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Of group blogs & gratuitously offending (bumped)

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:12 pm - April 27, 2010.
Filed under: Blogging,Freedom

Just because Bruce, Nick and I write for the same blog doesn’t mean we always agree.  Nor does it mean that we always approve of the others’ posts.  To be sure, there are times when we coordinate — or share a draft with one another before publishing it, but more often than not (like in about 97.43% of the time), each just posts his piece without consulting the others.

I did  not think it appropriate for him to use this blog promote Draw Mohammed Day.  In the comment thread I agreed with Banzel:

Not a good idea to gratuitously offend tens of millions of people (think depictions of Christ in urine or dung, or blackface displays). All it accomplishes is showing how shallow and unimaginative the purveyor is.

Put some thought into it. There’s got to be a better way to respond to hate than by fanning the flames of a pretext it uses to thrive on.

Since this story broke, I chanced upon Ann Althouse’s take and agree wholeheartedly with this Badger State blogress diva:

I have endless contempt for the threats/warnings against various cartoonists who draw Muhammad (or a man in a bear suit who might be Muhammad, but is actually Santa Claus). But depictions of Muhammad offend millions of Muslims who are no part of the violent threats. In pushing back some people, you also hurt a lot of people who aren’t doing anything (other than protecting their own interests by declining to pressure the extremists who are hurting the reputation of their religion).

I don’t like the in-your-face message that we don’t care about what other people hold sacred. Back in the days of the “Piss Christ” controversy, I wouldn’t have supported an “Everybody Dunk a Crucifix in a Jar of Urine Day” to protest censorship. Dunking a crucifix in a jar of urine is something I have a perfect right to do, but it would gratuitously hurt many Christian bystanders to the controversy. I think opposing violence (and censorship) can be done in much better ways.

I agree.  Read the whole thing.

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87 Comments

  1. I don’t think all Muslims are Islamic extremists, then that would be negative stereotyping. Maybe people can construct their message instead on those murderous, power-hungry Islamistas. I could make a graphic art of a terrorist in a keffiyeh mask and add a caption like, “There is a reason terrorists wear masks…Its too hide there ugly teeth. Would any innocent person (Muslim or non-Muslim) want to submit themselves to a bunch of creepy turds?” Something like that.

    Comment by Totakikay — April 27, 2010 @ 4:55 am - April 27, 2010

  2. Just like Althouse, your comparisons to Piss Christ are specious.

    No one died or was even menaced (or even inconvenienced) over Piss Christ.

    And no: it doesn’t just accomplish a shallow display. It demonstrates that people refuse to put borders on speech based on threats terrorism while spreading out the danger of that speech among “too many” targets. The answer to any threat – especially death threats – over speech is always, always to keep speaking in exactly that way. To do anything else is to concede that the speech is forbidden.

    Comment by DoDoGuRu — April 27, 2010 @ 7:20 am - April 27, 2010

  3. So, these ‘millions of innocent Muslims’ are excused and don’t have to stand up against the wrongs and murderous expressions perpetrated on innocents worldwide by the (supposedly) minority number of ‘extremists’ in their religion, culture and society…
    but I have to stand on my head, whistle “Dixie” out of my ass and tip-toe through the tulips so as to not offend through a cartoon…? You almost sound like you’ve got ‘Battered SuperPower Syndrome’ and that we may have deserved the malicious attention we’re getting.
    Respect and consideration are earned.
    While there is a baseline reverence and respect due all religions/spirituality, out of deference to their individual believers…they too have a responsibility to respect the environment in which their beliefs are practiced, namely mankind.
    I’m not supporting a free-for-all when it comes to directed expression or intentional offense; but any bully (and his taggers-on) trying to take over the sandbox should have no expectation that there will be no “your mama is so fat…” slung at him.

    Comment by rodney — April 27, 2010 @ 7:24 am - April 27, 2010

  4. Dan, I think you’re being far too generous and gracious.

    It’s immature to argue, even in a sarcastic tone, that one promote a Draw Mohammed Day. It belittles that great prophet’s, Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullāh, significant contribution to the advance of religion and the social integration of a struggling, corrupt 6thC arab world. His teachings today have been corrupted by many –just like some on the farRight have done to Christ’s teachings.

    While it might feel good for some to practice “in your face” political activism like this, it is further evidence of the very coarsening of our National soul and political character. We need serious people concerned about correcting America’s ills –not those who simply want to pick up the bricks and toss ’em at the easiest target. Like many on the farRight and farLeft, the easy willingness and eager pleasure found in demonizing opponents should be called out for what it is: dysfunctional, untoward, destructive of the public market place of ideas.

    You were far too genrous and gracious in calling it out. I hope others can find the termperment and conviction to do so, as well.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — April 27, 2010 @ 7:56 am - April 27, 2010

  5. Crocodile tears over the “coarsening of political discourse” reveal a bizarre amnesia about history; pining for a state of courtly political civility that never existed.

    Comment by DoDoGuRu — April 27, 2010 @ 8:09 am - April 27, 2010

  6. MM, Dan,

    I’ve not weighed in on my two c-bills, but I’m all for this ‘draw mohammed (possessing basically underaged harems) ‘ day. The fact remains that the reason you see people pick on/abuse Christians and Jews (even by government officials) is that they/we complain and then get over it, accepting it’s the price of free speech, speech we don’t like. The Terrorists’ veto has been the Elephant in the Room for years now. Kevin Smith gave into it back in 2005, and people have been killed over it.

    Will it offend some? Yes. The disconnect between Matt and Trey and Maplethorp, is that it’s my understanding that South Park doesn’t have a NEA grant, so if you don’t want to support it, don’t watch the channel.

    To me it seems that if the arguement is that (non-Muslims voluntarily) drawing Mohammed (propeller beanie upon him) shouldn’t be done because it might offend moderate Muslims, then certainly we should ban abortion because it might offend moderate Christians (and I assume Muslims). Heck lets ban sex outside of marriage because it might offend someone, somewhere!

