A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Friday, February 10, 2006

Still More Cartoon Thoughts

Who would've figured that the deep, possibly irreconcilable, differences between Muslim perceptions of the world and "Western" perceptions of the world would be brought into such stark contrast by a small batch of cartoons penned for an obscure Danish newspaper? Truly remarkable, and quite likely a bellweather for where our world is headed in the next ten to twenty years.

As he quite often does, Charles Krauthammer pretty well nails it. The key passages for me:
There is a "sensitivity" argument for not having published the cartoons in the first place, back in September when they first appeared in that Danish newspaper. But it is not September. It is February. The cartoons have been published, and the newspaper, the publishers and Denmark itself have come under savage attack. After multiple arsons, devastating boycotts, and threats to cut off hands and heads, the issue is no longer news value, i.e., whether a newspaper needs to publish them to inform the audience about what is going on. The issue now is solidarity.

The mob is trying to dictate to Western newspapers, indeed Western governments, what is a legitimate subject for discussion and caricature. The cartoons do not begin to approach the artistic level of Salman Rushdie's prose, but that's not the point. The point is who decides what can be said and what can be drawn within the precincts of what we quaintly think of as the free world.

The mob has turned this into a test case for freedom of speech in the West. The German, French and Italian newspapers that republished these cartoons did so not to inform but to defy -- to declare that they will not be intimidated by the mob.

Think he's overstating things? Maybe. Then again-- maybe not. And on the left we have... err... anybody? Kos, Eschaton, Wolcott... our own TC? Nothing (based on the current page of posts on 2/10/06-- I did not do an archive search)? Huh. Imagine that. Well, okay, there's this guy again, but he tries to make a joke out of everything, even when the subject isn't funny-- and even when he isn't funny,-- so I don't know if that counts. Though apparently most of his readers find the whole thing to be just a hoot. Including this genius.

The whole thing started with cartoons... but it isn't even remotely funny.


I've noticed the following regarding the Caliphate Crusade Concerning the Cartoons (TM).

1. When there is a perceived slight against Islam, even if it is felt only by a minority, we hear how we need to be more sensitive to the Muslim world. When there are riots or acts of violence committed in the name of Islam, even if the violent acts aren't committed by a small number of Muslims, we hear how the violence can't be attributed to the Muslim world as a whole since their faith has been "highjacked" by a small group of extremists. Basically, if the West does anything to offend even one Muslim, we must atone for the offense to the entirety of Islam; yet any violent acts committed in the name of Islam cannot be attributed to the Muslim world, but rather only to the "minority" committing those acts.

2. The media outlets which aren't showing or publishing the cartoons claim to be exercising such self-censorship in an attempt to be respectful of Islam or to avoid added fuel to the fire. Strangely enough, these same outlets generally haven't had the same concern to be respectful of other faiths (Piss Christ or Elephant Dung Virgin Mary), or to avoid adding fuel to the fire when other highly contentious items are in the spotlight (Abu Ghraib or the alleged Koran desecration at Guantanamo).

In an attempt to be more multi-culti, I'd like to offer an apology to those waging the Caliphate Crusade Concerning the Cartoons (TM):

Dear Islam,

I am sorry that you are so overly sensitive that you cannot handle even innocuous depictions of your beloved prophet. I am sorry that members of your own faith brought these blasphemous images back to your nations and displayed them to you. I am sorry that you have expressed your rage in such inappropriate manners, all the while not taking offense or action against those who brought the images into your nations in the first place. I am sorry that you have spent money on Danish flags (amongst others) to be burned in protest, an expenditure that has been forced upon you by Western insensitivities resulting in fewer funds available for the basic needs of the people in your nations. I am sorry that some of your governments are distracting you with this Western blasphemy, causing you to ignore the atrocities they themselves hoist upon you on a regular basis. I am sorry that your boycotts may be ineffective due to other insensitive Westerners switching some of their purchasing habits to include transactions with companies in the infidel nations that you oppose. I am sorry that you cannot handle free nations being free, simply because that freedom means that they may occasionally say or publish views and images that could be considered offensive to any group or individual.
Two men, each with a big and solid pair, held a brief counter-protest in Paris. Amazing how tolerant and peaceful the Muslim crowd is, isn't it?
...but he tries to make a joke out of everything...

As long as you furrow-browed fellas keep saying things like "Two men, each with a big and solid pair," the laffs will never end.
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