Thursday, January 8, 2015

"As a Thief in the Night," a brand-new, never-before-published western Pennsylvania poem, is featured in today's Vox Populi.

The temperature in Harmony is 21 below zero this morning. Ruckus refuses to get out of bed. The rest of us are jealous.

I am horrified, as you all are, by the murders in Paris. However, I have conflicting feelings about satire for the sake of satire. Free speech is a legal jewel. And I agree: we should not be required to automatically respect a religion. But should we automatically disrespect it? One culture is often tone-deaf when it comes to another culture's humor. Is it right or wrong to ignore that disconnect? These perplexities are all mixed up in my mind, and I'm not sure how to write about them. I would be interested to hear your thoughts on this matter.


Ruth said...

There is certainly something to be said for decency and respect for another population's views and beliefs.
Having Rights should also come with the balance of having Responsibilities.

Carlene said...

I agree with Ruth; civility should always be the lens through which we view our actions. This is not the first time a European paper has incited violence through the use of a satiric cartoon--the horrors that followed the Dutch cartoon some years back should have been the caution.

That said, no cartoon should incense anyone to killing others. There are other ways to address disrespect, and the wanton murder and injuries caused are not warranted.

Carlene said...

Pardon; Danish cartoon.

mea culpa

Sheila said...

I take a harder line on free speech. Of course respect and decency are important on a personal level, but the principle of free speech exists to protect unpopular speech, speech that may be considered disrespectful and indecent by many people. Consider how many ideas(and the speech that promoted them) were widely considered "disrespectful" or "indecent" by a large percentage of the population in the not-so-distant past: Voting rights for women, desegration, gay marriage. I may think the cartoon in question was in poor taste, but taste is subjective. Suppressing speech on the grounds of taste (or any other reason) opens Pandora's box. I'm with Voltaire: "I may not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to my death your right to say it."

Dawn Potter said...

As I wrote in my post, I believe that "free speech is a legal gem." But I stand by my murkier concerns about the responsibilities of the speaker. What I suspected about "Charlie Hebdo" is becoming clearer now: in some cases, the journalists' and cartoonists' published satires bordered on racism. Of course they were free to publish that material, and of course they should not have been murdered. That goes without question. But were those journalists doing their best to do good in the world? This is not a legislative issue but a personal one, and for me it's where the murkiness comes in.

David said...

If it's not too late to add here, this New Yorker article elaborates on what started Dawn on this conversation: