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