Saturday, February 04, 2006

It's a Real Base Irony, But It's Still a Hoot

So someone makes a crude stereotype that Muslims are intolerant and violent. How would one react to this? With intolerance and violence, of course.

Yes, I know that it's verboten to draw images of Mohammad and all, but I find it hard to work up much sympathy for the whole "death to anyone who insults my religion" attitude.

What's next? Riots when someone implies the Bible isn't the literal word of God? Smashed windows if one questions the divinity of the Dailai Lama? Widespread looting if someone says the Pope wears a funny hat?

I don't want to dismiss anyone's religious beliefs. I know the issue is complicated and all.

I guess I should not be surprised, however, by the Bush administration's position. When forced to choose between freedoms protected by our Bill of Rights and a bunch of religious extremists, one guess who they side with:
Inserting itself into a dispute that has become a lightning rod for anti-European sentiment across the Muslim world, the United States sided with Muslims outraged that the publications put press freedom over respect for religion.

"These cartoons are indeed offensive to the belief of Muslims," State Department spokesman Kurtis Cooper said in answer to a question.

"We all fully recognize and respect freedom of the press and expression but it must be coupled with press responsibility. Inciting religious or ethnic hatreds in this manner is not acceptable."

I don't think it too far of a leap for them to apply the same logic to a cartoon depicting Jesus decrying the injustice of tax cuts for the wealthy or for starting an unprovoked war.

The world sure has changed since Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses unleashed the fatwas. The death sentence for an author writing a book was fodder for late night TV jokes. Now such anti-humanist attitudes are endorsed by the U.S. government.


Studiodave said...

(1) Thanks for the Bill Hicks reference. Always makes me smile.

(2) I was hoping some comedian with some stones would stage an apology by pretending to cut the head off the author, editor, type setter, printing machine repairman, paper sales manager, paperboy... you get the image.

(3) This strikes me like a Biggie Smalls thing where people got from talking and making a living to being willing to die for the respect of people they openly dislike.

Tokyo Joe said...

I'm actually not too surprised by our govt's reaction to this. for all the crap the US took from most of Europe about going into Iraq, it must be great for them to point back at them and tell them they are being irresponsible. Besides, any chance to stifle the freedom of speech is probably a good thing in their eyes.

On the same topic, Malkn(IMO the reps' hottest nutjob) that surprisingly brings up some good points. What is it about Muslim that deserves special treatment? Personally, I beleive that any religion that isn't based on peace, love, and understanding isn't worth even dealing with.

Studiodave said...

Agreed TJ; besides what's so funny about:

peace, love, and understanding....

Thrillhous said...

I love your second point, Studio. But when the fatwa gets issued against you, I ain't never heard of ya.

But iRod, I think you're jumping to conclusions here about the US government stance on this issue.

The dude says "Inciting religious or ethnic hatreds in this manner is not acceptable."

Get it? Inciting hatreds in this manner is unacceptable. There's still a whole pile of ways to incite hatred that are perfectly acceptable. For instance, flushing Korans down toilets, rubbing menstrual blood on prisoner's faces, waterboarding innocent bystanders, and so on. These are all perfectly fine - no, patriotic - ways to incite ethnic hatred.

Otto Man said...

Get it? Inciting hatreds in this manner is unacceptable. There's still a whole pile of ways to incite hatred that are perfectly acceptable.

Thrillhous gets it. And what he gets is a one-way ticket to lovey Guantanamo Bay for re-education.

S.W. Anderson said...

A news story this evening said Syrians torched the Danish and Norwegian embassies over the big cartoon deal.

I've noticed that when people get so full of themselves and violently out of hand that there's no other way, a near-annihilation experience can work wonders in adjusting a bad attitude.

However, not being a big fan of nuclear first strikes or prolonged carpet bombing, I come back to another alternative: disengagement.

I saw the other day where we supposedly get only 11 percent of our oil from the Middle East. Well, suppose we go on an 11 percent fuel diet? Suppose we tell the bunch of them it's been real, and then leave them to have at one another?

The idea is to keep a polite distance and react very proactively, even decisively, if they come our way with trouble.

It took Europe nearly 2,000 years to settle down. And Europe has traditionally been considered a model of advanced civilization. It's looking as though the Mideast is just nearing the halfway mark, if they're that far along.

Is the oil really worth all the expensive and deadly hassles? I'm not convinced it is.

Tokyo Joe said...

I agree with you 100%, SW. Except I would take it a bit farther and put Cuba style embargo on all of the middle east countries that couldn't get their $hit together. Of course the problem with that is that we would then be blamed for all of the poverty that would ensue. I heard somm a$$hat once try to blame up to 500,000 children's death due to the economic sanctions that we put on Iraq. Of course no one thought of blamming the guys with the mansions who are looking to have themselves gold plated. The way I see it, the middle east has about 40-50 years left until they run out of oil or we figure out another source of energy. Then they will go the way of Africa - a small minded places that is quickly turning to $hit without anyone caring at all.

Otto Man said...

Not a bad idea. The only kink in it, I think, is Iran getting a nuclear program underway. That might make isolation too dicey.

Thrillhous said...

Definitely interesting stuff, but I don't know if we could get an effective embargo on the middle east, cuz I don't know how many other countries would join in the embargo. We can stop buying their oil, but China would just suck it all up; in fact, a U.S. embargo of the middle east might be a great thing for China and the other growing consumers, none of whom particularly love us.

Of course, I just watched Syriana last night, so my perspective might be a little skewed today. I know my fingernails are feeling sensitive.