Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Shouting 'Fire' in a Theater

Flemming Rose, the former cultural editor of jyllands-Posten and the man responsible for printing the MoToons back in 2005 has an interesting comment on the grounds of witch Geert Wilders was denied entry to the UK earlier this month. A take on the lazy argument that Freedom of Speech doesn't allow one to shout 'Fire' in a crowded theater.
Drawing an analogy with socialist Schenck handing out flyers falls short in the Wilders case. What's more, Holmes later used an opposing argument to defend freedom of speech. But note that in defending the move to keep Wilders out, Miliband forgot that Holmes said you weren't allowed to yell 'fire' unless there actually was a fire. If there is a fire, or if there is smoke, then you have an obligation to draw everyone's attention to it.

Wilders's film is made up of documentary pictures, which makes it hard to reject them as false. What's more, the issue the film takes up – violence carried out in the name of religion – is a part of the European reality, which makes it a subject of heated discussion. You can argue that Wilders's depiction is one-sided and that it is propaganda, but Michael Moore does the same thing, and he wins film awards.
Read his entry in the Copenhagen Post here (In English.)

(H/T Steen.)

3 comments:

Exile said...

That deserves some applause. If you listen carefully, you will hear me clapping from somewhere in the depths of darkest Amager.
(That's in Copenhagen, for all those who didn't get an "A" in geography!)

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