The title is "WHERE'S THE BRAVE ART WORLD THAT STOOD UP TO JOHN ASHCROFT?" The implication is that while the Art World was upset when the Attorney General John Ashcroft draped some nude statues, the Art World is happy enough to see The Metropolitan Museum of Art avoid displaying holdings that include the image of the Prophet Mohammad from its Islamic Collection. The reason is that the Museum is concerned that some might object to such displays. Or like Yale University Press and the Danish Cartoon controversy—talk about the controversy but don't include prints of the cartoons in the book. I wonder if they dared to include descriptions of the cartoons in their printed study?
Given the recent assassination attempt in Denmark, this is a timely issue. To what extent we should engage in self-censorship is something each of us has to think about. Given our long tradition of openness—remember the "Piss Christ"♠ controversy—we should be very slow to engage in self-censorship.
We should not kid ourselves about this issue. There are folks out there who are sufficiently put off by some of this art which mocks this or that religion that they are prepared to take action. Look at the controversy over the Danish Cartoons of Mohammad. Just two weeks ago someone tried to kill (as in murder) Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard at his home in Aarhus, Denmark.
Per a report from the BBC, a Somali group, al-Shabab issued the following comment:
Al-Shabab spokesman Sheikh Ali Muhamud Rage told AFP news agency: "We appreciate the incident in which a Muslim Somali boy attacked the devil who abused our prophet Mohammed and we call upon all Muslims around the world to target the people like him."When we think about terrorism one of the key things we need to keep in mind is that the other side is trying to achieve its goals by making us say uncle. And, if we are sufficiently unhappy we will replace our elected officials with new ones who will give the terrorists what they want. Of course the problem with Osama bin Laden is that he wants it all. But, for today he might be happy with the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art following his dictates regarding images of the Prophet Mohammad. That and the murder of Danish Cartoonist Kurt Westergaard.
Regards — Cliff
PS: Hit tip to Instapundit
♠ Yes, I found it very offensive.