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Saturday, Dec 10, 2022
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What Does 'Instigate' Mean?

What Does 'Instigate' Mean?
What Does 'Instigate' Mean?
outlookindia.com
1970-01-01T05:30:00+05:30

Christopher Hitchens takes up the question of Yale University Press's decision to publish The Cartoons That Shook the World, by Danish-born Jytte Klausen without the 12 caricatures that originated the controversy, in Slate:

...the official statement from the press's public affairs department... informed me that Yale had consulted a range of experts before making its decision and that "[a]ll confirmed that the republication of the cartoons by the Yale University Press ran a serious risk of instigating violence."

 So here's another depressing thing: Neither the "experts in the intelligence, national security, law enforcement, and diplomatic fields, as well as leading scholars in Islamic studies and Middle East studies" who were allegedly consulted, nor the spokespeople for the press of one of our leading universities, understand the meaning of the plain and common and useful word instigate. If you instigate something, it means that you wish and intend it to happen. If it's a riot, then by instigating it, you have yourself fomented it. If it's a murder, then by instigating it, you have yourself colluded in it. There is no other usage given for the word in any dictionary, with the possible exception of the word provoke, which does have a passive connotation. After all, there are people who argue that women who won't wear the veil have "provoked" those who rape or disfigure them … and now Yale has adopted that "logic" as its own.

It was bad enough during the original controversy, when most of the news media—and in the age of "the image" at that—refused to show the cartoons out of simple fear. But now the rot has gone a serious degree further into the fabric.

Read the full piece at Slate

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