Vanity Fair columnist Christopher Hitchens excoriates Yale University Press in a post at Slate yesterday for excising the actual cartoons from a new book on the raging 2005 controversy over Danish newspaper cartoon caricatures of the prophet Mohammed.
The Cartoons That Shook the World will go out into the world without the 12 caricatures -- including one showing Mohammed with a bomb in his turban -- although the images and the deadly extremist riots they allegedly provoked are the subject of the work by Brandeis professor of politics Jytte Klausen.
Publisher John Donatich told the New York Timesthat he made the censorship call because "when it came between that and blood on my hands, there was no question." And the publisher's press office told Hitchens that experts cautioned Yale that "republication of the cartoons by the Yale University Press ran a serious risk of instigating violence."Rot, says Hitchens. He calls Yale's move an inversion of moral responsibility to blame the media, not the rioters themselves. His column includes a link to the cartoons because, says Hitchens:
Last time this happened, I linked to the Danish cartoons so that you could make up your own minds about them, and I do the same today. Nothing happened last time, but who's to say what homicidal theocrat might decide to take offense now. I deny absolutely that I will have instigated him to do so, and I state in advance that he is directly and solely responsible for any blood that is on any hands.
HAVE YOU... seen the cartoons? Do you think the publisher should or should not have included them in the book? Why?