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Re: <nettime> publication of "Jyllands-Posten" cartoons is not [5x]
nettime's cartoonist on Sun, 12 Feb 2006 20:53:36 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> publication of "Jyllands-Posten" cartoons is not [5x]

Table of Contents:

   Re: <nettime> publication of "Jyllands-Posten" cartoons is not [7x]             
     "porculus" <porculus {AT} wanadoo.fr>                                                

   Re: nettime-l-digest V1 #1700                                                   
     "Jody Berland" <jody.berland {AT} sympatico.ca>                                      

   RE: <nettime> publication of "Jyllands-Posten" cartoons is not [7x]             
     "Ayhan Aytes" <aaytes {AT} weber.ucsd.edu>                                           

   publication of "Jyllands-Posten" cartoons is not...                             
     Ryan Griffis <ryan.griffis {AT} gmail.com>                                           

   Re: <nettime> publication of "Jyllands-Posten" cartoons is not "freedom of thepr
     Aras Ozgun <aries {AT} pyromedia.org>                                                


Date: Sat, 11 Feb 2006 11:48:59 +0100
From: "porculus" <porculus {AT} wanadoo.fr>
Subject: Re: <nettime> publication of "Jyllands-Posten" cartoons is not [7x]

> a. not funny; and
> b. extremely poorly drawn.

but you all know free speech was always gotten in fight & in blur period &
motives for most of time saying huge bullshit, as the king is an ass, my
boss is a fuckard & my mother the greatest bitch the world ever done & not
as the legend say..as 'my name is fritz kurtz, i born in 1215, the earth
turn around the sun, i claim it but i would never be in a dictionnary & what
disgust me is to know it's another one would be in dictionnary at my
place..cause he retracted this fucking coward' baaah these drawing are
just ordinary & dayly cartoon product, no more good no more bad & saying
this is really an offense to all truckdrivers of my familly & i want you all
under fatwa of kick in the ass & belgium muhla entartement threat..
'not funny', 'extremely poorly drawn', 'stupid', 'idiot', 'nasty' 'bad
tasted'.. chance  you have these words resounded for making just me to think
of the beloved spitting image of my best friend..otherwise


Date: Sat, 11 Feb 2006 11:37:33 -0500
From: "Jody Berland" <jody.berland {AT} sympatico.ca>
Subject: Re: nettime-l-digest V1 #1700

Let us take into account that the individuals, cultures and countries most 
likely to oppose any limits on freedom of speech are those culturea and 
countries who have something to gain from unlimited freedom of speech.  As 
communication scholar Anthony Smith wrote in the 1980s (and I understand the 
present irony of this statement), only the United States could advocate a 
complete "free flow of information" without any concerns for its impact on 
democracy.  By "free flow" he means transborder flow of cultural 
commodities, of course, not freedom of speech, whose blatant trampling in 
U.S. politics probably encourages people to defend free speech 
unconditionally  and without regard for its more complicated repercussions 

 In Canada, we have limited regulation of freedom of speech; we have 
legislation banning hate speech, and I'm glad we do.  I wouldn't say that it 
has banned racism from our midst, but it has probably reduced physical 
violence and made it easier to isolate unredeemable racists.  The 
legislation suggests that the freedom of individuals to vent toxic spleen 
might need to be balanced against the need of societies to learn tolerance 
and respect.

In the last 20 years, advocates of unlimited free speech have invariably 
founded their argument on the distinction between symbolic and physical 
violence.  This is a valid and interesting distinction, but it has little to 
do with the real practices of violence in the world.  It seems to me 
deliberately dumbed down.  I don't think that everyone who sees an ad for a 
hamburger condones factory farms, or that everyone who sees a photo of a 
naked woman condones rape, etc, but that simply means that we need a better 
understanding of how culture and images work.  If we oppose racism, 
imperialism, violence, and warmongering, then I think we have to oppose 
racist, imperialist, totalizing acts of contempt against groups of people 
who are already the subjects of racist, imperialist, totalizing military and 
social violence.

