...

Pentagon trying to censor top US political cartoonist

The Joint Chiefs of Staff just sent a menacing letter to the Washington Post over a cartoon. AMERICAblog received a copy of the letter at 10AM this morning, but as its veracity was not yet confirmed, we waited until E&P was able to confirm that is is for real.Here's the letter the Joint Chiefs of Staff wrote to the Post.

And why not have the Pentagon try to stifle a free media while supposedly promoting freedom in Iraq? The US government just arrested one of President Bush's top political critics for threatening his life with a t-shirt. So why not now threaten a top political cartoonist for drawing a cartoon that the Pentagon doesn't like? Why not use the power of government to try to censor the media, something that's a direct violation of that pesky and quaint 1st Amendment to the US Constitution - you remember, that document the Bush administration doesn't think is relevant.

I have no problem with citizens speaking out about political cartoons they find offensive - hell, we've done it recently with the anti-gay cartoon in the Post. But when the government does it, that's a whole other story that smacks of censorship, especially when that government is the Pentagon threatening you during wartime.

Over to you Ann, this would make for a nice bridge to a post from you supporting Cindy Sheehan and Tom Toles freedom of speech.

Ann Althouse said...

Are people being mean to each other in here?

How did Cindy Sheehan become the topic? Me, I've avoided talking about her -- for exactly the same reason I avoided talking about what Ann Coulter said about Justice Stevens. These people are big attention seekers. They get you to talk about them. I do think it's stupid to arrest Sheehan, because it gives her even more attention and a basis for claiming victimhood. I don't think it does Democrats any good to have her being the center of attention. Were her rights violated? It depends on whether there was a neutral policy -- a dress code of some sort.

Ann Althouse said...

Re depicting the Prophet as God: the newspaper doesn't do that. Reread the article. It has made a new cartoon full of caricatures of God, and the Gods are talking to Mohammad.

anonlawstudent said...

I think it's unfortunate that people exploit the permissiveness of a free speech regime to disrespect others. Out of respect for the sensibilities of others, I decline to participate in ridiculing thier religion publically; no matter how rediculous or offensive I regard it when in private. As for those people who feel at liberty to show their lack of class in public, I wan't nothing to do with them. I find their conduct distasteful.

RogerA said...

anonlawstudent: could you be a bit more explicit? I lost you.

Quxxo: you may find this hard to understand, but the joint chiefs are serving flag officers--they have spent most of their military careers with soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines--they really do care if they perceive someone is denigrating their charges--I think their letter was justified, and I think the cartoon in question was extraordinally tacky.

Elizabeth said...

TWM: the congresswoman's wife did leave, but not until calling the officer who asked her to an idiot. I don't think either woman should have been asked to leave, and if it's a law behind it, it's a lousy law. Same for the guy who had the Clinton insult on his shirt. Our politicians should be able to take the heat.

RogerA, I would very much not like living under the conditions you describe in Saudi Arabia. But I don't hold that list as the benchmark we have to hit here before we can be concerned about loss of liberty.

Ann, I'm apologize for having steered off topic.

anonlawstudent said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
anonlawstudent said...

I simply think that the cartoonists display poor taste and boorishness by being disrespectful of other people's religious sensitivities. They can say whatever they want, but who wants the company of people who act like nine-year-old boys?

RogerA said...

Elizabeth--you are, of course correct--loss of liberty is a relative thing--what folks in the united states think is a loss of liberty is one thing--what passes for liberty in other countries is something all together different.

What I was trying to suggest was the idea of liberty is genuinely different between countries--and for those of us who hold some absolute standard, then that standard certainly wont pass muster in more fundamentalist countries--and having said that: whose standard is operative? and whose standard are you willing to support?

Having lived in a genuinely autocratic and oppressive country for a year, there is NOTHING that goes on in the United States that approaches the level of control that other nations impose on their citizens. Thats my perspective, and I frankly dont care what other folks think--

TWM said...

What? Mean? I'm not being mean. (Looks sheepishly as Professor Althouse and her ruler.)

DEC said...

Roger A: "...do you recall what the Arabic word for moonshine was?"

The Egyptians call the stuff "Booza." I don't know if the Gulf Arabs use the same word.