    The fact remains that we’re being squashed by the heckler’s veto. This concept is a method of hammering home four simple words. “I will not submit.”

    Comment by The_Livewire — April 27, 2010 @ 8:20 am - April 27, 2010

  7. An anecdote:

    I was in Egypt not long after the Danish publication of the cartoons that roiled the Muslims in the Middle East. I saw several shops in Cairo with signs telling Danes not to enter.

    My Egyptian host was a well educated and internationally sophisticated university professor. As we sat having a conversation accompanied by forbidden alcohol, I asked him about the impact of the cartoons on the general public.

    He immediately, vociferously, forcefully cursed the outrage of depicting the prophet. His rant was uncharacteristic to our prior conversations, it was heart felt and seemed to come from a deep place within him that I had never seen.

    Soon enough, the air cleared and we chatted on. But I have no illusions about where my host would stand if there were to be a division. I know many Muslims who are in the “religion-lite” category. But there is no such thing, in my experience, as a non-Muslim Muslim. To even think that a Muslim can be “reasoned” out of the basic tenets of Islam is dangerously naive.

    You might want to search around the web for a gay Muslim site.

    Understand that the Muslim culture is “supreme.” Many Muslims will go along to get along and even become Westernized to the extent of mostly adopting the Judeo-Christian ethic. But the Koran and Sharia are full of incompatibilities with other systems of religion and temporal law. There is no “Golden Rule” in Islam and there is no question about the “one true religion” and the militancy necessary to conquer and rule the “infidel.”

    If there is to be a religious “war” there is no question which side is ready, willing and able to fight to the death.

    Comment by heliotrope — April 27, 2010 @ 8:25 am - April 27, 2010

  8. “You might want to search around the web for a gay Muslim site.”

    One of GLen Beck’s guests in the past is a Western lesbian Muslim (shame she plays for the other team, she’s cute too). She was one of the organizing forces behind the ‘Muslim Diet’ in Florida a couple years ago. I can’t remember her name unfortunately, but I remember CAIR was pretty loud in their denouncement that her and the Diet couldn’t speak for Muslims or for Mohammed (Peanut Butter Upon Ham).

    Comment by The_Livewire — April 27, 2010 @ 8:29 am - April 27, 2010

  9. Frankly, I think Althouse was threatened regarding her TOS, but I can’t be sure until I go to the site. It just sounds bizarre to me. The major objection to “piss Christ” was, as someone pointed out in the comments of the previous post in question, more to do with the idea of the government funding of such art. To be sure, there are numerous far-right Christians that would ban all such art if they had their way, but that was never a serious concern.

    I should also point out that this is in reality a manufactured issue among Islamic radicals, to a point. Naturally, Muslims are aggrieved at any insulting depictions of Mohammed, but the artistic depiction of Mohammed in and of itself was a fairly commonplace mode of artistic depiction, at least among the Shi’ites. In those last comments, I provided the link to a site that had modern day satirical depictions of him, but the same site also contains a section of genuine artistic depictions of Mohammed-

    http://www.zombietime.com/

    or

    http://zombietime.com/

    I don’t have the exact page of Mohammed artwork by Muslim artists handy, but it should be fairly easy to find.

    The point is, again, this is to a degree a hyped up issue, but more to the point, Christians and Jews have had their religious beliefs mocked in the West for decades now, and I have yet to notice any degree of mass destruction or mayhem as a result. If practitioners of the religion of Islam wish to live in western society, one, they should assimilate, and two, they should accept that in the grand scheme of things their religion is special only to them, and is not above satire, and even outright mockery. That’s just the way it is.

    Muslims have roughly forty countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, the vast majority of which they have conquered by way of war and intimidation. In a great many cases, they have successfully destroyed the remnants of many ancient cultures that came before them.

    Iraq was originally Mesopotamia, the region of Babylon and Assyria. Arab Muslims overwhelmed it. Now the grand total of Assyrians and Chaldaeans in the area is at most one percent each. Why is that? Nor is this the only example to which one could point.

    So while I for one do not wish to offend any peaceful Muslims, I certainly don’t respect their wish to not have to suffer the same degree of indignities that Christians and Jews suffer every day. If their faith is so weak they can’t take some good old fashioned satirical ridicule, then maybe they have serious mental problems after all, which means, maybe they aren’t so innocent after all.

    Comment by PatrickKelley — April 27, 2010 @ 8:32 am - April 27, 2010

  10. Found her, Irshad Manji.

    Comment by The_Livewire — April 27, 2010 @ 8:32 am - April 27, 2010

  11. Livewire, the link is interesting. The poor lady is going to find much sympathy from the liberals and no one at her side or covering her back when the fatwa is proclaimed. All liberals, like Norman Mailer, are big talk and secure in their bunkers. When Rushdie got his fatwa-gram, PEN and all the huffy, puffy writers scooted to their basements and drank themselves silly bemoaning the beastly world of the common man.

    Anyone engaged in moderating the Muslim world had best study Ataturk, Mubarak and the Husseins of Jordan. Even Assad has got the technique down to a science. When the last Muslim caliph was abandoning the Alhambra his own mother told him that “you weep like a woman for what you could not keep as a man.”

    Comment by heliotrope — April 27, 2010 @ 9:41 am - April 27, 2010

  12. I posted this in the other thread for you to chance upon as well, but since the discussion has moved, I’ll post it here too.

    James Taranto also agrees that the “Draw Muhammad Day” or as I’ve been calling it, “F*ck Muslims Day” is a stupid idea. Indeed, he not only agrees with me, but his language and arguments are so similar to mine, it almost sounds as though hes been reading that thread:

    Everybody Burn the Flag
    If we don’t act like inconsiderate jerks, the terrorists will have won!

