All entries by this author

Four People Killed in Cartoon Protests *

Feb 6th, 2006 | Filed by

‘They want to know whether Muslims are extremists or not. Death to them and to their newspapers.’… Read the rest

Music ‘Produced By and For Social Elites’ *

Feb 6th, 2006 | Filed by

It is snobbish and improbable to assume that complex art is appreciated only by the upper class.… Read the rest

Words and Pictures

Feb 5th, 2006 5:52 pm | By

One thing that occurs to me about this cartoon spat…is that I’ve never actually much liked political cartoons, and this underlines why. I suppose, if I’m going to be completely honest (and I suppose I have to be, don’t I, since I’m always yapping about it), I have to admit that in this sense I may be able to see some point in what the “no need to be offensive” crowd are saying. Only some, mind you, and without all their horrible pious drivel about religious beliefs. I like some political cartoons, the kind that rely on extended strips with plenty of words, like Garry Trudeau’s or Jules Feiffer’s or Marjane Satrapi’s. But the one-panel ones that rely heavily on … Read the rest

HB, Skeptico

Feb 5th, 2006 5:13 pm | By

Skeptico is observing its first birthday with a teasing post in a satirical (but not mocking, or offensive, or disrespectful, or blasphemous, nononono) vein. Views on why the poultry traversed the highway, in the style of various people – James Randi, our dear friend Sylvia Browne, Deepak Chopra, Prince Chuck, and many more. I’m there, being predictable as usual. [curtsies politely]… Read the rest

NASA Gets Uppity

Feb 5th, 2006 5:04 pm | By

Well here’s a new wrinkle. Here’s a new outpost of the global war on secularism and rational thought. Here’s a new battalion of God’s Holy Warriors, a new incursion by the ambassadors of theocracy. Barely post-pubescent White House hacks with shiny new journalism degrees and whole months of experience working on political campaigns, explaining cosmology to the benighted people at NASA and telling them what to say – and that’s just one example.

A week after NASA’s top climate scientist complained that the space agency’s public-affairs office was trying to silence his statements on global warming, the agency’s administrator, Michael D. Griffin, issued a sharply worded statement yesterday calling for “scientific openness” throughout the agency. “It is not the

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Bad Astronomy Takes Issue With George Deutsch *

Feb 5th, 2006 | Filed by

Young party hack orders NASA to teach religion – what’s the problem?… Read the rest

NASA Admin’s Statement on Scientific Openness *

Feb 5th, 2006 | Filed by

‘It is not the job of public affairs officers to alter, filter or adjust engineering or scientific material produced by NASA’s technical staff.’… Read the rest

White House Tells NASA What to Say *

Feb 5th, 2006 | Filed by

For instance, to add the word ‘theory’ after every mention of the Big Bang.… Read the rest

A-Level Maths Dumbed Down? *

Feb 5th, 2006 | Filed by

Many teachers think so; others think A-Levels help all students to succeed. At what?… Read the rest

Munira Mirza Says Muslims Want Freedom Too *

Feb 5th, 2006 | Filed by

Censorship in the West bolsters the moral authority of leaders in the Middle East to censor their own citizens.… Read the rest

Jordanian Editors Arrested for Insulting Religion *

Feb 5th, 2006 | Filed by

‘Muslims of the world be reasonable,’ wrote Mr Momani, so no wonder he got busted.… Read the rest


Feb 4th, 2006 8:33 pm | By

More. It keeps getting worse and worse and worse, as more people drop to the ground and display their pale soft bellies beseechingly, all the while crooning melodic horseshit about their profound respect for free speech as long as no one ever actually uses it for anything.

The Guardian.

The Guardian believes uncompromisingly in freedom of expression, but not in any duty to gratuitously offend…To directly associate the founder of one of the world’s three great monotheistic religions with terrorist violence – the unmistakable meaning of the most explicit of these cartoons – is wrong, even if the intention was satirical rather than blasphemous.

Freedom of expression, huh huh huh, but don’t go gratuitously offending now. Don’t offend unless … Read the rest

Petition to Defend Free Speech and Secularism *

Feb 4th, 2006 | Filed by

Condemn threats and violence as a way to silence criticism and satire.… Read the rest

Having a Thin Skin Can Be Used as a Weapon *

Feb 4th, 2006 | Filed by

It allows people to create their own definition of respect and require us to observe it.… Read the rest

Ibn Warraq Urges Solidarity With the Cartoonists *

Feb 4th, 2006 | Filed by

Unashamed, noisy, public solidarity, lest the forces trying to impose a totalitarian ideology win.… Read the rest

The Guardian Takes a Stand *

Feb 4th, 2006 | Filed by

Against teasing ‘the founder of one of the world’s three great monotheistic religions.’… Read the rest

World Press Reaction *

Feb 4th, 2006 | Filed by

One thing to assert the right to publish, another thing to put that right to the test. Oh.… Read the rest

No One Knows What the Prophet Looked Like *

Feb 4th, 2006 | Filed by

No one could seriously claim to recognise the Prophet in images drawn by Danish cartoonists.… Read the rest

Embassies Burn in Damascus as Tantrums Continue *

Feb 4th, 2006 | Filed by

Vatican says right to freedom of expression does not imply right to offend religious beliefs.… Read the rest

Of Course You Can, Except When You Can’t

Feb 4th, 2006 2:31 am | By

Back to the real world, where cartoons ‘are’ representations of Mohammed – some depressing oxymoronism from Jack Straw. Of course we respect free speech, but you can’t say that; of course everyone has a right to free speech, but no one can insult religion. Well which is it, bub? It ain’t both! I’m not a free speech absolutist, as I’ve said many times, but this idea that free speech is okay as long as it doesn’t offend anyone is sheer jam tomorrow. If we can’t say anything that might offend someone, our speech is pretty damn restricted, isn’t it!

Speaking after talks with the Sudanese foreign minister, Mr Straw said: “There is freedom of speech, we all respect that.

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