Booza is a knockoff of Sudanese beer with the kick of Yukon Jack. I think the Egyptians make it from moldy bread.

I drink Remy Martin. The whole world is the same if you have enough money in your pockets.

misterfed said...

The attempted parallel to the Pentagon's letter about the Tolles cartoon -- rather hysterically portrayed on Americablog, as someone posted earlier -- really doesn't work. It might if the Pentagon were taking official action. But they aren't. They're, at worst, trash-talking. Unless you accept the proposition that only government critics and not the government get to enter the marketplace of ideas, there's no basis in reason to call that censorship.

EddieP said...

Kudos to the French and other European papers for publishing the cartoons. The Islamonazis look for ways to be offended, and that offends me. I guess that means we're even. Still waiting for the cartoon showing the relationship between Mohammed, his goat, and nine year old wife. Wait, that wouldn't be a cartoon, it would be a family portrait.

Goatwhacker said...

And why not have the Pentagon try to stifle a free media while supposedly promoting freedom in Iraq? The US government just arrested one of President Bush's top political critics for threatening his life with a t-shirt. So why not now threaten a top political cartoonist for drawing a cartoon that the Pentagon doesn't like? Why not use the power of government to try to censor the media, something that's a direct violation of that pesky and quaint 1st Amendment to the US Constitution - you remember, that document the Bush administration doesn't think is relevant.

Did this guy even read the Joint Chiefs letter? How can he characterize it as censorship, threatening or "stifling a free media"? Government officials aren't supposed to respond to published material?

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sonicfrog said...

How about Jedi's. Someone, somewhere will be offended by this.

XWL said...

Any praises to the France Soir's show of solidarity need to be immediately rescinded.

They fired the editor who posted the cartoons and issued an apology.

Never underestimate a Frenchman's willingness to surrender.

What will an Islamist friendly Vichy government look like?

As far as false moral equivalency goes, here's the Tom Toles cartoon and Joint Chief's response.

That's not a murderous fatwa I see, but instead a heartfelt wish for some compassionate restraint. But then I suppose in Quxxo's world Harry Belafonte's completely correct in saying Pres. Bush is the world's worst terrorist.

Gaius Arbo said...


Your hostile and threatening use of heavily armed squirrels shows your complete lack of regard for the first amendment. In addition, nowhere in the constitution does it mention the right to keep and arm rodents. For shame on you. I shall immediately inform both Juan Cole and Kos. They shall thrash you, you misbegotten rodent abuser.

Jacques Cuze said...

I am not saying there is a moral equivalency at all. I am noting how all you folks (and so many of you are lawyers too!) are blind to any similarities.

Women get thrown out of Bush's SOTU. If this had happened under the Clenis, you would have been up in arms. One woman is handcuffed for nothing more than wearing a tee-shirt, something expressly allowed by a court decision. She is charged with a misdemeanor. She peacefully is taken out by armed guards. The other woman, a republican, calls the cops idiots, and she is not arrested, but is allowed to leave by herself. And all you blind, deaf, dumb, and stupid followers can't fall over yourselves quickly enough to excuse the behavior of Bush and his cops, and immediately start comparing the wearing of a tee-shirt to unfolding a banner. Yes, in Ann Alithouse's world and her echo-chamber of lawyers all concerned about individual liberties, wearing a tee-shirt is the same as unfolding a banner, and when you are arrested at a tax payer funded, constitutional SOTU that you were invited to and were acting appropriately at, you can expect the nearby con law professor to state, "were her rights violated? depends on if there was a dress code." And yet the con law prof blogger babe doesn't bother citing article and verse to back her self up.

And one group of religious leaders gets upset with a cartoon about themselves, and another group of military leaders gets upset with a cartoon about their leader, Donald Dumsfeld. Of course, they know they can't use threats, and they know they can't say they are really upset about how the Dumsfeld was treated, so they threaten obliquely, I mean, who has more power than the joint chiefs? And I'm sorry, even a seventh grader analysing this cartoon would understand who is being mocked here, and it is not the soldier in the bed.

But the lawyers an Ann Alithouse's are again all quick to not get it.

Aren't you all supposed to be the it-getters? The It-girls?

Your behavior in this blog and in our courts is tasteless.

SlipperCheese, you too.

