Er, I would like to express a timid little opinion.
Namely, I think the Yale University Press is miserable, despicable, misguided, prissyish, cowardly crowd of idiots who don’t know how to do their jobs.
As for the reason for this opinion, well, they decided to publish a book about the Danish Mohammed cartoons of a few years ago and the insane paroxysm of hatred and cowardice they caused — which is a good subject — but guess what? They decided to not include the cartoons (or any other planned pictures of M.) in the book!
I could understand this if it was a copyright matter, but apparently the reason was simple cowardice: they “consulted two dozen authorities, including diplomats and experts on Islam and counterterrorism, and the recommendation was unanimous”: no cartoons, no pics of Mohammed, or you risk offending people, committing blasphemy, riling up trouble.
First, “but it would offend people” is an idiot’s excuse for excising anything, much less anything from an academic publication. Silence and denying a thing from all for a fear of the few is a much greater harm eventually than the furious bellowing of the masses and the furiouser bleating of the cowardly. So what if 200 people died in the riots following the cartoons? Does that make publishing them wrong, or something that should be avoided? Are the publishers criminals, and the killers just mindless puppets? Is that any different from saying that women shouldn’t dress provocatively because that encourages men to rape them?
Second, “blasphemy” is an idiot crime, and even though the faithful obey such rules, it does not follow anyone else should, or that the faithful have any right to demand that, or to get angry when denied.
Thirdly, to repeat, as for trouble… sure, Yale University Press, stick to the boring, non-controversial, bland, dull subjects. Heavens forbid academicians should ever say or do anything that disturbs people, oh my!
I guess you could call avoiding the irrational ire of easily inflamed massed fools (for the record, every religion seems to have people in this category!) prudence as well; no doubt the people of the Press would. But cowardice is what it is. And here I must stop, before I start screaming them anatomical, genealogical, and erotological tasks that are quite impossible to perform.
PS. Good news for all publishers! This following laughable excuse can be used to never print a picture of anything of note ever! “The cartoons are freely available on the Internet and can be accurately described in words, Mr. Donatich said, so reprinting them could be interpreted easily as gratuitous.”
I myself look already forward to their unillustrated volume “The most impressive sculptures and paintings of all time”. After all, a picture of Michelangelo’s David would be fucking gratuitous.