HON293C: Literary Scandals and Controversies

An archived version of a 2007 NCSU course blog

Danish cartoons controversy

Here’s the Wikipedia article on the Danish cartoons controversy. See especially the section on Reprinting in other newspapers, which notes that “Notable for a lack of republication of the cartoons were most major newspapers in the USA[41] and the United Kingdom,[42] where editorials covered the story without including them. Several newspapers were closed and editors fired or arrested for their decision or intention to re-publish the cartoons, including the shutting down of a 60 year old Malaysian newspaper permanently.”

One U.S. publication that did reprint the original cartoons was Harper’s magazine, in the June 2006 article “Drawing Blood”, by Art Spiegelman of Maus fame. But even this publication, or perhaps Art Spiegelman, appears to still be worried about reproducing the images online, even in a database that only universities and libraries are likely to subscribe to. While many if not most of the major articles from Harper’s are available to us through the NCSU Libraries, this article has the following caveat attached to it: “This database normally includes full text of articles available from this publication. However, this particular article is not included at the request of the rights holder.” To be fair, several other articles from Harper’s are so marked, though not usually cover stories, as far as I can tell.

I seem to recall that Spiegelman wrote that the most offensive cartoon was probably not the one depicting Mohammed with a bomb in his turban but the one in which the prophet appears to have a halo, but, upon closer examination, has horns.

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