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I've followed the Muslim cartoon riots with great interest...what I find the most curious is that I remember reading about them and seeing the actual cartoons on a few blogs back in September. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out why it was blowing up NOW until I found that clerics who had been living in Denmark whipped their congregations to a frenzy and sent "press releases" to the middle east including Denmark flags and cartoons of their own doing. Most of the "cartoons" were fairly bland and boring...the clerics themselves put in a picture of a man with a pig face (which apparently came from a photograph from a French pig party (I have no idea, ask the French) and other highly offensive images.

Things I find stunning:
The news outlets have no problem showing "Piss Christ" or a picture of the Virgin Mary covered with elephant dung...but in the name of "sensitivity" decline with the news story about the cartoons to show the ACTUAL CARTOONS. Since when did news outlets care about sensitivity? Duh, this is good ol' fashioned FEAR. News people have never cared who they have pissed off...unless it's literally their necks on the line. Wow. I guess terrorism actually works.

I also find stunning that the news being reported is that Denmark and other countries are scrambling to apologize and are censoring themselves. That shouldn't be the story! The story should be that those cartoons are getting distributed a hundred thousand times over the world. Wanna be a world player Islam? Wanna quit being thought of as insane murderous fanatics who hate your enemies more than you love your children? Suck it up and realize that it goes both ways. I've seen countless things that offend me as a Christian and a Mormon and a woman. I don't cut off heads and burn down buildings in protest.

I do cartoons.

"Oh no...we can't antagonize these people any more!!!! Quit provoking them!!!"
So...in order to get what I want I should over react in murderous violent fashion? Wow, I bet that's been noted by a whole lot of people! HEY, THIS ACTUALLY WORKS!!!!

Good Lord people! What are they going to do if these nutbars get REALLY offended? Cut off more heads? Blow up more of their young men? Fly into more buildings in major cities? If they're offended over lame cartoons, what's to stop them from being offended at the women in the office not being covered up? In the name is sensitivity (and safety) are we all going to start praying 5 times a day faced towards Mecca?

How can *I* be told I'm over reacting when these people are rioting over CARTOONS!!!

I didn't draw the offending cartoons...but if asked I would have in a heartbeat.

Because today "they" are coming for me.


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 16th, 2006 11:20 pm (UTC)
To be fair, it's more than that. It's not exactly the same to compare a cartoon of Mohammad to the Virgin Mary dung or Piss Christ. In Islam, there's a stronger proscription against idolotry--strong enough that in classical Islamic art, there are no depictions at all (flattering or not) of any human (Mohammad or not). Islamic art tends to be geometric patterns. Any image whatsoever can be perceived as idolotry. Catholicism (and to a lesser extent, other Christian denominations) doesn't have this strong a proscription against idolotry. Judaism doesn't, either.

It's not merely a matter of a picture or a cartoon. Perhaps a closer comparison might be going into a Catholic church and taking a consecrated host (which Catholics believe to be the literal body of Christ) and desecrating it somehow. Maybe in a free, liberal society, one should have the right to do this. But does that mean that one should do it?

I certainly don't condone the Muslim reaction to this. But, at the same time, I don't know how people understand exactly how serious this is to devout Muslims. In a free, liberal society, perhaps there should be a right to publish such cartoons. But does that mean that one should?

I understand that in many European countries (don't know about Denmark specifically), there are laws prohibiting, among other things, racist, anti-semitic and other hateful publications. I don't know why this wouldn't also be illegal under such a law.

I must say that I am proud of American media for not widely publishing these images where the media in many other countries did reprint them. I also find it ironic that protests against this in many Muslim and Arab countries come with cries of "Down with America" despite America's lack of participation in this outrage. Maybe the media will learn from this and not display other offensive images in the future.
Feb. 16th, 2006 11:40 pm (UTC)
There are plenty of things I don't do because my religion forbids them...but I don't freak out when other people NOT OF MY FAITH do them.

And yes, one SHOULD have the right to print offensive and thought provoking material. That's called freedom of speech as well as freedom of the press. Who has the right to determine what is offensive and what isn't? Have you seen the cartoons? They are BLAND at best.

To not include the cartoons in a story ABOUT the cartoons is ridiculous.

As for the prohibition of images of Mohammad, there are a bunch of them throughout the ages.

And how sensitive and tolerant do we need to be when they march in and enforce their rules upon us infidels? Who was it that destroyed centuries old Buddha sculptures when they took over Afghanistan?

I'm sick of tolerance running in just one direction.

If they are so upset over infidel drawings of Mohommad to the point they are burning down buildings and threatening 9/11s on Europe (wait, didn't they say that was a Jewish plot, I'm confused?) we have a serious problem.

When somebody says they want to wipe you out, you need to jolly well take it seriously instead of apologizing for bleeding on their shoes!

Feb. 16th, 2006 11:47 pm (UTC)

But, at the same time...

That's called the "Lileksian but", from this.

It works as follows.

They can talk for hours about how wrong it was to kill babies, busboys, businessmen, receptionists, janitors, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers - and then they lean towards you, eyes wide, and they say the fatal word:


And then you realize that the eulogy is just a preface. All that concern for the dead is nothing more than the knuckle-cracking of an organist who’s going to play an E minor chord until we all agree we had it coming.

Feb. 17th, 2006 12:26 am (UTC)
Re: "But"
It's astounding how much I have heard that particular "but" lately. This afternoon I was chatting with a friend who was a bit upset with the post and that "but" came up several times.

I guess maybe it IS simplistic to think of things in terms of "us" vs "them" but when "Them" are freaking out over cartoons we need to take it seriously. Starting to knuckle under over something as simple cartoons affects freedom of speech and press.

