Posts Tagged ‘Free Speech’

A Clear Illustration of Cultural Blackmail

September 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Most people get upset that anyone would offend another group of people. Too few get upset at the asymmetrical response of the offended. Let’s not forget the 24/7 media circus surrounding the harmless actions of a bigot in Gainsville, Florida. I’ll predict now that no where near the coverage, if you hear of it at all on the major news shows, will focus on this appalling outcome of cultural blackmail designed to make the First Amendment only text on a page. The cartoonist, formerly Molly Norris, that thought up “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” (here, here) is now in hiding because of the death threats and fatwa against her life. I’m just wondering when President Obama will point out the right of people to offend others even if he doesn’t comment on the wisdom of it.

Nice Work FBI

From the A.V.Club I learn that:

The FBI has arrested the Virginia man who posted a “warning” to South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker on a radical Muslim website back in April, after he told federal agents of his plans to travel overseas and join a terrorist group. Zachary Chesser, described as a 20-year-old “university dropout,” was apprehended while attempting to board a plane at a New York airport despite being on a no-fly list, after which he spoke at length with FBI agents about his connection to al-Qaeda associate group Al-Shabaab, which he intended to join in Kenya or Somalia.

May 20th: Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!

May 20, 2010 1 comment

Here’s my contribution.

An adaptation of the most annoying cartoon I could think of.

[update: I’ve been linked]

Don’t Piss Off South Park Fans

April 23, 2010 Leave a comment
I usually don’t like hackers, but, well…
Image from
(the site that threatened Matt and Trey)

(h/t Dan Savage)

Standing Up For South Park

April 23, 2010 Leave a comment

So the newest episode of South Park was heavily edited and now won’t be rebroadcast.  I’m a little ashamed that we can’t stand up more for our freedoms.  Here’s a decent recap of the controversy on CNN that features the courageous Aayan Hirsi Ali.

Can we also replace National Prayer Day with this:

Muslims Pissed at Cartoons Again. Not Funny.

April 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Matt Parker and Trey Stone, creators of South Park, are being threatened (not explicitly) on the radical Islamic site 

CNN writes:

The posting on says: “We have to warn Matt and Trey that what they are doing is stupid and they will probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh for airing this show. This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them.” 


Over still photographs of Parker, Stone, van Gogh and others, the Web site runs audio of a sermon by the radical U.S.-born preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, who is now in hiding in Yemen. The sermon, recorded some time ago, talks about assassinating those who have “defamed” the Prophet Mohammed  citing one religious authority as saying “Harming Allah and his messenger is a reason to encourage Muslims to kill whoever does that.” U.S. officials say al-Awlaki is on a list of al Qaeda leaders targeted for capture or assassination.

The last episode of South Park satirized the ridiculousness of not being able to draw a cartoon of Mohammed.  In the episode he appears disguised in a full bear suit, in a van, and behind a censor bar. In a previous episode before the Danish controversy erupted, Mohammed appeared in as a member of the Super Best Friends – no one freaked out. In an interview Parker and Stone make the point that if everyone had reprinted the Danish cartoons there would be no one specific to target and it would diffuse the threat while also displaying our commitment to free speech. Sadly, Comedy Central prevented them from showing Mohammed. 

I hope the American media stands up against these terrorists and defends free speech and freedom of the press. Everyone should standing with Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

(h/t Dave)

Bitter Cops

I had some amazing cocktails at my new friend Ran’s bar at the Sichuan Garden II in Woburn, MA. He’s superb mixologist; he treated a lady-friend and I to some classic drinks with some modern and personal twists. I really loved his maple old-fashioned. Little did I know that the lemon foam on top is potentially illegal in some parts of the US! Not to mention those bitters that spiced up a few other drinks I enjoyed…

In case you’ve been sitting in a dark room somewhere sucking down rum and Diet Cokes, America is in the midst of a cocktail renaissance. A cadre of elite mixologists (or bartenders, as Thrasher prefers to be called) in New York, Portland, San Francisco, D.C., and other creative-class cities is bringing back classics and offering new twists on retro techniques. Meanwhile, alarmed by all this creativity and innovation, retrograde health inspectors and bureaucrats are cracking down on innovation from coast to coast.

I’m a 1st Amendment absolutist – it allows me to vigorously defend the 21st!  

Cucumber Chill = Japanese Slipper muddled with lemon cucumbers and mint toped with shiraz and midori caviar
(photo via: Ran’s F.B. page)

Philip Pullman on Free Speech

(via: The Daily Dish)

Do No Harm

January 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Google famously has the motto “do no harm.” Well, China is really challenging Google. The best course of action to take in the politically repressive state remains unclear. has been operating in China by censoring certain sites that the government demands. Google’s logic is that it is better to have some access to the internet through google than none at all.

Now China has crossed the line it seems.

Google linked its decision to sophisticated cyberattacks on its computer systems that it suspected originated in China and that were aimed, at least in part, at the Gmail user accounts of Chinese human rights activists.

The company is now seriously considering pulling out of China. This poses a tough question to advocates of free speech. Obviously Google can’t just give the Chinese impunity to act however they want. But what is in the best interest of the people of China? Some google or none? If Google can’t fully protect itself from cyber attacks from China than, sadly, it seems they must close their operations there. I hope it doesn’t have to come to that.

[update 1/13/10]: Google comments on the incident on their own blog site.
Categories: China, Free Speech, Google Tags:

Happy International Blasphemy Day!

September 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Set to recognize the freedom of speech against any incursions from the faithful, International Blasphemy begin after the Danish cartoon controversy along with attempts to pass laws against blasphemy in the UN.

Here’s a relevant Sam Harris article from 2008.

There is an uncanny irony here that many have noticed. The position of the Muslim community in the face of all provocations seems to be: Islam is a religion of peace, and if you say that it isn’t, we will kill you. Of course, the truth is often more nuanced, but this is about as nuanced as it ever gets: Islam is a religion of peace, and if you say that it isn’t, we peaceful Muslims cannot be held responsible for what our less peaceful brothers and sisters do. When they burn your embassies or kidnap and slaughter your journalists, know that we will hold you primarily responsible and will spend the bulk of our energies criticizing you for “racism” and “Islamophobia.”

Update: I couldn’t resist posting this after I posted the other South Park clip in the above post.

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