None of this is to justify any acts of physical violence that followed the 
publication of these cartoons.  I don't agree with the publication of 
cartoons and I don't agree with social violence to protest them.  (I don't 
think it is just the cartoons that are inspiring this protest, either.)  All 
I'm saying is, they are part of one picture, part of one history of racism 
and imperialism, to be blunt.  That history predates the publication of 
these cartoons and probably won't change significantly until people change 
the tired old arguments they use to discuss the issues.

Jody Berland


Date: Sat, 11 Feb 2006 13:45:04 -0800
From: "Ayhan Aytes" <aaytes {AT} weber.ucsd.edu>
Subject: RE: <nettime> publication of "Jyllands-Posten" cartoons is not [7x]

Isn't that a very liberal capitalist view of freedom? Can freedom only
be defined in terms of ownership? Who owns the public space then? 
Newspapers, TVs or in general mass media have a unique role in forming
the public opinion. Here in this case it used its power for a
provocation. Maybe it is the demographics of Denmark, for a
multicultural society the role of the media is much more important than
in a homogenous society. 

I don't know maybe it is the lack of memory, WWII generation had a much
better idea about the propaganda and fascism. 

We can not even clearly see that part of the problem nowadays.

Ayhan Aytes

- ------------------------------
From: Ryan Griffis <ryan.griffis {AT} gmail.com>
Subject: publication of "Jyllands-Posten" cartoons is not...

On Feb 11, 2006, at 3:30 AM, nettime-l-digest wrote:

> From: John Hopkins <jhopkins {AT} neoscenes.net>
> Subject: Re: <nettime> publication of "Jyllands-Posten" cartoons is 
> not...
> on the issue of 'rights' -- Simone Weil suggested that people who are 
> driven to demand everything from the society they live in by a 'bill 
> of human rights' would instead be better grounded morally to consider 
> and act upon their 'human obligations' towards their fellow humans...

what is that statement supposed to mean? i know it's taken out of 
context, but why? its use here suggests a complete disavowal of the 
existence of power inequities. and, honestly, it sounds like a Reagan 
argument against welfare couched in Ghandi-esque humanism. maybe this 
is a misreading?

The other question i have is about Florian Cramer's "buy or not buy" 
argument... Really? So it all comes down to market forces? i know the 
whole divide between symbolic and physical action was brought up, but i 
don't think Andrew's challenge to the division between the 
symbolic/real was really addressed. especially in democracies, the 
ability to manipulate, convince and otherwise persuade is the first 
step in taking any action. that's the famous Bernay's line isn't it.. 
"creating consent." we can all say, "well i'm not fooled. i know when 
someone's being manipulative." Great, so we can sit here and watch it 
all unfold and say that, at least we can say something... if we feel 
like it.

We already know how journalism is part of a feed back loop that has a 
direct impact on the movement and value of currency. People make or 
lose real money based on reporting. Investors lose/gain money whether 
they buy the paper or not. People vote on policy based on the coverage 
in their local papers, etc.

the other side to the libertarian coin is a social darwinism that's 
actually subsidized by a fragile reward and punishment system designed 
to keep things mostly the way they are, the same power structures 

i think we can argue about the motives and the very real impact of the 
meaning of these images without resorting to a (false) binary 
opposition between state and market control.
just some loose thoughts...


Date: Sat, 11 Feb 2006 18:16:18 -0500
From: Aras Ozgun <aries {AT} pyromedia.org>
Subject: Re: <nettime> publication of "Jyllands-Posten" cartoons is not "freedom of thepress"

I think it is unfortunate to discuss the "freedom of speech" in this  
context, through such occasion.

