Poet and translator Sarah Ruden will no longer publish with Yale University Press following its decision to remove the controversial Danish imagesand all other imagesof Muhammad from Klausen’s The Cartoons That Shook the World , and in a letter to the editors of The New Criterion , she calls other Yale authors to do the same. Her reason is that Yale violated a “crucial relationship of trust with an author’s mind and work,” and cannot, therefore, be trusted to deal with integrity in the future.
I think this is a fair and valid reason. Indeed, I think that conservatives (in particular, religious conservatives) need to be careful that our protests of Yale’s decision (if there are any further protests) do not have the appearance of being motivated by sour grapesthat is, that we appear to want Yale to publish the images of Muhammed, which were offensive to come conservative Muslims, simply because the American academy has disparaged both conservative thought and orthodox Judeo-Christian beliefs and values in recent years.
No doubt, Yale’s action in this case is inconsistent, but the issues of free speech and academic integrity are indeed the issues at stake here.