Thursday, February 02, 2006

Culture Wars in the Funny Pages

Satire has been a strong and effective, yet unbloody tool for centuries. Maybe if more parties in today's global conflicts adopted this form of jostling, there'd be less hate and bloodshed.
-Ed Karten, London (BBC message board)

I reckon most of you have heard by now about those now-infamous cartoons (check out a few here)that appeared in the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten which depict the profet Muhammadin a less-than-flattering light? According to the folks at Technocrati, (who keep track of 'blog traffic) this is by far the biggest story at the blog-o-sphere at the moment.

Dan Rubin at Blinq reports--
Newspapers across Europe are reprinting cartoons that ridicule the prophet Muhammad in solidarity with papers in Denmark and Norway that have become the subjects of widespread protests in the Muslim world.

Germany's Die Welt published one of the offending caricatures on Wednesday's front page proclaiming the "right to blasphemy" is a democratic freedom. Other wide-circulation papers to make the gesture include Italy's La Stampa, Le Soir in France and the Spanish El Periodico. Le Soir fired its managing director yesterday, and apologized to the Muslim community.

Protests and boycotts have spread across the Middle East and Europe following the publications of the cartoons-which include Muhammad with a bomb in his turban. The Islamic faith considers any depiction of the profit to be blasphemous. Someone phoned a bomb threat to the conservative Danish daily Jyllands-Posten and the Washington Post reposts there have been calls for a religious decree to attack Danish troops serving in Iraq.

First of all, I was pretty shocked to learn that the Danes were in Iraq, but that's for another day. Rather than issuing a fatwah to bomb newspapers and kill Danish soldiers, why not a call for Muslim cartoonists to parody Danes and their culture instead?

This slice of the culture wars represents a real philosophical and moral dilema for this progressive American. On the one hand, I wanna be open-minded to religious diversity and respectful of others' opinions and worldviews. But in this case, for me to do so would be a real compromise of my own values. Freedom of expression is important to me.

I've been told I lean so far left to the political continuum, that sometimes I come back around on the other side. Perhaps this is one of those times.






In response to the controversy, yesterday's
France Soir newspaper ran this comic on their front page which shows Buddah, Jesus and Jewish God saying, "Don't complain Muhammad, we've all been parodied here!"

5 comments:

'Bean said...

Jay,

The parody is only half the issue - and the Serious and Fatwa-Deserving Blaspheming is sort of a smoke-screen.

Positive depics of Mohammed, after all, have been met with a smile and nod.

The issue is "the ability to allow tolerance."

Given I'm an Western-born, Western-raised, Western-educated EX Muslim, I can tell you most assuredly that Islam is as intolerant as the Southern Baptists, Church of the Father (White Supremecist, Calvinist-Based church), or the Pentacostals.

Whether women, children, GLBTs, artists, dissidents, all stripes of Leftists . . . Islam dislikes it all.

S'why, my dear fellow, I converted to Judaism as a part of my own recovery process - flexible Higher Power concept, 2 of the five major movements overly allow same-sex marriage and one is in-process of making it happen.

My former people just sorta want to set me ablaze - sort of like those contractors on that bridge in Iraq.

Or, to put the above sentiment in a sentence, "Don't expect such a very conservative, very angry socio-religous perspective to retort in cartoon: like all very conservative perspecitves, over-reaction is now the order of the day."

'Bean said...

ah, damn: paragraph 6 above; "overly" should be "overtly"

Brian FInch said...

This over reaction has only served to bring the so-called offending images to a much wider, global audience.

Anonymous said...

patti says:
Fabulous post, but scary situation.

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