    …Until 1989, it was a crime in some states to burn the American flag as a political statement. In Texas v. Johnson the U.S. Supreme Court held that this is protected symbolic speech. In ensuing years members of Congress repeatedly tried to propose a constitutional amendment permitting the criminalization of flag burning. It is the view of this column that flag burning is and should remain protected speech. We deplore it nonetheless, and we think holding an “Everybody Burn the Flag Day” would be stupid, obnoxious and counterproductive if one seeks to persuade others that flag burning should be tolerated. [AE: gosh that language sounds familiar!]

    “Hate speech”–for example, shouting racial slurs, positing theories of racial supremacy or denying the Holocaust–is illegal in Canada and many European countries. In the U.S. it is protected by the First Amendment–but it has been known to provoke a violent reaction. Last week we noted that left-wing counterprotesters beat up members of a white-supremacist group who were holding a rally in Los Angeles. The Associated Press reports from Pearl, Miss., that “a white supremacist lawyer was stabbed and beaten to death by a black neighbor who had done yard work for him, police said Friday.”

    It’s not clear if the motive for the Mississippi killing was political, but surely everyone can agree that battery and murder are not appropriate responses to the expression of invidious views. This column is also of the opinion that hate-speech laws are pernicious and that the First Amendment does and should protect the expression of even ugly and false ideas. But we would not endorse or participate in an “Everybody Shout a Racial Slur Day” or an “Everybody Deny the Holocaust Day” to make the point.

    Why is “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” different? Because the taboo against depictions of Muhammad is not a part of America’s common culture. The taboos against flag burning, racial slurs and Holocaust denial are. The problem with the “in-your-face message” of “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” is not just that it is inconsiderate of the sensibilities of others, but that it defines those others–Muslims–as being outside of our culture, unworthy of the courtesy we readily accord to insiders. It is an unwise message to send, assuming that one does not wish to make an enemy of the entire Muslim world. [read the whole thing]

    I’d also point out that Taranto said,

    Our reflexive response to “Everybody Draw Mohammad Day”–which we too thought was serious, not having seen Norris’s cartoon or her disclaimer–was sympathetic.

    But one of the most essential characteristics that, I hope, distinguishes conservatives is that we are NOT reflexive, but actually think things through. If you want reactionary, knee jerk hysterics, be a regressive. That’s where emotional, reflexive, hysterical reaction has its home. Conservatives try to be logical and reason things through. That’s why our ideas work and theirs do not.

    But anyone should be able to see that gratuitously offending people who perpetrated no wrong and whom we theorhetically want to win over to our point of view is a very bad, and blatantly counterproductive idea.

    The biggest red flag that this was an unwise idea should have been the regressive dildo advice columnist from whence it came.

    But even the artist who started the whole thing has since changed her mind and withdrawn her support of the event.

    Comment by American Elephant — April 27, 2010 @ 9:48 am - April 27, 2010

  13. oops, “theoretically”

    Comment by American Elephant — April 27, 2010 @ 9:50 am - April 27, 2010

  14. Sure ‘Draw a Mohammed Day’ is a stupid idea….. so was the United States of America.

    Next subject……….

    Comment by Spartann — April 27, 2010 @ 10:07 am - April 27, 2010

  15. I disagree. I think caving into the threats of extremists is letting the bullies win. I will not submit. I’ll be drawing and posting Mohammed on 520.

    Comment by V the K — April 27, 2010 @ 10:12 am - April 27, 2010

  16. I mean, if you are going to say, “we have to respect what the majority of Muslims believe about depicting the prophet,” but also, “we don’t have to respect what the majority of Muslims believe about homosexual behavior” … well, then you’re being a bit of a hypocrite, aren’t you?

    Comment by V the K — April 27, 2010 @ 10:19 am - April 27, 2010

  17. LOL @ Spartann.

    As to your arguements AE, the issue I have is on the ‘clash of civilizations’ viewpoint. The ones who hate us, hate us already, drawing Mohammed won’t change that. We’ve had 8 years of anti-American propoganda, from Newsweek’s (false) story about urine on a Koran to the (risable) claims of Guantanamo being a Hellhole.

    The flag burning, I feel, is a false arguement. If the government was trying to make it illegal to draw Mohammed (Please Bake Unitl Hot) in the US it would be one thing. This isn’t a united effort to control speech, this is threatening to kill people for expressing themselves. By taking part, we instead say that, “we won’t be intimidated by some 7th century nutballs, this is the US in the 21st century, and you have to accept that we’re all standing behind freedom of expression especially expression that you don’t like.

    Even the ‘flag burning ammendment’ referenced in your piece is a move proposed (and opposed) by an enlightened society, through the democratic process. This is nothing of the sort. This is people who thing they are more intelligent spiritual than us who want to drag us into their future past.

    Comment by The_Livewire — April 27, 2010 @ 10:19 am - April 27, 2010

  18. Dan, the problem here is that your fundamental premise is incorrect. As you quoted it from Althouse:

    depictions of Muhammad offend millions of Muslims who are no part of the violent threats

    First: Who says, Dan? How do you know that? Why would you think that?

    Here is a link to some evidence to the contrary: Islamic depictions of Mohammed in Full, from history. Consider the possibility that what you think you know here, isn’t so. I am well aware that that is unbelievably difficult for some – but, as you’ve shown in the past, not for you.

    Second – “millions of Muslims who are no part of the violent threats” – let’s think about what that really means. Are you talking about Muslims who understand the importance of free speech? Are you talking about Muslims who reject Islamo-fascism? Because, Dan, such people would be Muslim dissidents. I quote one such dissident. Speaking of the threats on Parker and Stone which later inspired Everybody Draw Mohammed Day, she said:

    It is an assault on the freedom of expression, and we have to defend it tooth and nail. And that means we all stand by Mr. Stone and Mr. Parker.

    As a dissident, she no longer considers herself a Muslim, but other Muslims still consider her a Muslim (it’s the kind of thing they don’t let you leave). But let us consider Muslims who still consider themselves Muslims. Would we call them “moderates”? As Classical Liberal Dave said better than I could:

    A muslim either understands that others are not required to agree with and abide by the strictures of Islam, or his isn’t a moderate muslim. There is a depiction of Mohammed on the US Supreme Court building in DC. Should we remove it because it might offend “moderate muslims”?

