Cartoons are, by their nature, caricatures: they are oversimplified in order to make a forceful point and provoke debate. Editors know that one powerful cartoon can generate more furor than dozens of provocative articles, so they make a rough calculation: Will the cartoon generate light as well as heat? Will the publishing of it be, as St. Paul would put it, not only lawful but beneficial? Did Flemming Rose, culture editor of Jyllands-Posten, make the wrong calculation in publishing cartoons that featured the Prophet Muhammad?
March 7, 2006