A New York Review of Books writer asks: do we have a right to drag other cultures into our 21st century?

Hasidic cantors arriving at Melbourne Airport  --postgutenberg@gmail.com

Hasidic cantors arriving at Melbourne Airport — postgutenberg@gmail.com 

The always excellent Tim Parks, writing on the New York Review of Books blog, had virtually the identical reaction to the Charlie Hebdo tragedy as we did at post-Gutenberg:

The following questions arise: Now that the whole world is my neighbor, my immediate Internet neighbor, do I make any concessions at all, or do I uphold the ancient tradition of satire at all costs? And again, is a culture that takes mortal offense when an image it holds sacred is mocked a second-rate culture that needs to be dragged kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century, my twenty-first-century that is? Do I have the moral authority to decide this?

We wonder if he has noticed that it’s only when the profit motive is at risk that Western culture accepts self-censorship for the sake cultural sensitivity. See: ‘Humour does not travel well — not even in doing business — a fact that the net can only alter slowly, if at all‘.

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