Danish Cartoons

Quick note here. This from someone with a Danish last name and soon to be two daughters with quite Scandinavian names… I think that by and large American commentators have missed one of the major presenting issues in the whole international cartoon war.

We’re Americans, so when we think about Muslims our first thoughts tend to be about 9/11 and Iraq. What we miss is the cartoons in their specifically European context. We miss that it’s as much or more a class issue as it is a religion issue. I’ve give you a quick hint–most of the illegal immigrants who do the dirty low-paying jobs and threaten lower and lower-middle class jobs in Europe don’t come from Mexico…

Let’s just say it’s a very complicated issue all around.


About Derek Olsen

I'm a layman within the Episcopal Church with a PhD in New Testament and an interest in most things medieval, monastic, and liturgical. My chief job is keeping up with my priestly wife and our two awesome kids. In addition to that, I earn a living, run the St Bede's Breviary, listen to loud goth/industrial music, and do some stuff for the church. I currently serve as Secretary to the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music where I'm also co-chair of the Calendar committee and chair of the Digital Publications committee.
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3 Responses to Danish Cartoons

  1. *Christopher says:


    Indeed. C and I go round and round on this. His attitudes toward the Turks have been a source of contention from time to time. It’s class, language, colonialism, culture, race, immigration, religion, and a whole host of complexities.

  2. Lutheran Zephyr says:

    Sure, the Turk and northern African illegal immigrants in Europe are akin to the illegal immigrant Mexicans in this country. And yes, it is a complicated issue of class, ethnicity, jobs, national and European identity, etc..

    BUT, I fail to see how an image of Mohammed wearing a bomb in his headpiece is a commentary on the social problem of illegal immigration in Europe. The European anguish over its identity and economic prosperity as it relates to illegal immigration is an important issue, but this cartoon had little to say about those matters. I find minimal journalistic merit in these cartoons.

    It has been little-noted that these cartoons were initially published in right-wing, low-circulation newspapers. From what I understand, tt’s not these cartoons were originally published on the front page of the main Copenhagen newspapers . . .

  3. Derek the Ænglican says:

    You’re right, Zephyr, they’re deliberately inflammatory and they were, for the most part, not very well thought out nor executed (though I did like the one with the Arabic inscription mocking right-wing Danish newspapers…). My point is that it would be like one of our lesser right-wing alt papers sponsoring a cartoon contests to defame Hispanics–yes, you might indeed get something like the Virgin of Guadalupe in trashy lingere but the religious commentary component is only part of what’s going on.

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