Two years ago I invited a Palestinian filmmaker friend of mine to  
show her documentary work on refuge camps for a home-screening to a  
small group of considerably intellectual and well-educated  
documentary audience. The film (Dahna Abourahme, "until when...") was  
very far from being agitative and propagandist, it was rather a  
humble exposition of the everyday lives of the families living in a  
refuge camp through their own words. During the discussion following  
the film, the audience expressed their "surprise" to see the people  
interviewed in the film were "normal", "intelligent people" who can  
reflect on their own lives "very articulately", "even in a poetic  
way". While I found such "surprise" itself offensive, rather than as  
a positive comment as it meant to be, as it originates from the  
naturalization of the mediatic image of "ordinary Palestinian" as a  
"bloody terrorist", my friend was not offended at all; after the  
discussion she responded to my apologies by saying "It's not their  
fault, they have probably never heard an ordinary Palestinian  
speaking before". Thus, I realized that indeed was political  
statement the film possessed.

Imagine that some well-educated American people have never heard of  
an ordinary Palestinian speaking by/of her/himself, and they already  
have quite a particular "image" of her/him in their mind (we can  
extend this to African, Asian, Latin American, etc. to all the people  
who are not represented or have been misrepresented in the media). I  
think the urgent  problem regarding the freedom of expression is  
that, there is growing disinformation, misinformation,  
misrepresentation and manipulation in a media saturated "free  
speaking" world --that is the "western world". This simply means that  
the concept of "freedom of speech" fails to deliver its promises in  
the very social environment that it is formulated as a principle,  
which is the actual crisis. I think this is partially related with  
the tendency to depoliticize the concept itself, to take it as an  
empty formal category, a given formal requirement of democracy,  
without any qualifications attached to it and without exercising its  
true political potentials.

In this sense, it is necessary to qualify "the freedom of expression"  
and redeem its political potentials. This concept is nothing than the  
principle guaranteeing the freedom of information, one's right to  
inform and to receive information, which passes from the protection  
of one's  expression from suppression by the authority --however that  
authority may appear. This is a fundamental political principle in  
the sense that it practically makes possible to challenge the  
dominating power in a non-violent way, making the social change  
itself possible, guaranteeing the possibility of freedom in a larger  
sense. Obviously, it is a principle to protect the "minor" expression  
- --the expression of the invisible, voiceless, underrepresented,  
powerless, as the authority itself does not need such protection and  
would naturally be capable of asserting its own order-word without  
any constrains.

Then, it is necessary to think of "freedom of expression" in the  
context of "information" vs. "order-word", art vs. representation.  
Information, as Bateson puts it, is "a difference that makes a  
difference", and only with that "difference" it makes, it separates  
itself from the repetition of the order-word. In the same way, art  
expands/transgresses the limits of language by calling for the  
unrepresentable and driving the representational order into a crisis.  
If what is presented to us as "information" is a repetition of order- 
word, if what is presented as art does not challenge the  
representational framework of dominant ideologies, these naturally do  
not need such protection (let alone "deserving" it). I think, this is  
the crisis in general; the "freedom of expression" becomes an empty  
form when there is no information available at all (in the sense that  
Bateson describes), and the subject of "freedom of expression"  
becomes the repetition of order-word rather than the challenge poetry  
introduces. Then, the means to freedom become aims in themselves,  
perpetually deprived of their potential transformative power.

"Making a difference", as Bateson refers to, is how an expression  
relates to the existing world of representations. This is also how it  
constitutes itself politically, by articulating to, escaping from, or  
subverting the existing political structures. These representation  
regimes and ideological constructions are never fixed, or essential  
or universal, and so is the political articulation of a given  
expression. A cartoon which may be considered subversive under  
Islamic theocracy (and therefore needs to be protected by the  
principle of freedom speech) may rather articulate to dominant  
ideology when published in a conservative European newspaper. I  
didn't have a chance to see these cartoons yet. But the detailed  
descriptions I read so far convince me that they somehow repeat and  
reproduce the most common images of a racist ideology, and they  
articulate to the misinformation and disinformation regimes that feed  
such ideology. In that sense, as they do not "make" any "difference",  
it doesn't make sense to me to compare these with subversive art  
works (such as Serrano's photograph) and bring to the discussion of  
the freedom of expression. I find such discussion highly deceptive.  
Freedom does not mean to choose one among different forms of fascism,  
we don't have to protect racism against fundamentalism. This is  
nothing but a clash of order-words, "freedom of expression" is yet to  
be exercised.


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