Tuesday, February 07, 2006

How offensive

The controversy over the Danish cartoons satirizing Islam has brought out a wide array of revealing responses. The American right has put on a particularly fine display of smug self righteousness. The frankly insane reactions by some Muslims are effortlessly translated into the reaction of all Muslims, with the inference of defective religion effortlessly sliding into definitive statements about inferior culture and character. So the controversy becomes an opportunity to prattle on about the white man's burden, in appropriately coded form of course.

There has been more than a fair share of hypocrisy as well. The blithely contradictory responses of right wing nut job Michelle Malkin to the cartoons satirizing Mohammed (free speech!) and those satirizing Rumsfeld's indifference to military casualties (horrors) are nicely captured by the Defeatists.

It is also funny that in her list of inappropriate responses to an offensive cartoon, she provides the following list: "you do not burn flags, take up guns and raid buildings, chant death to your opponents, or threaten suicide bombings." How did flag burning make that list? Unlike the others there is no harm involved. But that is what she is really offended by. And it is a good litmus test for American hypocrisy on free speech.

Polls repeatedly show that a majority of Americans favor a Constitutional ban on flag burning. I think they are offended by it to nearly the same degree as many Muslims are offended by these cartoons. Threats of violence in response to flag burning are ubiquitous and are not generally considered particularly remarkable or outrageous. Even Hillary wants to put people in jail for burning flags.

Pursuing their own agendas, the Vatican and the US government have each issued statements affirming that anti-Muslim images are as unacceptable as anti-Semitic images and anti-Christian images. The real focus of course is on the last of these. They admire and would like to emulate much of the Muslim world in being able to stamp out the mocking of their own sacred cows.

And now it turns out that Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper that first published the cartoons had refused three years ago to run drawings lampooning Jesus Christ because they might be offensive to readers and were not funny.

For the record, a pox on all fanaticisms. No one has a right not to be offended. Getting all worked up over imaginary harm distracts from the very real harm that is happening all around us.


At 2/08/2006 5:54 AM, Blogger Comandante AgĂ­ said...

Concerning folks burning the flag
I'd always learned that burning was the
Proper, respectful way to dispose of a flag
When its become obsolete and worn out its usefulness
Hell, being an American is all about getting things off of your chest
And saying your peace
A visual aid can come in mighty handy for getting your point across
So don't be using up all your matches and lighters
Wavin 'em at those big concerts
Save 'em for the streets
Where they can express your true feelings
And those of our founding fathers
God bless all you flag burning patriots
Exercising your rights as Americans
-- Bombshelter, The Halo Benders

At 2/08/2006 10:56 AM, Blogger velid said...

Nice. I hadn't heard that one before. I've added it to my collection of patriotic tunes. It reminds me a bit of Jello's rant from the first Gulf War "Pledge of Allegiance." Link to free mp3 of it here along with "Die for Oil, Sucker" and "I was a teenage pacifist"

At 2/10/2006 4:39 PM, Blogger the serrach said...

about 'piss christ' .. i remember when it 'came out' and all the controversey that surrounded it. it was months later that i actually laid eyes on it. did anyone notice how beautiful it is?

i'm just sayin, totally off subject i know. just sayin.

At 2/10/2006 4:40 PM, Blogger the serrach said...

ps agi- love that halobenders song.

At 2/11/2006 11:37 AM, Blogger velid said...

Yeah. Even aside from the blasphemy, it is a great work of art.


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