Tuesday, August 18, 2009

AAUP Weighs in on the Yale Cartoons-of-Dread Controversy

More on the Curious Case of the Cartoons that Shall Not Have Eyes Cast Upon Them..

Text here or below:

August 13, 2009

"We do not negotiate with terrorists. We just accede to their anticipated demands.” That is effectively the new policy position at Yale University Press, which has eliminated all visual depictions of the Prophet Muhammad from Jytte Klausen’s new book The Cartoons That Shook the World. Yale made the unusual decision not only to suppress the twelve 2005 Danish cartoons that sparked organized protests in many countries but also historical depictions of Muhammed like a 19th-century print by Gustave Doré. They are not responding to protests against the book; they and a number of their consultants are anticipating them and making or recommending concessions beforehand.

In an action that parallels prior restraint on speech, Yale also refused to give the author access to consultants’ reports unless she agreed in writing not to discuss their contents. Such reports typically have their authors’ names removed, but a prohibition against discussing their content is, to say the least, both unusual and objectionable.

Publishers often refuse to print color illustrations to save money or limit the number of black and white illustrations to reduce the length of a book, but Yale Press has not raised any financial issues here. The issues are: 1) an author’s academic freedom; 2) the reputation of the press and the university; 3) the impact of these twin decisions on other university presses and publication venues; 4) the potential to encourage broader censorship of speech by faculty members or other authors. What is to stop publishers from suppressing an author’s words if it appears they may offend religious fundamentalists or groups threatening violence? We deplore this decision and its potential consequences.

Cary Nelson, AAUP President

The italicized portion is very interesting. I was under the impression that the author would have had access to the report, and consultant names, but would not have been at liberty to discuss the names if she had agreed to the conditions, leaving her open to discuss the content.

But, NO! She would not have had access to the names. They would have been scrubbed before she had access to the report. But, that being so, she would nevertheless still have been forbidden from discussing the content, the content of the report.

Whatever for? Are they afraid the content would have set off a powderkeg?

No wonder Klausen refused to sign. I think she probably should have shopped the book to another publisher if possible. That alone would have made a statement.

Football Funnies: REAL MEN OF GENIUS Video Competition

Ah yes. The season begins. So what do we need? Bud Light Real Men of Genius spots of course.

Starting with a fine Midshipman Production (actually "Scared Plebe Production." Ha!):

Excellent production values. Hard to top, yes, but next in line with a game attempt, we have Mr. Delusional Notre Dame Fan:

Ok, good show, but still overtopped by the crew at SPP on originality points.

And not to be forgotten, Mr. Delusional Michigan Fan offers his entry:

Sorry, not as good as the radio version done by Sean Baligian, but that one isn't on the inter-tubes, according to my always reliable Wiki-sources. So, SPP still retains the #1 spot.

The last contestant, we have the Real Men of Genius, USMA Tailgating Fan edition, live from Michie Stadium:

You've got to give some points for the Rutgers rip, and the fact that they did this at a game. But the production value is low. What, no HD camera available?

Places a close second. Mr. Notre Dame fan third, and Michigan trailing the pack.