Little Green Footballs

Friday, February 24, 2006

Charles's little red ken problem

Charles Johnson relays the news of Ken Livingstone's suspension as Mayor of London for four weeks, and even provides his minions with a few nudges as to how they're supposed to feel about it ("ugly antisemitic comments", "certainly deserves censure", "support for Islamofascist ... much more dangerous"). Fine. The adjudication panel never said Ken's comments were anti-semitic, merely hurtful, but we can all agree they were inappropriate and stupid.

Problem is, that's what a lot of people said about the Danish Mohammed cartoons Charles has been making such a hoo-ha about, decrying anybody who finds them offensive as the vanguard of Islamofascism and a dangerous threat to free speech. When it comes to insulting Jewish journalists though, Charles is strangely anti-(drunken) free speech.

Of course, Charles is free to spout whatever he likes on his 'weblog'. But he shouldn't be surprised if a lot of people don't take him very seriously anymore...


Brad said...

Finally, I realize that this is parody. You can't seriously compare the comments of an elected government official to that of a blogger? (BTW I don't agree with the penalty for red ken or the prison sentence for the holocaust denier in Austria; freedom of speech is exactly that)

X said...


You seem to have missed the point of this post: it demonstrates Charles Johnson's two-faced approach to freedom of speech. On the one hand he praises the prophet cartoons, on the other hand he celebrates the verdict again Livingstone.

Surely that doesn't compute.

Brad said...

With all due respect, I do get the point about Herr Johnson, and it is technically correct. But so what, and the comparison is bunk. Bloggers, commenters, etc, like all people, are conflicted, internally contradicted, blind spot thinkers. Everyone is. But to compare an elected official, who is expected to demonstrate a reasonable density of equanimity because s/he holds a position of responsibility (and is usually very well compensated for it), to a partisan blogger only undercuts the strength of your position. If you want to fault Johnson for that contradiction, you should either stare at every other partisan blogger (including those with whom you agree) with a cold, analytical eye and highlight their transgressions or explain in clear, convincing terms why this one is so exceptional as to be an outlier. Apply a Kantian analysis to your own words and actions too, or don’t do it at all,; otherwise you come across no different in form from your target, only different in the azimuth you travel.