Who is to decide what is offensive and isn't? I mean...when an office worker has to remove Piglet because somebody is offended by pork...is INSANE.

Feb. 17th, 2006 12:07 am (UTC)
I always found it offensive the way the ancient Egyptians portrayed the hebrew slaves in the hiroglifs. Always burried in the mud, working their asses off. what am I talking about?

Not that the U.S. has any involvement this time around but it forces me to think of world war two when the U.S. government hired Dr. Suess and the Warner Bros animation teams to produce Pro America/Anti-German/Japanease cartoons to help rally support for the cause. Private Snafu, Bugs Bunny vs. Herman Goering and so on and so forth. Then it was perfectly acceptable. And when asked years later if Chuck Jones was ever apologetic for those cartoons he said "absolutely not, that was what was needed at the time." To this day Bugs Bunny and Popeye are the only cartoon characters in American History to be inducted members of the Military.
Anyway, I don't know where I'm going with this. I just felt like chattin'

Did you by chance see the Jimmy Kimmel last week when he talked about 'the cartoon characters retaliating'? I need to see if I can find the video, that was good times.
Feb. 17th, 2006 12:16 am (UTC)
That was a great post. I, too, found the irony (is it irony?) that icons of the Christian/Jewish/etc. faiths can be desecrated in just about any fashion, yet a cartoon caused this much furor.

Did you happen to see the picture of a Muslim man last week holding up a sign that said "behead those who say we are violent?" HUH??

I consider myself to be a pretty tolerant person, and honestly, very little shocks or offends me at this point in my life. But this whole debacle just really makes me scratch my head. I don't get it. I just don't.
Feb. 17th, 2006 12:20 am (UTC)
Like this?
Feb. 17th, 2006 12:22 am (UTC)
Re: Like this?
THAT would be the one! Thank you.

Do you not find that a bit....contradictory?
Feb. 17th, 2006 12:31 am (UTC)
Re: Like this?
it's too delicious...I almost wonder if it's a fake...except I saw other more headscratchers.
Feb. 17th, 2006 01:08 pm (UTC)
Re: Like this?
I just saw on the Today show that they have called for the assassination of the cartoonist.

Feb. 17th, 2006 04:38 am (UTC)
On one hand, I'm offended as a journalist that people are not reprinting these cartoons ("We can write about them perfectly clearly without showing them") and that the few who do (U Illinois' paper, for one) are getting into some very serious trouble.

On the other hand, there are times when free speech should be freely refrained from. The Danes pushed the envelope, and got slapped. It should've stopped there. Both sides have made mistakes. But, honestly, it's down to this: the sides don't understand each other AT ALL.

The Arabic nations don't really get the concept of an independent press; their news outlets are state-run, so they're taking out their ire on governments, since they automatically assume the government controls the press. However, the Danish press just doesn't GET how horrible those cartoons are to a Muslim. Blasphemy isn't taken overly seriously in modern Christian society, though it was as recently as a few decades ago. "Piss Christ" etc. evokes some visceral reactions, but it's part of a long history of persecution complexes and pushing boundaries. Islam has no such history...and has an immediate and definite prohibition on images of Muhammed. This was a calculated, blasphemous insult. The best analogy I can come up with is: it's like serving a huge steak dinner to a group of Hindus. Sure, it comes from ignorance, rather than malice, but it's...wow, it's stupid and insulting.

I can see both sides on this one. And I certainly don't agree with the flame-fanning that's been going on in the Middle East...respectable, sane Muslims are offended, but they're not starting or participating in riots. This whole thing has grown very out of proportion very quickly, and the purposefully incendiary action of a few (the clerics who added to and passed on the cartoons) has given a whole group an even MORE tarnished reputation than ever. But...yeah. Don't really blame the Muslims for their outrage. This is much more than "just" a cartoon to them.
Feb. 17th, 2006 05:50 am (UTC)
But...yeah. Don't really blame the Muslims for their outrage. This is much more than "just" a cartoon to them.

As I said, I've been plenty insulted in my life...I've had to learn to have a sense of proportion about it.

If Muslims have such thin skins that they can't take someone of their faith spoofing something about it, they jolly well need to get over themselves. Christians have had to deal with unbelievers mocking them, same for the Jews, same for women, same for Mormons, same for gays, same for nearly every group in civilized society.
Someone said it would be the same as if they went into a Mormon temple smoking, drinking and swearing up a storm.
Sure, I'd be offended but I wouldn't burn down their house or offer to behead them for the insult.

I've had it. If the Religion of Peace wants to be known as something other than bloodthirsty, knee jerk murderous hypocritic fanatics, they'd jolly well better stop acting like bloodthirsty, kneejerk, murderous, hypocritic fanatics.

From the first attack on the World Trade Center, The USS Cole, 9/11, the bombings in Madrid, the bombins in London, cutting off the head of Daniel Perl and a still screaming Nicholas Berg...all those happened without cartoon provocation...and now THEY'RE offended over cartoons?

Read fallenpegasus's comment about the use of the word "but."

Feb. 17th, 2006 05:51 am (UTC)
Sorry, that should read "NOT" of their faith.
Feb. 17th, 2006 07:50 pm (UTC)
I'm totally with you, Jett. On one hand, yes, it was insensitive of the Danish artist(s) to draw the cartoons, and probably in poor taste (and as you've said, rather bland), but quite honestly, so what. He (I'm assuming) lives in a free society. On the other hand, where I'm especially agreeing with you, those who are rioting (and killing and being generally violent) really need a lesson in perspective.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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