But seriously, what point was there to do this other than pure attention-mongering? Yes, I know, it’s a statement of principle that reaffirms the freedom of the press in the United States. That’s fine, it’s a good principle. But who really thought it was in jeopardy? Mature people realize that part of having a right is being intelligent about exercising it. Of course, the other argument is that the cartoons have a powerful political point – that they are witty or important observations of the realities of “Muslim extremism.”
First of all, no, they’re not. None of them are particularly insightful as individual political statements; they range from sarcastically self-referential to downright meaningless. Second of all, was the Salient really worried that we hadn’t heard this profound set of ideas? Were they worried that the Harvard political community hadn’t noticed the massive international debate, protest, deaths and diplomatic stress? Please.
Again, because I fear that some people might spin my thoughts into a defense of the violent outrage, let me be clear: the Salient can print whatever it wants, the Danish newspapers should be able to print whatever they want. The Danish papers, though, could at least make the claim to starting a relevant and difficult political debate to justify being offensive. The Salient is just looking for a few more readers, a lot more attention, and a lot of liberal outrage. In some ways, I guess this post gives them what they want. Unfortunately, I’m not outraged that they printed them, I’m just disappointed that their sophomoric stunts have reached a new low.