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No End of “Innocence”

Apparently it’s a gift that keeps on giving. There’s simply no end to the Innocence of Muslims story. Now the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Google must remove from YouTube all versions of Mark Basseley Youssef’s anti-Islam provocation. [...]

Election 2012: Image World (7)

With this mediocre production Mark Basseley Youssef has demonstrated the radical right’s eagerness to provoke Muslim outrage with deliberate sacrilege while simultaneously making visible the criminally irresponsible face of fundamentalist Islam. At the same time, he’s seeded a minefield for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, who can’t denounce this hypothetical movie (or its all-too-real trailer) in any but the vaguest terms without alienating the Reblican base from which it sprang. [...]

Election 2012: Image World (6)

Tthe Republic Party’s base, which Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan courted so ardently and now represent, is deeply implicated in the sponsorship, funding, production, and initial distribution of “Innocence of Muslims,” and has direct responsibility for the consequent Muslim protests now raging around the world over this short film. Yet, so far as I know, nowhere in the media coverage of all this has anyone addressed these connections. [...]

Election 2012: Image World (5)

The propaganda film “Innocence of Muslims” was entirely sponsored and produced by elements of the wingnut anti-Islamist evangelical Christian right in the U.S. By dint of their close association with their base, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan bear a considerable degree of responsibility for the conflagrations touched off by the film, including the one that took the life of Ambassador Christopher J. Stevens. Time to put them on the hook for that and watch them try to wriggle off. [...]

Dirty Pictures: The Curator Meets the Censors

To my surprise, I’ve ended up appreciating this film. It’s distant enough in time to take a measured, meditative look at this cultural moment. The Culture Wars constituted one of the rare moments in American history in which photographs and photography took center stage in the national consciousness. It was the medium’s most “teachable moment” to date. If I wanted to take a class of students back to that moment, to teach it myself again today some two decades down the line, I might well start with this movie. [...]