Charlie Hebdo, and The Hill


The Hill was kind enough to pick up my op-ed on the Charlie Hebdo massacre yesterday in Paris.  You can read the whole thing, of course, but here’s my favorite bit:

There was a time when we understood what was at stake.  The fearful editor and wrecked printing press were staples of Hollywood westerns for decades, but this sort of thing happens in real life here, on occasion.

In the run-up to the Civil War, abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy made plenty of enemies on St. Louis with his anti-slavery newspaper, so much so that they destroyed his printing press three times and ran him off, across the river to the free state of Illinois.

The fourth time, they crossed the river, threw the press in the river, killed Lovejoy, and burned his warehouse.

I doubt those at the Washington PostNew York Times, or Yale University Press teach or retell that story today by implying that Lovejoy would have been better-advised to tone it down because deeply held and easily bruised feelings were at stake.

Since, at the end, I call for media to reprint things that irk Islamists, here’s a cover from the newspaper, and the Danish Cartoons that started it all, almost 10 years ago.

, ,