The credulity-straining oxymoronism continues. You have freedom of speech but only if you don’t use it; you used it; you’re fired; also, we all hate you.
A student editor at the University of Cardiff found out his mistake when he published one of the Jyllands-Posten cartoons. Somebody really ought to test his urine – what other explanation could there be?
A student union spokeswoman said Tom Wellingham, the editor of the paper, which won newspaper of the year at last year’s Guardian’s Student Media Awards, had been suspended alongside three other journalists. “The editorial team enjoy the normal freedoms and independence associated with the press in the UK, and are expected to exercise those freedoms with responsibility, due care and judgment,” she said.
There you are – you can’t say fairer than that. The editorial team enjoy the normal freedoms and independence associated with the press in the UK, so if they publish anything blasphemous and offensive, out they go. Obviously ‘normal freedoms and independence’ has nothing whatever to do with publishing anything that would offend anyone – good heavens, what an idea! Great hopping Christ almighty, newspapers mustn’t offend people! Fuck, no! Not ever; not under any; not no matter how much; not possibly. No, no, no. Everything that appears in a newspaper must be as anodyne and bland and blancmange-like and pallid and limp and devoid of interest or excitement and emollient and soothing as a warm bath to the tune of a lullaby. Obviously. Because looky here, newspapers go into people’s houses, I mean their homes, their lovely tasteful homes, where they eat and sleep and have family values. Newspapers can go into family rooms! Do you realize that? They can go right straight into family rooms, and be seen by family people, who would be upset and distraught and all twisted up inside if they saw something offensive. Had you thought of that? No, I didn’t think so. Well I bet it makes things look a little different, doesn’t it! It makes it pretty dang obvious why nothing offensive can go in newspapers. That still leaves plenty that can. Recipes, and how to make the home look pretty (Martha Stewarty kind of thing), and sports (if there aren’t drugs or swearing or rape or – well maybe not so much sports), and nice cartoons, like that nice Family Circus, and what’s on tv, if it’s not too offensive. That’s plenty.
The students’ union very much regrets any upset caused or disrespect shown by the publication of the controversial cartoon and has taken immediate action by promptly withdrawing all copies of this week’s edition of Gair Rhydd at the earliest moment possible.
Because that’s what you do when something in a newspaper offends anyone – you yank it back quick as winking, and then you tear it up into little tiny minuscule pieces, and you give them to the gerbils. Always. Every time. One peep from Someone Offended, and into the chipper that edition goes.
The students’ union has launched an investigation into how the images came to be published in the paper, which has a potential readership of more than 21,000 students.
Good. Good, good. I feel so reassured. I feel so much happier and more peaceful. Otherwise I would wonder – how, how, how could such a thing happen? Not because the editor wanted to publish something that was in the news – of course not! So how then? But it’s all right, because the union has launched (with a bottle of champagne, I hope) an investigation. I hope they have the handcuffs in reach at all times.
Local councillor Joe Carter, whose Cathays constituency houses the students’ union, described the publication of the cartoon as a “controversial and risky manoeuvre. They were wise to pull it but I’m surprised they ran it in the first place. There’s a very strong argument about freedom of the press versus tolerance of religion. We have to have tolerance of people’s views and culture,” he told icwales.co.uk.
There’s a very strong argument, which can be decided in only one way – so it’s actually not so much an argument, as a piece of dogma. We have to have tolerance of people’s views and culture – because if we don’t, there’s that beheading thing.
Ashgar Ali, the chairman of Cardiff’s Medina mosque, criticised the publication. “You can’t play with someone’s religion,” he told the website. “The Muslim students at the university are going to be upset. Pulling it as soon as possible was the right thing to do.”
You can’t play with someone’s religion. You can’t upset people. So no coverage of war, politics, the arts, economics, science – nothing that will upset people. That would lead to mere anarchy of the press. Understand?