So, you remember that cartoon of “Muhammed” wearing a bomb for a turban, originally published by the Danish paper, Jyllands-Posten? Well, the International Free Press Society, decided to hold a fundraiser, and sold off 1000 prints of that infamous cartoon at $250 each, all signed and numbered by the original artist, Kurt Westergaard. They couldn’t even get a printer in Denmark to make them, they had to get it done outside of the country after word spread amongst the printing community that it was bad juju to get involved in this. After it was originally published, Kurt, the paper, Denmark, and the cartoon were the target of massive worldwide protests, the Danish embassy in Damascus was set on fire, denunciations from a plethora of countries and world leaders, death threats galore, and even several actual assassination plots/attempts against Kurt. He was even relocated, courtesy of the Danish government, where he has a 24/7 security detail, because he’s apparently the new Salmon Rushdie. All because he drew a fucking cartoon, of a guy who’s been dead for 1500 years, with a bomb in his hat. It should be said that the IFPS is a little moonbatty. I’m not really down with their politics, they seem to be using the “free speech” moniker more as a platform to attack Islam, than to truly support free speech. The founder, Lars Hedegaard is prone to letting really stupid shit spew from the hole in his face he uses for talking. That’s ok, douchebags have the right to free speech too. I’d rather have sent $250 to Kurt instead, but beggars can’t be choosers.
So, as I’m a huge fan of both free press, and ridiculous controversy, how can I not collect a memento of the shitstorm? This one is #430/1000. I’m not at all an autograph whore, but it was just so ridiculously controversial that I had to have it, not so much because it’s controversial, but because there’s really no good reason it *should* be controversial at all. It’s just some silly cartoon that somehow blew up(har!) and managed to piss off people all around the world, and become significant as a consequence. It’s not really even all that great a cartoon. It’s certainly not worthy of the controversy. The only reason it’s significant at all, is because people demanded an apology for it. The more noise was made, the more popular it became. You’ve gotta love the Streisand effect.
Big deal, so it’s a cartoon of a guy with a bomb for a hat. Heh! Bomb hats are kinda funny as a general concept. I’m sure it’s not so funny when it’s your hat, but still, if you think back on how you got into that situation, it’s probably at least a little funny.
So, how does someone go from “That’s an offensive mischaracterization of my religion, and the religious figure I hold so dear” to “In response, I must make myself a caricature of everything represented in the very cartoon that I am taking offense to in the first place. Jihad at Kurt’s place!” Doesn’t that just validate the cartoon?
Some who are offended by it say it’s a sin to make a pictorial representation of Muhammed. So? If it’s a “sin” for you, don’t do that. People who don’t share those same superstitions aren’t obligated to follow them. They’ve probably got plenty of silly superstitions of their own to keep them occupied. You stick with the non-idolatry, I’ll be over here not eating hot dog buns on Fridays. It’ll be all good. Extra hot dog buns for you, extra idolatry for me, win/win.
Some say it’s disrespectful to Muhammed. So? If it’s a sin to mock your holy figure, don’t mock him. The moment you decide it’s appropriate to tell someone else what they can, or can’t make satire of, then fuck you, and your delicate sensibilities. You don’t have the right to dictate what other people do, or say, even if it hurts your feelings. Your religious figures are not immune from criticism, whether that criticism comes in the form of rational argument, or biting satire. If your religious figures can’t tolerate criticism, then how weak must they truly be?
Some say it’s disrespectful to Muslims because it portrays a Muslim holy figure in a manner that’s suggestive of a violent stereotype. I say, no. It’s a freaking cartoon. It doesn’t suggest violence, it satirizes a violent stereotype in the same way that the Roadrunner, and Coyote do, or Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. The bomb is straight outta an ACME catalog for fucks sake. It’s probably not a coincidence that it was drawn as a very cartoonish sorta bomb, instead of something more realistic, such as a suicide vest. Why? Because it’s more absurd that way. Cartoons, absurdity, and satire go hand in hand. So, if it’s satire, who is being made fun of? It’s making fun of people who would wear bombs and blow themselves, and others people up in the name of their holy figure, thinking God is gonna reward them with a gaggle of virgins for their “sacrifice.” It’s kinda like making fun of the Snakehandlers because they think God told them to drink Strychine, and get bitten by rattlesnakes. It’s funny because it’s so fucking monumentally stupid. If you’re not the kind of person who does, or believes in the kind of shit that’s being satirized, then it’s not making fun of you, or your beliefs. It’s making fun of the stupid motherfuckers who blow shit up, cuz them bitchez is straight up retarded. You don’t have to like it, but retards *are*, objectively speaking, pretty funny sometimes.
For me, I see people getting butthurt about this cartoon, filled with righteous indignation and rage that someone would dare mock their holy figure like this. I wonder, where’s that same righteous indignation when a woman is having acid thrown into her face because she had the audacity to learn how to read, or to reject a suitor? Where’s the outrage when Saudi police watch a building full of schoolgirls burn, even going so far as to shove them back inside, because they didn’t think to grab their headscarves before fleeing the burning building? Where is the indignation at someone hijacking their faith for the purposes of evil? Where are the worldwide protests? Where is the moral outrage at having your religion hijacked by a bunch of assholes? It’s those assholes that caused cartoons like this to be created. If you want to be angry at someone, be angry at those guys, they’re the ones who damaged the reputation of your religion. I’m sure most Muslims do feel some measure of indignation about those things, but I wonder, why is that indignation so muted in comparison with indignation at the mockery of your religious figures? Which is the greater crime? Why are there worldwide protests in outspoken opposition to mockery, but muted in opposition to the brutality that inspires such mockery?
The real enemy is not a cartoon, or its artist. Getting angry at a cartoon, is like getting angry at the television when you see something you don’t like. It might have been the thing that triggered your offense, but it’s not what caused it.
Anyway, it’d be pretty cool to collect a Fatwa from some lunatic cleric, but I dunno about that whole being assassinated part. That’s pretty bogus.