Absurdity at the NYT

"Callous" is a very strong word for the cartoons published by Jyllands-Posten. But that's how the New York Times critic has described the banal sketches in a newspaper that will not publish the material it is criticizing:

"They're callous and feeble cartoons, cooked up as a provocation by a conservative newspaper exploiting the general Muslim prohibition on images of the Prophet Muhammad to score cheap points about freedom of expression."

"Cheap points"? It's a "cheap point" to illustrate the climate of fear and intimidation that free artists and writers live under in Europe when tackling the issue of Islam. It's "cheap" after the fatwa against
Salman Rushdie, the murders of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh, and the police protection for many others, now including the editors of Jyllands-Posten. Choosing sides between those who would murder and kill and those who would simply draw and provoke is, for Michael Kimmelman "exasperating." After all, the newspaper that published them could be broadly described as "conservative". "Conservative" in a land where the welfare state is well to the left of America's Democratic party. The pusillanimity of the New York Times on this subject is another low-mark for the paper. They have the gall to run vicious commentary on images they will not publish. Below are two images: one of the Virgin Mary constructed out of dung and supported by public funding; and one of the "callous" Danish cartoons, that pokes fun at the newspaper that ran them. The NYT will publish one but not the other. They are not journalists. They are merely cowards.