I have to run to Costco before they close, enjoy your rationalisations and take heart that one day, when brain transplants become a reality, you folks will all have a big asset: big brains rarely used.

XWL said...

Sonicfrog, maybe you can get some of these folks to issue a fatwa (or the Jedi equivalent) against you.

I'm sure you're sitemeter would blow up if they do.

(and here's a more recent article about the phenomenon)

miklos rosza said...

I don't want to be on quxxo's team even when I agree with him. He's too boring and self-righteous. And the constant, neverending namecalling is like being around someone with Tourette's.

anonlawstudent said...


If she had been "wearing nothing but a t-shirt" as you put it, there would have been a bigger reaction in congress than we got.

David53 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
David53 said...

quxxo, it appears that you have had a rough day. I hope you bought some comfort food at Costco.

sippican, I enjoy your posts.

Ann, this is the best blog site I have found. Keep up the good work.

SippicanCottage said...

This is going to sound silly, but I actually think I'm starting to take a shine to quxxo.

I refuse to answer to slipper cheese though, I'm mosquito house dammit!

I thought there was a kind of was kind of... (I'm searching for the bon mot; or is it le mot juste? well, quxxo will know, he knows everything.) childish simplicity to the statement:

"I mean, who has more power than the joint chiefs?"

To do what, exactly? Carpet bomb my swamp if I let the flag touch the ground at taps? Moon me? What exactly could they do to you, if you made them angry? Are they going to drive over to your house and hold you down and take turns inflicting paper cuts on you with their yellowed exams from the War College from 1963? I mean what exactly, can they do to you? Mustard gas on your Fenway Frank if you show your face at Fenway Park? Time to adjust the tinfoil. Perhaps a chinstrap is in order.

The letter itself speaks volumes about what the joint chiefs of staff can do. Nothing. Except perhaps appeal to the ink-stained wretch's better side. Which they did. Which I could have told them was a waste of time. This is likely the guy's better side.

The guy will get a raise. Quxxo gets a rise. The poor fellow in the bed without the limbs, secure in the knowledge that his sole purpose in life to many people is to act as political furniture to attack Donald Rumsfeld, well, we don't know what he thinks, do we?

Pastor_Jeff said...


In the name of all that's decent and holy, please stop! I cannot recall when I have laughed out loud so much in recent memory. My sides are literally hurting - and from only two posts. It's frankly painful to watch you match wits with an unarmed opponent, as they say. 6-0, 6-1, 6-0. Game, set and match - Sippican Cottage.

1 game point for "Slipper Cheese," though - that was inspired.

Gaius Arbo said...

Ms. Althouse, please forgive this swerve off-topic.

quxxo, as the father of a soldier about to deploy for his second tour, please let me ask you something. Regardless of whether you agree with the war, regardless of how you feel about the military, do you honestly believe using the image (badly drawn as Toles' cartoons always are) of a soldier with quadruple amputations is legitimate? Do you honestly think that using the image of a severely wounded person - even in cartoon form - is something to make a cartoon out of? Do you honestly believe that Toles' right to draw such trash outweighs the duties of common human decency?

If you do, you are a complete waste of oxygen, beneath contempt and a waste of time to talk to. As I expressed in my own, personal letter to the editor of the WaPo.

The Joint Chiefs have EVERY right to deplore the horrible, sleazy mockery that Toles indulged in. That the WaPo is not now a smoking crater speaks directly to your inane charges. They did not threaten, they told the editors, in much more restrained words than they deserved, what they thought of the disrespect shown to wounded soldiers.

Have a nice life.

Elizabeth said...

tidalpoet--have you been keeping up with your reading? Sheehan was arrested; don't bother apologizing, we both know you were wrong. And the Capitol Police have now stated that neither Sheehan nor Beverly Young should have been removed. Wow. Exactly what I argued.

Elizabeth said...

XWL, I don't mind your dripping condescension, as long as you wipe up after yourself. It leaves a trail.

paulfrommpls said...

Isn't quxxo a female? I seem to recall that from some time in the past.

Jacques Cuze said...

Police apologize to Sheehan, drop charges

Police apologize to Sheehan, drop charges

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Capitol Police dropped a charge of unlawful conduct against antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan today and offered apologies to her as well as a congressman's wife after they were ejected from President Bush's State of the Union address for wearing T-shirts with war messages.