    Would you have a good answer to that question, Dan? That is: If your position is correct, then we should alter the U.S. Supreme Court building, should we not?

    But my larger point here is this: Either a Muslim understands and values free speech, or he doesn’t. The ones who do, find Islamo-fascism just as objectionable as we do, and thinking they would be offended by EDMD is your assumption. And, pardon my saying, but it is a patronizing, infantilizing assumption. The unspoken part is that they are moral infants, easily hurt, unable to distinguish what is really going on with EDMD. That, if anything, is-or-should-be offensive here to “moderate Muslims”.

    Which brings us finally to the question, what is really going on with EDMD?

    You call it “gratuitously offending”. That, Dan, is also offensive. When the good citizens of Denmark wore yellow stars to show their solidarity with Danish Jews, and to spread the risk of being kidnapped/imprisoned by the Nazis for being Jewish, were they “gratuitously offending”? Because that is the situation here.
    – The Islamists *are fascists*.
    – They are targeting people who exercise free speech, just as the Nazis targeted Jews.
    – Everybody Draw Mohammed Day is a way for the public, who love freedom, to voluntarily dilute the threats of retaliation falling on them.

    With respect and friendship, Dan, the one being offensive here is you. (And Althouse, etc.) You make patronizing, false and negative assumptions about moderate Muslims – that they are moral infants, easily offended, against depictions of Mohammed despite it being done through most of Islamic history. And you make patronizing, false and negative assumptions about the proponents of EDMD – that their motivation is to “gratuitously offend”. Shame on you! You should know better.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 27, 2010 @ 10:24 am - April 27, 2010

  19. P.S. Althouse here is particularly bad – Particularly engaged in stupid tropes.

    Back in the days of the “Piss Christ” controversy, I wouldn’t have supported an “Everybody Dunk a Crucifix in a Jar of Urine Day” to protest censorship.

    Censorship in the case of Piss Christ was different, i.e., appropriate, because it was funded with taxpayer money – rather than being something people would support voluntarily, as they chose to or not. And that is the point: freedom. Voluntary action. EDMD is not being funded with taxpayer money. Ann, if you don’t support it, that’s fine – that’s your freedom at work – but could you kindly please avoid saying things that are false and stupid? Thanks.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 27, 2010 @ 10:28 am - April 27, 2010

  20. You make patronizing, false and negative assumptions about moderate Muslims – that they are moral infants, easily offended, against depictions of Mohammed despite it being done through most of Islamic history.

    Good point, ILC. When you put it that way, it sounds as condescending as the rationalizations for Affirmative Action.

    Comment by V the K — April 27, 2010 @ 10:29 am - April 27, 2010

  21. there is no such thing, in my experience, as a non-Muslim Muslim. To even think that a Muslim can be “reasoned” out of the basic tenets of Islam is dangerously naive.

    You might want to search around the web for a gay Muslim site.

    heliotrope, that’s the thing. The actual moderate Muslims – and there are some; in fact I did see a gay Muslim site once – are themselves targeted by death threats. Again as CLD put it, “A muslim either understands that others are not required to agree with and abide by the strictures of Islam, or he isn’t a moderate muslim.”

    But the more targets we can collectively offer the Islamo-fascists, the better for moderate Muslims – and us. Thus, EDMD is ultimately an exercise in *standing with* moderate Muslims. Honestly, I’m still mulling over what my exact participation is going to be. But I know that I will feel proud of everyone who does participate.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 27, 2010 @ 10:37 am - April 27, 2010

  22. #20 – thanks V.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 27, 2010 @ 10:38 am - April 27, 2010

  23. Even if you think you have a great idea for a cartoon that will deftly skewer the violence and double standards of the Islamists without attacking Muhammad in a gratuitously offensive way — and thereby alienating even liberal, pro-freedom Muslims — you need to consider the possibility that your clever, light-handed satire will be swamped by an avalanche of entries in which Muhammad is on his knees slurping his own shit and “santorum” from the spiral-shaped cock of a relaxed, cigarette-smoking pig. (That Dan Savage is sponsoring EDMD almost guarantees this.)

    Thus, it’s probably wiser to save your cartoon for a few months down the road rather than be directly associated with EDMD.

    Comment by Throbert McGee — April 27, 2010 @ 10:39 am - April 27, 2010

  24. Actually, I was thinking of going for the two-fer and drawing Mohammed reading Obama’s birth certificate. Dan Savage is a pig, granted. But, the point is, one can only be responsible for what one draws, not what others do.

    Comment by V the K — April 27, 2010 @ 10:47 am - April 27, 2010

  25. I’m surprised no comment from Sarjex yet…

    Comment by The_Livewire — April 27, 2010 @ 10:58 am - April 27, 2010

  26. Thus, EDMD is ultimately an exercise in *standing with* moderate Muslims.

    It could be that, but it probably won’t — instead, it’s likely to be a few glasses of fine wine poured into a lake of sewage.

    For a really splendid example of how to satirize jihadis in a gleefully offensive manner without stepping on the toes of moderate Muslims, I would point to Ahmed and Salim — a South Park-inspired, Israeli-made, YouTube-hosted cartoon about two Muslim Arab brothers whose only obsessions are Guitar Hero and Facebook (even as their fanatically bloodthirsty father, Yasser, schemes about blowing up Jews, Americans, Jews, and more Jews).

    Comment by Throbert McGee — April 27, 2010 @ 11:11 am - April 27, 2010

  27. Throbert, free speech is protected by its merely being exercised. One could do the stupidest, most offensive depiction of Mohammed imaginable (though I am not suggesting it) and it would be an exercise in *standing with* moderate Muslims, that is, those Muslims who actually get it / agree that others are not required to agree with and abide by the strictures of Islam.

