The controversy over Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code underlines the grave threat to the freedom of artistic and literary expression at the hands of religious fundamentalists and political opportunists, firing from the shoulders and acting on behalf of anonymous masses.
Certainly, freedom does not allow us to run into a crowded theatre and shout 'fire'. But judging from the Salman Rushdie, Taslima Nasrin, James Laine and M.F. Husain controversies, among others, are we as a society getting oversensitive and politically correct?
Questions: Is protecting communal harmony just an excuse to shackle freedom? Or does our freedom end where the other person's nose begins? In jumping on to the ban wagon so often, are we only strengthening the hands of fundamentalist forces? If freedom has its limits, who decides what is OK or not OK? And if we keep curtailing our freedoms, will we be any different from any banana republic?
Also see: HOLLYWOOD HERESY in The New Yorker