February 08, 2006 | Graham

Mohammed Cartoons: by Jove I’ve got it!

This article by Michael Kimmelman in the New York Times is the most insightful and iconoclastic that I have seen so far in the debate about the Jyllands-Posten cartoons.
A couple of pars gives its flavour:

But there are precedents going all the way back to the Bible for virulent reactions to proscribed and despised images. Beginning with the ancient Egyptians, who lopped off the noses of statues of dead pharaohs, through the toppling of statues of Lenin and Saddam Hussein, violence has often been directed against offending objects, though rarely against the artists who made them.
Educated secular Westerners reared on modernism, with its inclination toward abstraction, its gamesmanship and its knee-jerk baiting of traditional authority, can miss the real force behind certain visual images, particularly religious ones. Trained to see pictures formally, as designs or concepts, we can often overlook the way images may not just symbolize but actually “partake of what they represent,” as the art historian David Freedberg has put it.

Would the Islamic reaction make more sense if we were in touch with our inner Pygmalion?

Posted by Graham at 10:31 pm | Comments Off on Mohammed Cartoons: by Jove I’ve got it! |

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