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Killed Cartoons book killed cartoons

Kathleen Parker, a syndicated columnist, writes about some irony regarding the newly published “Killed Cartoons” in which the publisher killed a 2002 cartoon by Doug Marlette depicting a jihadist driving a Ryder retnal truck with a nuclear bomb in the back with a caption that read: What Would Mohammad Drive?

From her column:

Editors and publishers, including Norton President Drake McFeely, typically explain their decision not to run certain cartoons with arguments about responsibility and sensitivity. McFeely said Norton’s decision was based on sensitivity to the political environment: “We blinked at that one, but we did not blink on the other 282 pages of cartoons.”

Marlette, a Pulitzer Prize winner, isn’t known for taking prisoners.

“I wonder how Norton authors like Sigmund Freud, whose books were burned by the Nazis, or feminist Adrienne Rich’s burqa-averse poetry would fare with the Muslim censors and Norton’s editorial appeasers,” he said.

“Norton has no moral obligation to risk the lives of their employees to publish a cartoon, but they should acknowledge they killed the cartoon because they were frightened for their lives because of a drawing and didn’t want their offices bombed.”

Many doubtless would agree with Norton’s decision, figuring that the possibility of mortal threat is a pretty good reason not to publish a controversial cartoon. But, in fact, it is the very reason to publish.

Not to be gratuitously in your face, but to be purposefully in your face. To make clear that free speech – even drawn opinion – not only trumps special interests but also requires a bold and sometimes insensitive defense.

Instead, by capitulating to intimidation (even if we call it sensitivity), we embolden the forces that have no interest in freedom. We telegraph to Islamist totalitarians, whose ultimate goal is subjugation of the West, that death threats and riots will silence us into submission – the literal meaning of “Islam.”

In the country that helped midwife free speech into civilization, that may be the definition of irresponsible.

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