August 21, 2002

Overheard on NPR, Part II: ...

Overheard on NPR, Part II: They are right now broadcasting something on controversial satire such as Ted Rall's "terror widows" cartoon. Reporter stated that, after that cartoon was published, "there were new calls for stronger censorship laws." Gosh, I don't remember a single such "call," though admittedly I only subscribe to 20 publications, and spend all day online devouring websites & listening to the news radio.

Posted by at August 21, 2002 12:48 PM
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I heard that too. Awful. It was actually BBC, "The World Today." Couldn't find it archived. Here's the blurb from bbc.co.uk

And our cartoon series presented by Lawrence Pollard continues with a look at issues of taste; Is the mark of a good political cartoonist to be oppositional, against the grain and offending majority tastes?

Posted by: N.C. Wood at August 21, 2002 01:01 PM

I think it's symptomatic of a flawed belief system when you find yourself wanting to be censored because it will prove your point. We're seeing this a lot lately, and it would be comical if there weren't some people who hear that and actually believe that someone called for censorship.
It's like when the enviromentalists find themselves thinking that a new plague would solve a lot of problems.... t August 21, 2002 01:06 PM

And, of course, don't forget that censorship is a sign that people who matter are taking you seriously. Like Matt, I see a lot of media, and I don't recall seeing a single call for censorship of even idiotarian Ted Rall. Things like that "terror widows" cartoon just cemented my belief that I never have to take a single thing Rall says seriously. Saves a lot of time.

Posted by: Jorg McKie at August 21, 2002 02:16 PM

Alan Keyes called for censorship, on his MSNBC show. Tom Tomorrow wrote about it in his blog....

Posted by: David Rothschild at August 21, 2002 02:25 PM

Thanks, David! Keep those "calls" coming in!

Posted by: Matt Welch at August 21, 2002 02:46 PM

Keyes hedged but did suggest that he woud support censorship against Rall if other means were not enough. In a March 11 column he wrote "this brutal and inhuman comic strip was not debate – it was an assault on the decent national sensibilities crucial to the war effort."

Further down he said:

A free people should normally suppress such activities through private moral judgment and association. Pornographers should be shunned by all, and likewise Mr. Ted Rall should have been fired immediately by those with professional authority over him, or in contractual relations with him. Such action in defense of the decent judgment of this people in regard to 9-11 would be more than sufficient to keep such as Mr. Rall from subverting our national resolve.

But it is worth remembering that when serious and sustained attempts to undermine public opinion on a matter genuinely essential to national life cannot be resisted by other means, governmental action may be necessary. For governmental action is also the action of a free people...

This certainly sounds like somebody who at wouldn't have a problem with the principle of imprisoning critics of the war if they were harming "the war effort."

Posted by: micah holmquist at August 21, 2002 02:55 PM

Wow, Alan Keyes ... no wonder Rall is terrified.

The reality is that Rall and his ilk deliberately wish to conflate criticism with censorship, due to a shortage of leftist stigmata. You just can't get teargassed for anything these days, so you pretend a good talking-to left bruises.

Poor little bruised egos ...

Posted by: Robin Roberts at August 21, 2002 08:22 PM

I'm glad Krazy Alan isn't in charge of anything, and he deserved to be shlapped around for such nonsense, in my view. Ken Layne had a nice post about this back in the day:
http://www.kenlayne.com/2000/2002_03_17_logarc.html

Posted by: Matt Welch at August 21, 2002 08:55 PM

Looks to me like NPR is suffering from mediawhoresonlineese, where you take one incident and claim that there were multiple incidents, giving off the impression that there were dozens or even hundreds.

Posted by: Henry Hanks at August 21, 2002 09:06 PM

Don't forget that ambigious (and stupid) Ari Fleicher quote about watching what people say. That fed a lot of paranoid censorship fantasies. So we've got 1.5 "calls" for censorship in 11 months. If we dig deep, I'm sure we can uncover the latent McCarthian resevoir of Fascism in Amerika. Some dissidents are getting hate mail. People are being called names!! What about the wave of gratuitous on-line Fisking? It's impossible to voice protest without getting visciously mocked and your intelligence questioned by an army of bloggers. It's terrifying, horrible!! They use Sarcasm. Dramatic Irony. Metaphor. Puns. Parody. Litotes. And Satire. Freedom of speech will never survive.

Posted by: Tokyo Taro at August 22, 2002 01:58 AM

And just to up the ante, Rall's response was an almost-illegible strip that juxtaposed Keyes' words with images of Nazi Germany. Somehow Rall was able to smuggle that out of the concentration camp they threw him in for his brave stance against grieving widows.

FREE DIRTY DANNY

Posted by: Jim Treacher at August 22, 2002 11:03 AM

Tokyo,

If Ari Fleischer calling for people to "watch what they say" constitutes censorship, then I'd submit that there is more day-to-day censorship on American college campuses than the USG has implemented since 9-11. That there is more censorship promoted by the President on behalf of Muslims and Arab-Americans than has been seen against them (after all, we're not supposed to generalize about either group, nu?).

So, it's, at best, .5 calls for censorship, as you note.

Posted by: Dean at August 22, 2002 01:59 PM
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gi?__mode=red&id=628">Matt Welch at August 21, 2002 08:55 PM

Looks to me like NPR is suffering from mediawhoresonlineese, where you take one incident and claim that there were multiple incidents, giving off the impression that there were dozens or even hundreds.

Posted by: Henry Hanks at August 21, 2002 09:06 PM

Don't forget that ambigious (and stupid) Ari Fleicher quote about watching what people say. That fed a lot of paranoid censorship fantasies. So we've got 1.5 "calls" for censorship in 11 months. If we dig deep, I'm sure we can uncover the latent McCarthian resevoir of Fascism in Amerika. Some dissidents are getting hate mail. People are being called names!! What about the wave of gratuitous on-line Fisking? It's impossible to voice protest without getting visciously mocked and your intelligence questioned by an army of bloggers. It's terrifying, horrible!! They use Sarcasm. Dramatic Irony. Metaphor. Puns. Parody. Litotes. And Satire. Freedom of speech will never survive.

Posted by: Tokyo Taro at August 22, 2002 01:58 AM

And just to up the ante, Rall's response was an almost-illegible strip that juxtaposed Keyes' words with images of Nazi Germany. Somehow Rall was able to smuggle that out of the concentration camp they threw him in for his brave stance against grieving widows.

FREE DIRTY DANNY

Posted by: Jim Treacher at August 22, 2002 11:03 AM

Tokyo,

If Ari Fleischer calling for people to "watch what they say" constitutes censorship, then I'd submit that there is more day-to-day censorship on American college campuses than the USG has implemented since 9-11. That there is more censorship promoted by the President on behalf of Muslims and Arab-Americans than has been seen against them (after all, we're not supposed to generalize about either group, nu?).

So, it's, at best, .5 calls for censorship, as you note.

Posted by: Dean at August 22, 2002 01:59 PM
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