Standing in proud solidarity with the mortally offended Mussulmen (see the post immediately below this one) is leftist comic-strip creator Gary Trudeau, who was asked by the Santa Barbara Independent:
What did you make of the Danish cartoon mess? I understand that you said you would never play with the image of Allah. But did you feel you should have done so out of a sense of professional solidarity, or to make a statement about freedom of speech?
What exactly would that statement be? That we can say whatever we want in the West? Everyone already knows that. So then the question becomes, should we say whatever we want? That, to me, is the crux. Do you hurt people just because you can? Because you feel they shouldn’t be deeply hurt, does that mean they aren’t? Should the New York Times run vicious caricatures of blacks and Jews just to show the First Amendment in action? At some point, common sense and sensitivity have to be brought to bear.
Ah, common sense. Is appealing to people's common sense strictly a one-way street? Because I confess that common sense is not the first quality that comes to mind when I think of jihadists who want to cut off a man's head for drawing a picture.
Note that Trudeau doesn't speak of the fact that twelve of his Danish colleagues live under a never-ending death sentence, and that ten of them to this day dare not appear in public. Evidently, he believes that artists who unleash the murderous wrath of those they've displeased have simply brought it on themselves.
I wonder if he feels that way about Salman Rushdie and Theo van Gogh. I also wonder if he'd be so understanding if a diehard Dubya fan or a Christian fundamentalist, enraged by a less than charitable Doonesbury strip, threatened to murder him for not displaying sufficient "common sense and sensitivity."
As for Trudeau's hypothetical example of the New York Times printing "vicious caricatures of blacks and Jews just to show the First Amendment in action," the Hot Air blog gets it about right:
[W]ould it make any difference to his free-speech hypothetical if blacks or Jews were threatening to kill Bill Keller if he ran vicious caricatures of them? What would "common sense" counsel in that case?
Incidentally, the Doonesbury panel I used as an illustration seemingly depicts what Gary Trudeau believes may be done to cartoonists who offend — but no.