the oh-so-terrible Danish cartoons
The New York Times reported one of the most shameful and contemptible events in Yale’s three century long history.
Here is one of the richest and most prestigious universities in the civilized world piously turning its back on the core Western principles of open exchange of ideas and freedom of expression in order to avert the violence of primitive bigots and fanatics in their barbaric homelands far from New Haven.
If a fraudulent “artist” wanted to submerge the most sacred symbol of the very Christianity which founded Yale in a jar of urine, they’d happily display it in the Yale Art Gallery. If some bolshevik crackpot wrote a play lovingly fantasizing about the assassination of President George W. Bush (Yale ’68), there’d be no problem performing it at the Yale Rep. But derogating anything pertinent to the amour propre of the genuine inferiors of modern European and American civilized humanity is intolerable because it would be violative of the new ultimate and supreme core principle of liberal modernity, the one inevitably trumping any and all other principles and values: ressentiment.
As long as the barbarian comes in the form of the aggrieved Caliban, blaming his condition and violent behavior on the actions and the contempt of the West, there is no length the cowardly intellectual clerisy of today’s establishment will not go to appease him.
Yale University and Yale University Press consulted two dozen authorities, including diplomats and experts on Islam and counterterrorism, and the recommendation was unanimous: The book, â€œThe Cartoons That Shook the World,â€ should not include the 12 Danish drawings that originally appeared in September 2005. Whatâ€™s more, they suggested that the Yale press also refrain from publishing any other illustrations of the prophet that were to be included, specifically, a drawing for a childrenâ€™s book; an Ottoman print; and a sketch by the 19th-century artist Gustave DorÃ© of Muhammad being tormented in Hell, an episode from Danteâ€™s â€œInfernoâ€ that has been depicted by Botticelli, Blake, Rodin and DalÃ.
The bookâ€™s author, Jytte Klausen, a Danish-born professor of politics at Brandeis University, in Waltham, Mass., reluctantly accepted Yale University Pressâ€™s decision not to publish the cartoons. But she was disturbed by the withdrawal of the other representations of Muhammad. All of those images are widely available, Ms. Klausen said by telephone, adding that â€œMuslim friends, leaders and activists thought that the incident was misunderstood, so the cartoons needed to be reprinted so we could have a discussion about it.â€ The book is due out in November.
John Donatich, the director of Yale University Press, said by telephone that the decision was difficult, but the recommendation to withdraw the images, including the historical ones of Muhammad, was â€œoverwhelming and unanimous.â€ The cartoons are freely available on the Internet and can be accurately described in words, Mr. Donatich said, so reprinting them could be interpreted easily as gratuitous.
He noted that he had been involved in publishing other controversial books â€” like â€œThe King Never Smilesâ€ by Paul M. Handley, a recent unauthorized biography of Thailandâ€™s current monarch â€” and â€œIâ€™ve never blinked.â€ But, he said, â€œwhen it came between that and blood on my hands, there was no question.â€
Mattheus van Beveren, Mohammed, leaning on his Koran, Trodden upon by Angels Bearing the Pulpit, Liebefraukirke, Dendermonde, Flanders, late 17th century