Christoph Türcke

(b.1948) is Professor of Philosophy at Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst Leipzig. His books include Fundamentalismus – maskierter Nihilismus (2003) and Erregte Gesellschaft. Philosophie der Sensation (2002).



On the structure of mass insult

Historically, the rationalist critique of religion needed the means of mockery if it was not to become toothless, writes Christoph Türcke. But mockery was and is only rational when used as a weapon against power and oppression. It was the perception of the Mohammed cartoons as the West’s victorious mockery that so incensed the Islamic world. “It makes a crucial difference who caricatures the prophet – whether it is a Muslim or a non-Muslim Westerner. That is not to employ double standards […] Rationalism that wants more than simply to be right must learn to judge where its mockery begins to take on a triumphalist tone, one that insults the humiliated rather than unmasks pretensions.”

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