The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

7 February 2006

Apologising for the previous apology

And the next:

We, the British media, would like to offer our sincere apologies for any offence we may have caused by our unthinking publication of the so-called "Mafia cartoons" last week. We freely admit it was disrespectful to portray Don Vito Corleone or any of his family in un-blacked out or unpixillated form. We have received many persuasive messages from Sicilian community leaders and we understand their anger. Let's not get into a situation where their pain becomes our pain too. Freedom of speech is a good thing, but it must be used responsibly otherwise it ceases to be freedom of speech.

Some reckless libertarians might accuse us of hypocrisy. After all, haven't we mocked other business enterprises in the past? If we can poke fun at McDonald's or Microsoft, then why not the Cosa Nostra? But there is a difference between portraying Bill Gates as Satan or Ronald McDonald as Hitler and depicting Don Vito Corleone as a ruthless criminal mastermind. Or, indeed, in any way at all. We regard it as deeply racist to associate members of the Sicilian community with violent crime, especially when there is not a shred of empirical evidence to back such slurs. Freedom of speech is precious but cultural understanding must take precedence. Sicilian narratives of legality may differ from ours. Is that any reason to resort to crude, inartistic caricatures depicting members of an ethnic minority carrying machine guns in violin cases and putting horses' heads in people's beds?

Let us state unequivocally how much we respect Don Corleone and his family and how much we hope he will respect ours. Don't hurt us please!!!

Up next: Cavemen save 15 percent on their auto insurance.

Posted at 11:24 AM to Political Science Fiction

Exactly-these apologies are motivated by naked fear. It ain't pretty.

Posted by: John Salmon at 1:51 PM on 7 February 2006