OK, I guess I have to be the millionth blogger to post on the Islamic cartoon fiasco.
First off, Mark Steyn is more right than wrong in pointing out that always worrying about other people’s sensibilities is a good way to lose all our freedoms. And my good friend Mike Skovgaard echoes his sentiments.
In a sense, Islamic Cartoongate is a good thing.
It shows all us moderate westerners in Europe and North America that if we keep bending over to be sensitive and kind and inoffensive, eventually we bend so far our backs will break.
And our relatively open, free, and safe society will be dead, burnt in fact and just not in effigy at the stake of Muslim fundamentalism.
There are some encouraging signs that spines are actually being sought and found in Western Europe, just when many of us on the other side of the Atlantic wondered if such a thing was possible.
I have to say, I feel a little bit weird about this one, because I’m a Christian. And it often seems to be open season on the symbols of Christianity in our society. Any flakey no-talent artist who needs to generate controversy because he cannot create (good) art, dunks a crucifix in urine or some such idiotic thing.
This is annoying to most Christians. More than annoying, it’s sacrilegious. Grossly irreverent. However, Christians do not feel a need to riot, burn stuff, and kill people when this happens. “Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord,” is one of the key teachings of the Bible.
Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
(It’s worth noting that most Muslims consider the Bible a holy book as well. And that the Bible pre-dates the Koran/Qu’uran by some hundreds of years.)
But even though such behavior is annoying, and worse than annoying, it’s impossible to have a society worthy of the name where anytime anyone does anything offensive to another person we start a jihad to kill the infidel oppressor. As much as I dislike it, I’d rather have the irreverence than the police state that would replace it.
Which, is why, coming back to Cartoongate, while I think the cartoons are not a great idea, and not something I would do, I don’t want to see journalists, companies, countries, politicians, and societies lick fascist boots in response to the fundamentalist backlash.
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Any flakey no-talent artist who needs to generate controversy because he cannot create (good) art, dunks a crucifix in urine or some such idiotic thing.
One of the first things one learns in art school (I’m told) is that art isn’t always about the exhibit, but people’s reaction to the exhibit. Something tells me that the “Piss Christ” exhibit was put together to effect the latter.
I’ve read Fahrenheit 451 and I agree with the ideas of censorship leading to societal breakdown. That said, in regards to the cartoon-gate, just because one has the freedom to print something, doesn’t mean that one should.
I have the freedom to drive to Harlem, put a Klan outfit on and march down the street but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea by any stretch of the imagination. People need to think before they act.