Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Apologies, plus Hitchens on Yale's cartoons self-censorship

Dear reader, our blog has moved to a new address.

Do come on over (and change your bookmarks accordingly): rationalist.org.uk

I have to apologise for the lack of action on this blog of late – a week off and the fact that I'm now holding the fort here while writing a piece for our next issue (more on that nearer the time) means it's been all quiet on the blogging and Twitter front, but I'll try and get on top of it in the next few days.

Anyway, enough excuses – one of the things I missed while I was away was a controversial decision by Yale University Press to go ahead and publish a forthcoming book on the Danish Muhammad cartoons controversy – The Cartoons that Shook the World by Jytte Klausen – while deciding not to reproduce the cartoons that the book is about. The move came after Yale, mindful of past incidents concerning the cartoons, took the decision to "consult extensively with experts in the intelligence, national security, law enforcement, and diplomatic fields, as well as leading scholars in Islamic studies and Middle East studies". In a statement, Yale said:
"All confirmed that the republication of the cartoons by the Yale University Press ran a serious risk of instigating violence, and nearly all advised that publishing other illustrations of the Prophet Muhammad in the context of this book about the Danish cartoon controversy raised similar risk."
Suffice to say the decision has provoked outrage, not least from Christopher Hitchens who, in a piece published yesterday on Slate, points out the absurdity of Yale suggesting that their publication of a book could amount to "instigating violence".