Police removed Sheehan and Beverly Young, the wife of Rep. C.W. "Bill" Young, R-Fla., from the visitors gallery Tuesday night. Sheehan was taken away in handcuffs before Bush's arrival at the Capitol and charged with a misdemeanor, while Young was not arrested.

Capitol Police did not explain why Sheehan was arrested and Young was not. However the unlawful conduct charge against Sheehan was being dropped, according to Deputy House Sergeant of Arms Kerri Hanley. And in a private meeting Wednesday, Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer apologized and planned to issue a statement, Rep. Thomas told reporters.

"They were operating under the misguided impression that the T-shirt was not allowed," Hanley said today. "The fact that she (Sheehan) was wearing a T-shirt is not enough reason to be asked to leave the gallery, or be removed from the gallery, or be arrested."

So I wait for all you nutjobs to apologize to Ann and to Elizabeth and to all of us for claiming a) that Sheehan wasn't arrested and b) a tee-shirt is some form of demonstration, and c) ooh, how much law you all know and d) for believing the crap you hear from limbug.

And Ann A, shame on you for equating a mother whose son died in your defense who acts to question authority and stop what she feels is madness with Ann C, who has encouraged violence against others including the poisoning of one of the Supremes.

Justice is blind. It doesn't excuse all of you for being willfully deaf and dumb.

Correction: "SlipperCheese" was a mistake on my part during typing, in trying to achieve my understanding of Cockney Rhyming Slang, I had intended to write "SlipperyCheese" which isn't nearly such a gross thing to think about as SlipperCheese. My apologies to all involved.

Now back to your regularly scheduled paean to CINC Cuckoo-Bananas, already in progress.

Palladian said...

quxxo, you and Cindy Sheehan have a lot in common. You both are parasitic attention seekers who seem to have made a career out of showing up everywhere and trying to get the spotlight to turn upon you. Everyone and their parrot has heard what you have to say and what Cindy Sheehan has to say, again and again, and the majority has, again and again, rejected that message. How many years will Sheehan and her defenders use the body of her dead son to shield her from criticism?

You always remind me of the comments policy at volokh.com, which reads in part:

"Our goal is to provide an interesting and pleasant environment that can help inform readers. To do that, we'll occasionally have to exercise our editorial discretion. Think of this as an in-person discussion group, where having different voices is critical to a great conversation -- but where sometimes the leader has to deal with cranks who sour the conversation more than they enliven it."

I'm not trying to tell Ann how to run her blog, I think she does a great job. She just has a much lighter touch in dealing with cranks that I would. You seem to deliberately sour every post you comment on. I don't know what you think this accomplishes, hell, maybe you do it just to screw things up. But I wish you would stop. There are a lot of interesting people who write things here, and I'd like to be able to have conversations with them without you howling in with your weblog comment equivalent of Sheehan's tshirt on every damned post.

TidalPoet said...

Elizabeth, I apologize. I was incorrect in my earlier statements and hope you forgive my arrogant tone.

qux, I don't blush when I make mistakes, I admit them and do my best to make sure they are not repeated. You should try it sometime. Soon.

Elizabeth said...

Tidalpoet, thanks, I accept it and in turn regret my language in responding. No doubt we'll irritate one another again, and if we're lucky, with more humor and less rancor.

Johnny Nucleo said...

I'm facinated by Quxxo! I can't help it. He's gotta be pulling our leg. Is it possible? Why not?

Quxxo! Oh, Quxxo!

How did he find this place? Why this place? He loves the attention, obviously. Is this where he gets his fix? Are there other places? He takes a lot of abuse here. Does he like it? Why? (He sees himself as a martyr) It's facinating!

I think he's pulling our leg.

Quxxo, you must blog! Do you have a blog? Please start one. I will read it every day. I'm being serious here, I'm not being sarcastic. You are spectacularly entertaining. I want to know your opinion on everything. I'm begging you. Please! Don't make me beg.

Another idea. As much as I love Quxxo, he has a tendancy to hijack threads. This is not his fault; it is his gift. But what if there was a special Quxxo Corner, where Quxxo could just rock out? This would give us Quxxo Fun, but without all the hijacked threads. I'm just spitballing here, it's probably completely undoable.

