A few days ago I attended a talk by Caspar Melville the editor of the New Humanist magazine at a London ‘Skeptics in the Pub’ event. The topic of the talk was ‘taking offence’ and in it he outlined the varied ways that ‘offence’ impacted New Humanist from what received the most complaints to his editorial policy on when offence is permitted. Caspar certainly seems to have given the topic some thought and has even produced a book discussing the topic called “Taking Offence: Manifestos for the Twenty-First Century“.
The talk and the discussion afterwards were very interesting and while I disagreed with Caspar on a number of points I think he did a good job overall of explaining and defending his positions in the face of some difficult questioning.
However, the topic and surrounding discussion I found most intriguing was Caspar’s editorial decision to not republish the controversial Danish cartoons of Muhammad which caused a worldwide frenzy back in 2005/2006.