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Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

Buy Love Monkey for $4! "Hilarious"--Maslin, NY Times. "Exceedingly readable and wickedly funny romantic comedy"--S.F. Chronicle. "Loud and brash, a helluva lot of fun"--Entertainment Weekly. "Engaging romp, laugh-out-loud funny"-CNN. "Shrewd, self-deprecating, oh-so-witty. Smith's ruthless humor knows no bounds"--NPR

Buy A Christmas Caroline for $10! "for those who prefer their sentimentality seasoned with a dash of cynical wit. A quick, enjoyable read...straight out of Devil Wears Prada"--The Wall Street Journal

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    Time Bomb

    By kyle | November 3, 2011

    This response from the Paris bureau chief of Time magazine to the apparent Islamist terror-bombing of a French magazine that mocked Islamism really must be read. I can hardly believe Time would run this. The gist is that anyone who provokes someone known to react violently to rhetoric and satire should instead keep his yap shut. Because free speech is not “worth” the price you have to pay for it.

    Okay, so can we finally stop with the idiotic, divisive, and destructive efforts by “majority sections” of Western nations to bait Muslim members with petulant, futile demonstrations that “they” aren’t going to tell “us” what can and can’t be done in free societies? Because not only are such Islamophobic antics futile and childish, but they also openly beg for the very violent responses from extremists their authors claim to proudly defy in the name of common good. What common good is served by creating more division and anger, and by tempting belligerent reaction?

    And who is the writer? Bruce Crumley, who as his bio states

    During his 20-year career at TIME, Crumley has covered virtually every aspect of French political, social and economic life. He has been particularly active in TIME’s coverage of al Qaeda-sponsored terrorism since September 11, 2001-an area he has followed closely since 1994, when France became the favored European target of Islamist extremists.

    So this is the man through whom much of Time’s coverage of Islamist terror gets filtered.

    This censor-thyself rule appears to apply only in consideration of Islamist terrorists, though. I do not believe that if the Tea Party warned it was longing to bomb satirists who offended it, then followed through by blowing up Bill Maher’s studio, that Time magazine would run a piece saying that Maher should measure his words more carefully next time. Nor do I think this rule applies to all religions; if the Catholic church, following through on its long-standing pro-life position, bombed an empty abortion clinic because that would intimidate those who would provide abortions, I do not think Time magazine would take the stance that we should be respectful of all of those who operate out of religious fervor.

    The piece is, of course, a disgrace, but it’s not just that. Time, once conservative, still carries a hint of Establishment authority or at least uncontroversial conventional wisdom about it. It isn’t The Huffington Post. If any substantial number of people have already given in to Islamism as deeply as this Time writer has–if to say, “I love Big Brother” has become this acceptable–it bodes ill for Western values. I am less outraged than sickened.

    Topics: Magazines | 4 Comments »

    4 Responses to “Time Bomb”

    1. JohnFNWayne Says:
      November 3rd, 2011 at 10:55 pm

      Germany’s dividing Europe, Greece is in flames, there’s a new Asian power on the march, America is struggling out of a depression – I guess the last straw left was for the French to disclose their inclinations toward equivocation and resignation. Give the French credit, they’ll welcome their new overlords no matter where they’re from.

    2. Sherlock Says:
      November 4th, 2011 at 1:55 am

      The French writers who put out this issue of Charlie Hebdo are more admirable and more civilised than the writers at The Onion, for one, and of course at Time, obviously. These French writers and the French politicians that have upset Bruce Crumley so much: these guys are the heirs of the Enlightenment and the Age of Reason, but Bruce Crumley thinks there’s a lot to be said for the dark ages, when heresy was punished and ignorance enforced. Call it the Age of Faith. That’s the historical analogue. The triumph of barbarism and religion, 600 years on.

    3. kishke Says:
      November 4th, 2011 at 10:34 am

      JohnFW: Not sure what you mean about the French. The guy writing this crap is American, not French. The French are the ones who provoked the Muslims.

    4. kishke Says:
      November 4th, 2011 at 11:48 am

      He’s getting killed in the comments. I think most people are outraged by what he wrote. It’s good to see.