But please, Ann, do not ban Quxxo under any circumstances. If you strike him down, you will make him more powerful than you can possibly imagine.

Eli Blake said...

Gaius Arbo:

Whether we are talking about the amputee cartoon or the Muhammad cartoons,

We essentially have two choices as a society. Either we put up with anything (including what might be offensive to some people) or we appoint censors. Now, that is the much more dangerous option. Then you have to ask questions including:

Who are the censors? Who appoints the censors? How much authority do they have? What standards should they use? Who decides what those standards are? Are they subject to review or oversight, and if so by whom?

You see, all of these measurements are subjective. There are certainly things which offend me but wouldn't offend you, and certainly the reverse.

If we agree to allow what people want to put into print without censorship, we have a set standard (and it doesn't prevent people or institutions from implementing their own standards, specific to them). But decide we need to censor one thing, and then all of those questions start being asked, and the answers will sooner or later be unacceptable to many people.

Gaius Arbo said...


You misunderstand me, I think. I did not say the WaPo and Toles did not have a right to publish, nor did I say that a censor need be appointed. Nor would I agree with penalizing them.

What I - and the Joint Chiefs - did is express our disapproval of the content. This is how a dispute like this is properly handled. I did not issue a fatwa, I did not burn a flag, I did not kill anyuone. Nor did the Joint Chiefs.

This is not a double standard - had the Joint Chiefs actually called for LEGAL suppression of the cartoon, I would have raised my voice against that.

A common mistake I see out there these days is the assumption (quite wrong) that "freedom of speech" means freedom from responsibility. It does not. Nor does any one person's right to free speech trump another's. I believe the WaPo had the right to publish what they did. I also happen to think it was tasteless, disrespectful and wrong. And I told them so.

Had the muslims offended by the cartoons simply expressed their displeasure that would have been one thing. Instead they are calling for a minimum of government
suppression, but more importantly, they are issuing death threats, rioting, calling in bomb threats and burning flags.

Can you see that these are not the same responses whatsoever?

Pogo said...

Eli is on to something.

The abuse of freedom and slide into decadence have long been recognized as the very dangers to a free society that foster its own demise, likely to a totalitarian force.

The multi-culti-diversity bandwagon nearly resulted in a new law in England banning speech that mocks religion (really, just Islam; mocking Jesus has always been permitted). It's already impermissible in Canada for religious leaders to speak against homosexuality.

It is a conundrum, to be sure. Free speech equals eventual offense given. Where to draw the line? And inveighing against an intolerant, murderous, and fascist form of Islam incites a battle that the West would prefer to avoid. Do we capitulate, only to fight another day? Or stand our ground, knowing the fight is inevitable?

It is far too easy to support the Tole/Sheehan juvenile ache for the spotlight. The only consequence is a really harsh memo from the Pentagon, and a mistaken arrest. It is far harder to demand acquiescence from hardline Islamic thugs who actually will kill you when your speech offends.

bearbee said...

Except for the tendency by some posters to wordiness, I find comments on this blog relatively civil in contrast to other blogs that countenance stridently hate filled rhetoric.

quxxo: "......whose son died in your defense...."

Interesting phrasing considering that the anti-war community seem to view the events in Iraq as the usual US imperialistic impulse.

Eli B: "Who are the censors?"

Public opinion.... eventually it will force the issue one way or the other.

Pogo said...

"...the tendency by some posters to wordiness"

Quel? Moi?? Non! Comment absurdes!

Henry said...

I'm facinated by Quxxo! I can't help it. He's gotta be pulling our leg. Is it possible? Why not?

I'm beginning to think that Quxxo is an artificial intelligence robot. To create simulcrum of actual thought, the Quxxo robot searches all the postings on Althouse looking for keywords like "Alito" or "NSA" or "Sheehan". It then spiders liberal blogs to pull in long quotes that seem to pertain to the subject. Out of the laziness of the programmers, the robot is unable to parse sentences and only recognizes paragraph stops. That is why the quotes are always so long.

As this strategy does wear thin, the Quxxo robot has several defense mechanisms. One is the general accusation that Althouse is an "echo chamber." Another is that other posters "don't understand satire." Alternative versions of such phrases are extracted from the program's rhetorical overreach database that, apparently, is rarely refreshed.

