by Jamie Kirchick, Tablet, August 14, 2012
Pavilion for Revolutionary Free Speech encapsulates the divergent American and European attitudes to free speech, with the former tending to view it as an absolute and the latter as a relative value that must be weighed against the “right” not to be offended. But “the right to insult” has always been a part of the liberal European concept of free speech, something that Kilpper, with his insulting artwork, especially ought to understand. Yet in a short video documentary inside the exhibit, Kilpper pronounces the cartoons “not emancipatory but chauvinistic.” In fact, the real chauvinists of the Mohammed cartoons controversy were the Muslim extremists—many of whom lived half a world away and never saw the actual cartoons—who considered it their religious duty to burn down the embassies of a small European democracy because a newspaper in that country published pictures they deemed offensive. That one can open a paper in any Muslim country on any given day and find anti-Semitic cartoons more at home in the rancid pages of Der Sturmer (a state of affairs that does not cause Jews the world over to incite murder) is a phenomenon that doesn’t seem to faze Kilpper.