    I did want to answer this earlier bit:

    [the] great prophet[], Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullāh

    … who married a nine year old, advocated the killing of Jews, and spread a religion by the sword, in contrast to Jesus of Nazareth who let Himself be killed in part to set an example of NOT spreading religion by the sword. Just the facts, and somebody should say them out loud.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 27, 2010 @ 11:21 am - April 27, 2010

  28. ILC, if you make offensive depictions of Muhammad, you’re creating clip-art for the jihadis to use in their recruitment literature — how exactly is that “standing with the moderates”?

    Look, if an Islamic extremist offered me $500 to draw a cartoon of Muhammad fellating a pig, so that his group could use it as a cover illustration for a pamphlet entitled “How the Zionist/Homosexual-Controlled Media Defames Our Prophet, PBUH”, I wouldn’t take his money (much as I could use $500 right now) — because by providing his group with such a cartoon, I’d be contributing propaganda to their ugly cause.

    Now, given that, how much more FUCKING RE-TAH-DID would it be for me to create such a cartoon and not even get paid for my efforts!? When you’re effectively doing “pro bono” public-relations work on behalf of your bitterest enemies, you’re being a moron.

    Comment by Throbert McGee — April 27, 2010 @ 11:44 am - April 27, 2010

  29. Well, it looks as though Althouse is singing a different tune from the one she was singing in this post from April 22nd-

    http://althouse.blogspot.com/2010/04/comedy-central-cowers-in-face-of-murder.html

    As I suspected, she blogs for Blogger, which is who I blog for. I am painfully aware of their TOS. Were I to run afoul of it, my blog would probably be summarily deleted without warning. I have an idea they showed Althouse greater consideration because she is one of their better know bloggers, with a wide readership.

    Comment by PatrickKelley — April 27, 2010 @ 11:45 am - April 27, 2010

  30. ILC, if you make offensive depictions of Muhammad, you’re creating clip-art for the jihadis to use in their recruitment literature — how exactly is that “standing with the moderates”?

    Look, if an Islamic extremist offered me $500 to draw a cartoon of Muhammad fellating a pig, so that his group could use it as a cover illustration for a pamphlet entitled “How the Zionist/Homosexual-Controlled Media Defames Our Prophet, PBUH”, I wouldn’t take his money (much as I could use $500 right now) — because by providing his group with such a cartoon, I’d be contributing propaganda to their ugly cause.

    Now, given that, how much more f*cking re-tah-did would it be for me to create such a cartoon and not even get paid for my efforts!? When you’re effectively doing “pro bono” public-relations work on behalf of your bitterest enemies, you’re being a moron.

    Comment by Throbert McGee — April 27, 2010 @ 11:46 am - April 27, 2010

  31. Throbert McGee and V the K-

    I’m not really familiar with Dan Savage, but I was just wondering, are you possibly confusing him with Michael Savage?

    Comment by PatrickKelley — April 27, 2010 @ 11:52 am - April 27, 2010

  32. Patrick Kelley — No, I’m not. And, while I don’t really care for either one of them, I could at least shake Michael Savage’s hand without cringing about where it had been.

    Comment by V the K — April 27, 2010 @ 11:56 am - April 27, 2010

  33. Patrick — I’d pretty much echo what V the K said (except maybe the part about shaking Michael Savage’s hand), but I’d add:

    Quite apart from Dan Savage’s oft-questionable judgment as a sex-advice columnist, when it comes to matters of religion (and especially those awful Abrahamic Religions™), he thinks and writes like a perpetually aggrieved 10th-grade member of the High School Atheists Alliance — basically he’s a Dawkins or Hitchens without the (cough) subtlety.

    Comment by Throbert McGee — April 27, 2010 @ 12:14 pm - April 27, 2010

  34. I’m hardly caving to the extremists, only suggesting we not deliberately see to offend a religion.

    Yes, I know that no one was threatened with death for “Piss Christ,” but that’s hardly the point here. It’s that each exercise (juvenile artists like Andres Serrano who think they’re so hip and edgy and those who would Draw Mohammed) is designed to offend.

    Yeah, it is nice to thumb your nose at the jihadists, but if, in doing so, you offend tens, if not hundreds of millions of Muslims, what’s that line about cutting off your nose.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — April 27, 2010 @ 12:14 pm - April 27, 2010

  35. Darn it! There should’ve been a close-boldface tag after Abrahamic Religions™.

    Comment by Throbert McGee — April 27, 2010 @ 12:15 pm - April 27, 2010

  36. ILC, if you make offensive depictions of Muhammad, you’re creating clip-art for the jihadis to use in their recruitment literature

    Oh, please. Throbert, get real: that ship sailed, um, centuries ago.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 27, 2010 @ 12:24 pm - April 27, 2010

  37. I mean, talk about retarded. Really!

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 27, 2010 @ 12:25 pm - April 27, 2010

  38. Comment by B. Daniel Blatt

    Dan, I hope your participation here means that you read, and are preparing a reasoned and effective answer to, my points at #18.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 27, 2010 @ 12:34 pm - April 27, 2010

  39. Seems the crux of the entire dispute (which, as Americans, fortunately, we’re allowed to have without threat of violence) is summed up in this part of Althouse’s post:

    you also hurt a lot of people

    No, Ann, you don’t. You may put-off or even offend them. But you don’t hurt any of them. Theo van Gogh was hurt. Trey and Matt are threatened with being hurt.

    Pictures of Mohammed, which some may find rude and inappropriate (no matter how tasteful they may be rendered) because others find them offensive simply by their existance are not going to hurt anybody.

    Wild maniacs who are living in the 14th Century. They hurt people.

    Comment by ColoradoPatriot — April 27, 2010 @ 12:44 pm - April 27, 2010

  40. ILC, I’m not advocating a “quiet, you fool — they might get ANGRY at us” position — to quote the punchline to a famous joke about two Jews awaiting their turn for the firing squad at a Nazi death camp.

    That is, we shouldn’t keep quiet for fear of offending those who will hate us no matter what we do.