Finally, the robot relies on a library of rhetorical questions to mimic the appearance of thought. This last mechanism is quite useful for long comment threads. By posting uninteresting questions, often directly to "you, a law professor, Ann Althouse," the Quxxo spider can repost further on in the thread with a stock complaint that no one is responding to its arguments.

Because it's an "echo chamber" out there.

Pastor_Jeff said...


Of course, from Q's standpoint, we're all part of the Rethuglican echo chamber, so maybe we're all Rove-bots!

Recently, I ran across a blogger who created "The Autorantic Virtual Moonbat: The insane left-wing robot who hates you!"

It's a little bit of html code that strings together random left-wing talking points with appropriate expressions of outrage and disgust. It's uncanny how realistic it sounds.

A few samples:

"I reject profits and destruction. Shrub caused hurricane Katrina by deforesting the wetlands in Afghanistan!!! If you aren't angry about this Murderer-in-Chief, then you are a Rechimplicker!!"

"Say no to saber-rattling and neocolonialism! Say no to our government of the theocrats, by the neocons, and for the Homeland Security Department!! I reject war!"

"I take it you haven't read "Marching to Bicycle Paths in Roswell," by Arianna Huffington! Likudnik!!"

vw: oaxsbag. A Mexican big mouth.

Freeman Hunt said...

I looked at the cartoons, and I can't say that I "get" all of them. I guess my Danish/French sense of humor is lacking.


I thought this one was clever:


I agree with Ann that acting crazy about this only gives the cartoonists more fodder.

in_the_middle said...

i had to dig and dig and dig and finally go to the loudmouths to find the actual cartoon (michell malkin, thank you).

is it me or is everyone CHICKEN to post the cartoons? mainstream media? ann? even some of the posters here who say they have it up on their blog actually do not.


if we're so full of solidarity, so protective of free speech, then WHY CAN'T I FIND THIS ON ANY NEWS SITE IN THE US?

just wonderin...

in_the_middle said...

okay ,i see the links have finally been offered up (by the post above mine) here. bravo.

fatwas be damned, indeed. i hear rushdie gets 20% off at AMC theatres; it can't be all bad.

Freeman Hunt said...

What is this supposed to be a drawing of?


PatCA said...

"How did Cindy Sheehan become the topic?"

Because talking about oppression by Islamic radicals takes us away from the real issue of the 21st century: Bushitler!

Walter said...

As far as the WAPO cartoon that Q talks about and the claim to censorship, I wish he would not throw words around without knowning/using them correctly. The JCS sending a letter to the WAPO saying that the cartoon was in poor taste is not censorship. In the letter itself the JCS says that the WAPO has the right to say what they want. It expresses the distaste that the JCS had for the item. Do members the government not have the right to send a letter to editor of a paper that makes a tasteless critism/insult of thier employees?

What worse, the cartoon is very misleading. From the followup that the WAPO had about the JCS, the author says that cartoonist got the idea about hearing Rumsfeld discribe the Army as being battle hardened by the Iraq war. The number of soldier that died in Iraq is ~2200, which is actually very light compared to most wars. To compare the Army to a quad amp. is wildy overstate the death/damage that has been done to the Army.

Elizabeth said...

Pat, the topic is free speech. It's not a "Bushitler" stretch to raise an example of restricting free speech in the U.S. while we applaud it abroad. Does coming up with dismissive little "Bushitler" witticisms make it easy for you to ignore the infringement of personal liberty in the U.S.?

bearbee said...

UN to Investigate Racism of Danish Cartoonists

Wormie said...

If western countries can ban Martin's Scorsese's depiction of Jesus as a normal man with sexual desires in the Last Temptation of Christ on grounds of blasphemy, then the same western countries should also ban publications of the caricatures depicting Prophet Mohammad. If they don't, then the question is not one of freedom of speech but one of respect and human rights!

For the record: On 1988, October 22, a French catholic fundamentalist group launched molotov cocktails inside the Parisian saint Michel movie theater to protest against the film projection. This terrorist attack injured thirteen people, four of them where severely burned.

Just tell me which religion has no extremist?

All religions are good, its the people that make them bad!

paintedgoat said...

Just to set the record straight, the owner of France Soir is an expatriate Egyptian Coptic Christian, not a Muslim.