The Oxygen of Publicity?

In an oft-cited speech given in 1985, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher argued that newspapers and television helped terrorism thrive because terrorist acts make compelling viewing. ‘The hijacker and the terrorist thrive on publicity’, she said. ‘They see how acts of violence and horror dominate the newspaper columns and television screens of the free… Continue reading

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Why can’t tyrants take a joke?

Writing on the Al Jazeera website today, Hamid Dabashi, Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, asks why politicians and tyrants throughout the world can’t take a joke. ‘Why are powerful generals, murderous tyrants, and stuck-up theocrats so incensed when someone makes fun of them?’ He notes that a Malaysian cartoonist was… Continue reading

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