I haven't yet said anything about the Muhammad cartoon controversy because everything that's occurred to me has been stated clearly and effectively by someone else. Something has been festering in the back of my mind (eew) for a few weeks now, but I've only recently figured out what it is.
When much of the Muslim world began to protest the Danish cartoons, newspapers all over Europe republished them, usually claiming that their actions were taken in defense of freedom of expression.* This is nonsense. If they had published the cartoons despite their own
governments' protests, that
would be a move for freedom of expression. When a newspaper prints something in defiance of someone else's government, it's just an attempt to be inflamatory. And really, how hard is it to enrage a radical fundamentalist?
Shooting fish in a barrel unsportsmanlike, unchallenging and, when you think about it, kind of stupid.* This is ironic by itself, as many European countries do not have such a legally protected right. David Irving's status as a criminal is contingent entirely on the fact that publicly stating an opinion can get you sent to jail in Austria, and made somewhat more shocking by the fact that he was tried and sentenced after publicly retracting and renouncing his own denial of the Holocaust.