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Neurotic Text: Harper's stands up, Indigo wilts.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Harper's stands up, Indigo wilts.

It was nice to see Harper's, an essential monthly read of mine for the past decade, become the first truly major North American news outlet to run the Danish cartoons that so inflamed the world a few months back, although not entirely surprising given the strength and vehemence of Lapham's editorial response to that outrage a couple of months back. Unfortunately, it's equally unsurprising to see Canada's largest chain of book sellers, Indigo, all-too-predictably launch a pre-emptive strike on its own rights and responsibilities by pulling the June issue that includes these images. Perhaps there's just the hint of an important shift in the way that the nature of this apparently effective new threat to free expression is being viewed, however, or at least the vaguest suggestion of a willingness to identify that threat more honestly, in the corporation's stated reason for not selling Harper's-- rather than peddle the usual nauseatingly insincere and self-serving cant about respecting anyone's faith, Indigo has openly admitted their decision is based on the threat of "demonstrations" against the cartoons as seen worldwide in February. By no means is this a courageous or noble stance, but it certainly can't hurt to see people and instituations finally being honest about their bowing to the wishes of theocrats and fascists. A little bit more of this openness might just awaken even sleepy Canada.

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