    At the same time, however, it seems obvious to me that we should frame our criticisms of Islam in such a way that makes it as difficult as possible for the fanatics to take our criticisms out of context and distort them to make us look more anti-Muslim than we intended our message to be — and I think that EDMD will tend to do the exact opposite of this. Of course, no matter what we do or say, some of the jihadis will be determined to twist our words to their own advantage. However, we can and should avoid making it trivially easy for them.

    (I’m reminded of the incident in the early years of the Iraq war where a progressive American blogger posted an essay lamenting the “U.S. rape of Iraq”. And — surprise, surprise! — some months later, this essay was approvingly quoted by jihadis as an admission that U.S. soldiers were sexually assaulting Muslim women. In this case, I wouldn’t even accuse the jihadis of dishonestly twisting the blogger’s words — I’d say, rather, that the literal-minded misinterpretation of a metaphor is a perfectly natural and predictable error for a non-native speaker to make. In hindsight, the blogger should’ve exercised better judgment and avoided the gratuitous use of a highly-charged metaphor like “to rape a piece of land”. And we, today, should benefit from the lesson of hindsight.)

    Comment by Throbert McGee — April 27, 2010 @ 12:50 pm - April 27, 2010

  41. no, ILC, I’m not.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — April 27, 2010 @ 12:51 pm - April 27, 2010

  42. CP, I was gonna follow up with that, you beat me to it. *Offense is in the eye of the beholder*. Until, or except when, it is a knife sticking in your throat.

    Libertarian-conservatives, as the people fighting the Left’s PC “speech codes” and whatnot, should be first to understand that.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 27, 2010 @ 12:51 pm - April 27, 2010

  43. no, ILC, I’m not.

    Why not? You’re the one who always taught me the importance of answering someone’s points.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 27, 2010 @ 12:52 pm - April 27, 2010

  44. People seem to forget that the real issue of Piss Christ was that public funds were used to fund it. Christians are more than used to this kind of “art” , but using public money to fund it is a violation of the separation of Church and State, not just a violation of good taste or respect for other beliefs.

    I am dreading seeing the truly offensive images that will no doubt be posted, but I’d fight to the death for the right of people to post them.

    I plan on doing a little stick figure ( I can’t draw, or I’d make it a very nice drawing of a handsome man) that says There is only one God, and Mohammed is his Prophet. Allah Ahkbar.

    If that offends them, so be it. My intent is to stand behind Matt and Trey, and even more importantly to show that we will not be bullied in our own county. I believe that is far more important than bowing down to fanatics in the name of political correctness.

    Comment by MissTammy — April 27, 2010 @ 12:58 pm - April 27, 2010

  45. Throbert,

    I think that the ‘using our words’ against us became moot a long time ago. Lady Gaga, Folsom Street Fair; hells, Condi Rice and Hillary Clinton and the American love of cheeseburgers can be used against us.

    Heck, the folks on the left try to use our humanitarian actions (Guantanamo) against us!

    I don’t think drawing pictures will make it worse. To paraphrase the Simpsons “South Park – We will stand beside you because we’re not so scared.”

    That’s the point behind my support of draw Mohammed (Proudly Beheaded Unclean Heathens) day. You aren’t going to bully me into silence.

    Again, would you say that we shouldn’t be drinking alcohol, having sex outside of marriage or eating cheeseburgers because that’s ‘offensive’ to the majority of the world’s Muslims?

    Comment by The_Livewire — April 27, 2010 @ 1:00 pm - April 27, 2010

  46. I think that the ‘using our words’ against us became moot a long time ago.

    I’ve got to agree with ILC here. The Muslims that hate us because we aren’t Muslims hate us because we aren’t Muslims; everything else is detail.

    And since it accomplishes nothing practical, the rationale for opposing EDMD is reduced to, “We’ll feel better about ourselves because respecting their beliefs proves we’re better than them.” I just don’t find a smug sense of moral superiority that accomplishes nothing as appealing as I may have a long time ago.

    Comment by V the K — April 27, 2010 @ 1:27 pm - April 27, 2010

  47. I won’t participate in EDMD. I can’t draw worth s**t. The only thing I can draw is blood.

    Comment by Jim Michaud — April 27, 2010 @ 1:29 pm - April 27, 2010

  48. _South Park_ just proved that a stick figure would serve the purpose.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 27, 2010 @ 1:31 pm - April 27, 2010

  49. Actually, South Park’s animation standards have gotten quite sophisticated over the years. The episode’s depiction of Mecha-Streisand was pretty impressive.

    Interesting that Cowardly Central has pulled the “Super Best Friends” episode off the website, but you can still watch “Red Hot Catholic Love,” “Bloody Mary” (the episode where the Virgin Mary statue bleeds from her crotch), and the Easter episode where Jesus dies a bloody death (at the hands of Kyle) so he can use his power of Resurrection to escape a prison.

    As I’ve said before, maybe if the Catholic Church declared all non-Catholics to be sub-human and sent suicide bombers to butcher the infidels, then maybe they would get some respect from the liberal left.

    Comment by V the K — April 27, 2010 @ 1:55 pm - April 27, 2010

  50. The episode’s depiction of Mecha-Streisand was pretty impressive.

    Agreed. I loved in ep 200, when she lowers her head and snorts in gentle greeting for Rob Reiner – the crowd of celebrities reacts as the dragon-stench blows over them.

    the Easter episode where Jesus dies a bloody death (at the hands of Kyle) so he can use his power of Resurrection to escape a prison

    And I love the multiple jokes / ironies built into that. 🙂

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 27, 2010 @ 3:00 pm - April 27, 2010

  51. By the way, what did the AP on Mecha Streisand’s shoulder stand for?

    Comment by V the K — April 27, 2010 @ 3:25 pm - April 27, 2010

  52. And since it accomplishes nothing practical, the rationale for opposing EDMD is reduced to, “We’ll feel better about ourselves because respecting their beliefs proves we’re better than them.”

    What do you think that EDMD “accomplishes,” in practical terms? I don’t think that “it supports free speech” is a very illuminating answer, since one can support free speech without participating in EDMD.

