So Offensive Other People Mustn’t Be Allowed to See It….

Madonna on the cross.jpg
Madonna is a very fine performer and even an artist. (I’m not a big fan myself.) It’s also true that she offends many people with her work. What I find remarkable is how some people are so offended by her depictions of religion, sex, and other topics that they not only refuse or decline to see it, but are determined to prevent others — by violence or the threat of violence — from seeing it, as well. In this case, a hapless Dutch priest called in a bomb threat to stop concert from taking place. (I call him hapless because he made the call from his home phone. I guess he didn’t read one of the terror manuals available on the internet.) And now a group of crackpots in Russia is opposing her concerts there and calling for a “new Holy Inquisition that will fight against the sacrilege of crosses, icons, Russian Orthodox symbols, including during Madonna’s show.” What’s with these people?

7 Responses to “So Offensive Other People Mustn’t Be Allowed to See It….”

  1. Random Rightie

    She’d never have the guts to defile Muslim symbols in this way. And if she did, the p.c. establishment would, well, crucify her.

    By the way, Mr. Palmer, you said the Mohammed cartoons were ‘in bad taste’, if memory serves. Just wondering, have you ever criticized Muslims who want to censor anti-Islam material? Sorry if this question is offensive, but lately it seems that a certain imbalance exists around this topic.


    I am not Justin Raimondo. (It seems that on this blog this declaration is necessary.)

  2. Tom G. Palmer

    You may be right about whether Madonna would mock Islamic images or even use them in her performances. But surely using force to stop her from performing in front of willing participants is immoral, regardless of which group may find her performance offensive.

    Yes, I think that the cartoon of Mohammed with a bomb in his turban was in very bad taste, at least as tasteless as a cartoon of the pope molesting an altar boy or of a rabbi drinking the blood of Arab children. (One could multiply offensive images, but even doing so is rather distasteful.) My point is that it’s one thing to consider something in bad taste or offensive and another to use force or to threaten to use force to stop people from seeing it. I don’t think that anyone should be harmed for drawing or printing a cartoon or for dancing or posing on a cross and, yes, I have certainly been critical of the use of violence to censor things people find offensive on religious grounds, and in places where things are taken rather more seriously than in the U.S. or on the internet.

  3. Tom G. Palmer

    Just to clarify the last sentence, by “things people find offensive on religious grounds,” I do include violent Islamists. And I have had intense debates with some Muslims who were offended by the cartoons and wanted to use violence to stop their publication and I’m glad to say that other Muslims took my side in the debates. The issue before us was not whether they were offensive, but whether cartoonists and newspaper publishers should enjoy freedom of the press. Similarly, the issue should not be whether Madonna offends some Christians, but whether she should enjoy the freedom to dance, sing, or pose as she wishes.

  4. First, I want to say that I believe in freedom of speech, press, and expression. However, In some instances these freedoms have been taken advantage of. I don’t believe Madonna went to far, but I have a neighbor that has. This is the story.

    I have a neighbor name Ray who is using his freedom of speech to vehemently berate with cruel racial slurs at another neighbor’s children. He has been smart about it by yelling these slurs from his property. The children nor the parents have done anything to this man.

    Everyday, when these kids get off the school bus they are terrorized by my neighbor Ray’s insults. This has have a traumatizing effect on the children. The father of the children have been very restrained. He is trying to use the legal way to squash this matter, but law enforcement can not do anything since no law have been broken. This is quite unfortunate. It is asking a lot for this father to not retaliate violently toward this butt-head. However, if he did he would be the one arrested. He nor his wife wish for him to be jailed over this nonsense.

    Now, as I said earlier, I believe in freedom of speech, but I believe that, in the situation I mentioned, this freedom was abused. If civil libertarians and my fellow libertarians believe that a person has a right to verbally assault innocent children with racial insults, without provocation, looses my respect.

    When a person uses his or her liberty to do bad, it’s not liberty. That’s libertine. Liberty do have limits.

  5. Tom G. Palmer

    That’s not so hard to do. I’m sure anyone could. In the first case, one kooky Dutch priest phoned in a bomb threat from his home (which isn’t all that smart) and people called for her to be banned, which hasn’t happened so far. In the second case, some people called for the Pope to “step down” and in Somalia some vicious murderers executed an Italian nun and her bodyguard. Most, but not all, Christians have learned to be rather tolerant of things they abhor. The percentages seem to be lower in the Muslim world, but we shouldn’t conclude from that that “all Muslims” are intolerant. We can hope that the conditions in the Muslim world move toward openness, toleration, and freedom. One part of that process is to learn to be more thick skinned when people say things you don’t like, such as a religious leader quoting someone who said something you don’t like.