By James Poniewozik
At least a dozen people, at current count, have been murdered at the French offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, apparently because it published cartoons satirizing Islam and the Prophet Muhammad. This came just a month after hackers, purportedly angry over The Interview‘s depiction of the assassination of North Korea’s leader, attacked Sony’s computer networks and stole valuable and embarrassing data.
Maybe you would never have read Charlie Hebdo or seen The Interview. Maybe you think mocking beloved religious figures, or fictionally blowing up the head of a living world leader, is in poor taste. That’s fine; decent people can lawfully criticize speech and still hate it being attacked unlawfully.
But if you care about freedom, you don’t always have the luxury of defending monumental art. If speech rights only protected polite comments that everyone could agree with, we wouldn’t need them.
And no matter who you are or what you like, these attacks are also attacks on you.
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