    In any case, I know that people who want to participate in EDMD aren’t going to be dissuaded by my arguments that the event is likely to be massively skewed towards images involving fellatio and livestock, and thus ultimately counterproductive.

    Nonetheless, my suggestion for those who want to create picture(s) for EDMD should strongly consider posting some rough drafts in a password-protected Photobucket folder to get some feedback from a variety of viewers — remember, you have until 20 May to work on this. You should try to get feedback from atheists and religious conservatives alike, and also from people who don’t watch South Park, and from non-Americans, and ideally from people whose first language is not English (even if your cartoon has no captions or dialogue balloons and the humor seems to be totally non-verbal). You may be surprised at the unintended interpretations people come up with, even if they all agree with you about the dangers of Islamic jihad.

    Remember, if you’re sincere about “standing with moderate Muslims,” you need to remember that many of them aren’t intimately familiar with American pop-cultural tropes, and didn’t grow up immersed in irony and sarcasm as techniques of humor.

    And I’m not making the condescending assumption that Muslims “aren’t smart enough to get the joke”, although I am saying that a lot of Muslims lack the educationally acquired sophistication and mental filters that make it possible for many American Christians to laugh at the gag of Jesus surfing Web pr0n in the SuperBestFriends HQ. To grok that this was NOT in any way an attack on the moral character of Jesus, and that it was instead a means for South Park to lampoon the double-standard of Islam, requires a capacity for humorous abstraction that many Muslims lack, but that many (not all) Americans have. And it’s not because Americans, Christian or otherwise, are inherently smarter than Muslims; it’s because ironic, detached, irreverent humor was part of the Anglo-American cultural tradition long before there was a South Park. We (Americans) grew up on this stuff; they (Muslims) did not.

    Comment by Throbert McGee — April 27, 2010 @ 3:42 pm - April 27, 2010

  53. the crowd of celebrities reacts as the dragon-stench blows over them

    Ahem, that was technically a MechaQueef.

    Comment by Throbert McGee — April 27, 2010 @ 3:43 pm - April 27, 2010

  54. Of course, maybe I’m just skittish because some years ago (around 2003-ish), I did a blog post on the theme of “Muslim Folks vs. Sand-N!ggers” — taking inspiration from a famous Chris Rock routine. Although well-intended as a show of solidarity with moderate Muslims, it backfired pretty spectacularly and I eventually took the post down, burned the hard drive, and buried the ashes.

    And of course, two of the reasons that my post backfired are (1) I’m neither Muslim nor Arab, and couldn’t pass as either one even if I tried; and (2) 99% of the moderate Muslims that I was trying to “stand with” had never seen that Chris Rock bit about black people vs. йiggeяs.

    Comment by Throbert McGee — April 27, 2010 @ 3:53 pm - April 27, 2010

  55. As my final thought on this, I would urge V the K to put on his Matrix VR Helmet and Imagine a wooorld… where a bunch of non-LDS websites decided to “help” mainstream Mormons by producing cartoons that made fun of those damned annoying Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints with their polygyny and arranged marriages.

    Does it not occur to you that a significant number of the resulting cartoons would actually be much less helpful than purportedly intended, and end up inadvertently alienating mainstream Mormons, without changing the minds of anyone in the FLDS fringe?

    Of course, neither the FLDS movement nor the mainstream LDS Church would be calling for censorship of the cartoons, let alone making bomb threats — so in that respect, there is no moral comparison between Islam and Mormonism.

    However, the hypothetical Anti-FLDS Cartoon Day is comparable to Everyone Draw Muhammed Day insofar as both would turn out to be ineffective and even counterproductive wastes of time.

    Comment by Throbert McGee — April 27, 2010 @ 4:12 pm - April 27, 2010

  56. V – I wondered the same thing. It couldn’t have been Associated Press. Maybe it was an in-joke, like one of the animators?

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 27, 2010 @ 4:15 pm - April 27, 2010

  57. So, no one on this blog was offended by repeated use of the word “fudge-packer?”

    Comment by V the K — April 27, 2010 @ 5:11 pm - April 27, 2010

  58. Imagine a wooorld… where a bunch of non-LDS websites decided to “help” mainstream Mormons by producing cartoons that made fun of those damned annoying Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints with their polygyny and arranged marriages.

    And in what way is that an alternative universe? It sounds pretty much like the one we live in except for the help part. We Mormons are a pretty tough lot… the word Mormon, by the way, was originally an epithet used against the Latter Day Saints.

    We Mormons don’t need to get over ourselves, but a lot of Muslims do. They won’t do so so long as everybody kowtows to their silliness. Or, as Eugene Volokh put it…

    “The consequence of this position is that the thugs win and people have more incentive to be thugs. There are lots of people out there who would very much like to get certain kind of material removed, whether religious or political. The more they see others winning, the more they will be likely to do the same. Behavior that gets rewarded gets repeated.”

    Comment by V the K — April 27, 2010 @ 5:21 pm - April 27, 2010

  59. Imagine a wooorld… where a bunch of non-LDS websites decided to “help” mainstream Mormons by producing cartoons that made fun of those damned annoying Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints with their polygyny and arranged marriages.

    I, too, don’t see the alleged problem. Mainstream Mormons are against polygamy. Therefore they can have no objection to the production of materials against polygamy. I seriously doubt they would.

    And, most to the point: They certainly wouldn’t make death threats over it. They certainly wouldn’t stick knives in people’s throats over it. Or, if some splinter sect did, the mainstream Mormons would join gladly and loudly in condemning it. When, O pray when, will mainstream Muslims do likewise with free speech?

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 27, 2010 @ 5:27 pm - April 27, 2010

  60. The trouble with all the “Don’t offend teh muslims!” arguments is that their illustrative scenarios – the “what if (insert thing) happened to Christians or Jews or Mormons?!?” objections – are all stupid. They happen all the time. People burn flags all the time. People rag on Mormons for being a polygamous cult all the time. People blaspheme against Jesus all the time. People deny the Holocaust all the time. And no one does anything about it. A representative of whatever group goes on CNN and complains for a 3 minute segment, then the whole thing is lost in the next news cycle.

