The Way Freedom of Speech Dies

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Time magazine, anyone still reading it?, has a truly despicable piece by Bruce Crumley in which he basically says that “they had it coming” after a French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, was firebombed:

 

Okay, so can we finally stop with the idiotic, divisive, and destructive  efforts by “majority sections” of Western nations to bait Muslim members with  petulant, futile demonstrations that “they” aren’t going to tell “us” what can  and can’t be done in free societies? Because not only are such Islamophobic  antics futile and childish, but they also openly beg for the very violent  responses from extremists their authors claim to proudly defy in the name of  common good. What common good is served by creating more division and anger, and  by tempting belligerent reaction?

The difficulty in answering that question is also what’s making it hard to  have much sympathy for the French satirical newspaper firebombed this morning, after it  published another stupid and totally unnecessary edition mocking Islam. The  Wednesday morning arson attack destroyed the Paris editorial offices of Charlie Hebdo after the paper published an issue certain to enrage  hard-core Islamists (and offend average Muslims) with articles and “funny” cartoons featuring the Prophet Mohammed—depictions forbidden in Islam to boot.  Predictably, the strike unleashed a torrent of unqualified condemnation from  French politicians, many of whom called the burning of the notoriously  impertinent paper as “an attack on democracy by its enemies.”

We, by contrast, have another reaction to the firebombing: Sorry for your  loss, Charlie, and there’s no justification of such an illegitimate  response to your current edition. But do you still think the price you  paid for printing an offensive, shameful, and singularly humor-deficient parody  on the logic of “because we can” was so worthwhile? If so, good luck with those  charcoal drawings your pages will now be featuring.

Go here to read the execrable rest.  Mr. Crumley is a perfect example of what usually passes for journalism in the mainstream media:  politicized pleading for certain favored groups and craven toadying to those who pose any threat to his personal safety.  The committment of too many modern journalists for freedom of expression for anyone who has the audacity to disagree with them, unless they wield bombs and knives, is paper-thin.  I am pleased that the comments to this piece of ripe tripe have been scorching.  I especially liked this one:

That is the whole point of free speech–even vile, ignorant, cowardly speech  like Bruce’s is protected. And Time long ago slid into the progressive tarpit  where the only worthwhile speech needing protection is their speech. Anyone else  not so anointed–meh.     

 

12 Responses to The Way Freedom of Speech Dies

  • Art Deco says:

    About 95% of the responses to the article were negative, some ferociously so. (And the one’s with explatives appear to have been deleted). Most of the remainder were from a social-work type who fancies that Charlie Hebdo is engaging in a form of school ‘bullying’. That is how much rapport a twenty-year employee of Time has with the magazine’s own readership. It is a wonder that these publications have remained commercially viable for as long as they have.

  • c matt says:

    Didn’t read the article (refuse to give TIme hits) but let me get this straight – you mock some group for being so thin skinned that they blow you up simply for mocking them, and when they DO blow you up, thus proving your point, you are somehow wrong or to blame?

  • Dale Price says:

    No, c matt, that’s not what he means. What he means is that if you mock Muslims for being so thin skinned that they firebomb you for mocking them, you’re the one to blame when Muslims firebomb you.

    There’s no other group in his rolodex who gets this infantilizing treatment.

    Sure, he’s a weasel here, but he’s simply making explicit what elite opinionmakers (most recently, pop-biblical scholar Bart Ehrman) have long tacitly conceded.

  • Art Deco says:

    Sure, he’s a weasel here,

    He is not a weasel. He is being an obnoxious scold. If he fancied he would persuade anyone, he is seriously inept at the art of rhetoric. The interesting question is:

    1. Is his social circle so monochromatic that he had no conception he was insulting his readers?; or

    2. Did he fancy his readers needed a tongue-lashing from the principal? (And would sit there and take it?).

    You notice something else? He is the Paris bureau chief. Time used to run one piece of explicit commentary. It ran the full length of the very last page and was commonly penned by a contractor (Barbara Ehrenreich, Charles Krauthammer) rather than someone on the masthead.

  • “Is his social circle so monochromatic that he had no conception he was insulting his readers?”

    “I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.” The late Pauline Kael, long time movie review for the New Yorker, after Nixon smashed McGovern 60-40 in 1972. Never underestimate the thickness of the ideological bubble some of these people live in.

  • Dale Price says:

    Well, the weasely aspect for me is two-fold: one, a brief boilerplate condemnation (“no justification”) in what is clearly a justification for a firebombing. The second is implicit in the faux-broad plea for civility–there’s no way he’d write the same piece if, say, the SSPX had vandalized the magazine’s offices.

    That’s a very interesting catch on the backpage column, moving in-house. I invariably scanned it when I read the magazine, especially for Krauthammer. Maybe it’s part of a workplace PIP now…

  • T. Shaw says:

    More justice for those so unenlightened as to not cave in to the Religion of Paroxysm: “Muslim terrorists in northeastern Nigeria murdered 63 Christians in bomb and gun attacks at police stations and six Christian different churches.”

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