I’m not sure who the guy is, but I can say he is an idiot.
The idiot in question is Eric Bates, Executive Editor at First Look Media. The original MSNBC source is here, the excerpt starts at 7:27.
He’s an idiot on at least two fronts. Comparing a lawsuit to what happened in Paris pretty much guarantees he’s an utter moron, but the icing on the cake is the implied statement that the only reason the lawsuit was filed was religious in nature. As if celebrities don’t file lawsuits all the time for perceived slander.
DISCLAIMER: No one should get shot for a cartoon, no matter what.
This may not be the time to really start the discussion, but there’s an irony to the whole thing in that if a right leaning publication put out half of the things that Charlie Hebdo did, the left would go apoplectic. While Islam needs (aside from the Gospel) to get its house in order, I don’t see the practical benefit of pissing in all Muslim faces with images stylistically indistinguishable from Nazi anti-Jewish propaganda, let alone the moral justification. Satire is useful (to a degree) when targeting specific, localized mechanisms of power, but when you’re talking to a billion people, you need nuance, encouragement of community and interpersonal relationships across idealogical lines.
What worries me is how this is hardening the hearts of the entrenched secularists. I’ve seen articles PRAISING the idea of blasphemy-in-general as some kind of sacred duty of the “enlightened,” and France is already fringing the lines of what freedom of religion means legally. I don’t have any kind of blanket condemnation for any broad measure taken to counter violent people in order to protect society, but the Christian love of the enemy involves voluntary suffering, extreme self-examination and radical forgiveness. This represents a critical fracture between duty to the good and hiding behind rights-language.
I agree that the guy is an idiot. Changing to a different but related topic, James McGrath posted some interesting statistics on what he calls a double-standard: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2015/01/double-standard-on-religious-violence.html
Jerry Coyne’s January 9, 2015 blog post entitled, “The Guardian joins the roll of cowardly papers”, nicely displays Coyne’s thinking skills. “The only reason you wouldn’t do that [ie re-print the offensive Charlie Hebdo cartoons], as a newspaper, is if you’re afraid of the consequences.” The only reason? The one reason? Hmm.
In addition to the single reason the Guardian gave, and to the one reason Coyne gave, I can add another two obvious reasons straight away, based on my knowledge of British law.
The first is, that every employer, the Guardian included, has a duty of care to ensure the health, safety and welfare of its employees, of other workers on the premises, and of any members of the public. Every manager, at every level, has the duty to identify, assess, and so far as is reasonably practicable avoid or reduce, any immediate or potential risks. “We wanted to stick up two fingers to really annoy armed fanatics” is unlikely to wear well in court when first the police officers at the door have been killed, then numerous employees, and possibly a number of bystanders also.
Does the USA not have similar laws and practices?
The second is, the British culture and legislation ensuring equality and diversity in the workplace would prevent The Guardian from, say, including in their in-house magazine any cartoons which will obviously offend particular ethnicities or cultures: if you cannot publish the cartoons in-house, what are you doing publishing them publicly.
I look forward to Coyne denouncing his university and its student union for not publishing the cartoons in their next newsletters to staff and students; or announcing he has successfully campaigned for their inclusion. He wouldn’t want to be double-faced, would he.
The Guardian doesn’t give either of those reasons, pointing out instead, and as a reason wholly sufficient in itself, that “defending the right of someone to say whatever they like does not oblige you to repeat their words. Each and every publication has a different purpose and ethos. Charlie Hebdo is not the Guardian or [etc] … The animating intention behind its work was to satirise and provoke in a distinctive voice, one that would not sit easily in other publications … press freedom … the best response is not to be forced to speak in a different voice.”
Note that, contra Coyne, this has nothing to do with fearing consequences; it’s odd that Coyne should claim it is: it shows that Coyne really is unable to see what he doesn’t want to see; and being blind to what he doesn’t want to count, he is unable to count it; Coyne counts only one reason, namely the one he wants to count.
When you read Coyne’s criticisms of religion, bear in mind that this ignorant and muddled blog post is an example of Coyne’s standard of rationality – and, come to that, of Coyne’s standard of arithmetic.
Events move fast: on 6 Jan I commented that, “By drawing Christians as Fideists, John G. Messerly has drawn a cartoon caricature, and should be treated as a cartoonist rather than as a philosopher.” Be assured I had scorn, rather than the subsequent appalling murders, in mind.
It occurs to me that Jerry Coyne (and some well-known others) is doing in words what the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists did in pictures; this might explain why Coyne is so keen that newspapers should turn themselves, at least temporarily and in part, into Charlie Hebdo clones by reprinting its, er, provocative cartoons. I am sure Coyne will have long longed to have mainstream newspapers pick up and run with his prose versions of those cartoons; this is his opportunity to push for the national and international publication of his prose cartoons in their Charlie Hebdo versions.
There’s a lot of people giving a succinct message of sympathy for the victims and defiance towards the perpetrators and their like, using a simple viral slogan to do so; few of them, I think, will have read the Charlie Hebdo magazine, so that message will be largely symbolic: Jerry Coyne, on the other hand, is one of the few who will be able to say, with heartfelt conviction, I am Charlie Hebdo.
I swear the host or that other guy looked like they were repressing smirks. I can believe she galvanized his point.
These guys are quick to have a Blasphemy Day, and publicly desecrate Catholic symbols. I don’t recall them publicly doing the same to Islam. Maybe I’ve just missed it, but if not, why don’t they do the same to Islam? Let’s have all the prominent anti-theists like Coyne draw pictures of Mohammed and then urinate or defecate on them, and post the pictures / videos on Twitter and Facebook and their own blogs. Oh, they won’t? Hmm.
WM Briggs’s website was recently hacked and vandalised by someone, most likely someone reacting to his recent paper rationally arguing that current climate change models are deficient, and that conclusions drawn from their use are likewise deficient.
So what do we have there: a symbolic “up-yours” to Briggs and to anyone else who dares to criticise claims of man-made climate change; a challenge to free speech and dissenting voices; damage to Briggs’ primary method of publicising his views; a warning, to anyone else who might contemplate rationally argued (ie potentially convincing) climate-change denial, that this might happen to you, too.
It sounds familiar: the differences between this and the Charlie Hebdo massacre look rather like differences of method and degree.
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