    The difference here is that other religious and ethnic groups have learned to get over it (at least to the point where no one actually gets hurt). If anything at all comes from EDMD, then it won’t be Americans who sent a message that Muslims are outside the culture: it will be Muslims themselves sending the message. Part of being in our culture is having the ability to complain then get over it. If “tens of millions of Muslims” can’t do that, then it’s not the rest of us drawing a line.

    Comment by DoDoGuRu — April 27, 2010 @ 6:11 pm - April 27, 2010

  61. ILC writes, for some baffling reason: “[Mormons] certainly wouldn’t make death threats over it. They certainly wouldn’t stick knives in people’s throats over it. Or, if some splinter sect did, the mainstream Mormons would join gladly and loudly in condemning it.”

    ILC, you ignorant slut, here’s what I wrote very clearly at the end of my post:

    Of course, neither the FLDS movement nor the mainstream LDS Church would be calling for censorship of the cartoons, let alone making bomb threats — so in that respect, there is no moral comparison between Islam and Mormonism.

    However, the hypothetical Anti-FLDS Cartoon Day is comparable to Everyone Draw Muhammed Day insofar as both would turn out to be ineffective and even counterproductive wastes of time.

    I even HIGHLIGHTED the “there is no moral comparison” part in my original post — and yet your “rebuttal” was simply to point out that there’s no moral comparison, you time-wasting, no-readin’-skillz fadj pakkir.

    Comment by Throbert McGee — April 27, 2010 @ 6:31 pm - April 27, 2010

  62. Throbert: You make the mistake of assuming that you are important enough to me that I would read every comment of yours.

    If, in fact, there is no problem here because you do agree with what I said and vice versa – then you have chosen a funny way to express it. Good luck to you.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 27, 2010 @ 6:41 pm - April 27, 2010

  63. (also, for the record, I wasn’t even addressing you)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 27, 2010 @ 6:46 pm - April 27, 2010

  64. Cut it out, you fudge-packers!

    Comment by V the K — April 27, 2010 @ 6:56 pm - April 27, 2010

  65. As my final thought on this, I would urge V the K to put on his Matrix VR Helmet and Imagine a wooorld… where a bunch of non-LDS websites decided to “help” mainstream Mormons by producing cartoons that made fun of those damned annoying Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints with their polygyny and arranged marriages.

    You don’t even need a helmet for that. It’s called Big Love, and as far as I know, it’s still running on HBO. Perfect example of liberal Hollywood deciding to portray Mormons as idiots.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — April 27, 2010 @ 7:27 pm - April 27, 2010

  66. In case anyone missed it, here again is the REALITY of the depictions of Muhammad

    Which are EVERYTHNG that Althouse, Taranto, and I said they would be.

    Juvenile, intentionally, gratuitously offensive, and ANONYMOUS.

    ALL of the claims of the supporters of this childish demonstration destroyed by the demonstration itself.

    Comment by American Elephant — April 27, 2010 @ 9:22 pm - April 27, 2010

  67. crap, here is that link to the ACTUAL drawings

    Comment by American Elephant — April 27, 2010 @ 9:24 pm - April 27, 2010

  68. ILC: I apologize for the no-readin’-skillz remark — I assumed you were quoting my post #55, rather than VtK’s quotation of just a portion of that post in his #59.

    Anyway, one point I do want to make clear is that I agree it’s silly to worry about hurting the feelings of tens of millions of Muslims, as Ann Althouse was fretting over.

    HOWEVER, I do worry about “hurting” (i.e., undermining) the efforts of Muslims like Irshad Manji and ex-Muslims like Ayaan Hirsi Ali or Ibn Warraq who wish to promote liberalization and Western values like freedom of speech and freedom of the press within the Muslim sphere. They have a hard enough job “selling” the Muslim world on the novel idea that anti-blasphemy laws are more detrimental to society than blasphemy itself, without a bunch of well-intended but clueless non-Muslims trying to help the cause of free speech by posting images of Muhammad fellating a pig.

    Speaking of Ms. Hirsi Ali, here’s a recommendation she made in a WSJ editorial about the South Park censorship:

    Another idea is to do stories of Muhammad where his image is shown as much as possible. These stories do not have to be negative or insulting, they just need to spread the risk. The aim is to confront hypersensitive Muslims with more targets than they can possibly contend with.

    So, just to be crystal-clear about my position: Drawing mildly irreverent images of Muhammad laughing at a book of dirty limericks or farting after a trip to Taco Bell, and then posting them on the Web, is a great idea.

    But this “Everyone Draw Muhammad Day” is maybe NOT such a great idea, because a lot of the people participating in it are going to feel that they should up the ante by depicting Muhammad engaged in activities a lot more scandalous than snorting cocaine or looking at Web pr0n.

    I’ll be very happy to be proven wrong in my prediction that over 90% of the images created for EDMD will be lowest-common-denominator gross-out stuff like Muhammad felching Jewish spooge from a camel’s asshole — which doesn’t make Ayaan’s life as an advocate for reforming the Islamic world any easier.

    But I fear that EDMD is going to turn out that way, because it’s inspired by South Park, yet most people aren’t as wise about where to draw the line as Trey and Matt are; and also because Dan Savage has given it his imprimatur. So the results are likely to be a Seth McFarlane-ish mess, at the very best, which is not what a guy with VtK’s intelligence and comic talent should want to be associated with.

    Comment by Throbert McGee — April 27, 2010 @ 10:16 pm - April 27, 2010

  69. ILC: I apologize for the no-readin’-skillz remark

    Fair of you, and I accept. I mean… you fudge packer. 😉

    I do worry about “hurting” (i.e., undermining) the efforts of Muslims like Irshad Manji and ex-Muslims like Ayaan Hirsi Ali or Ibn Warraq who wish to promote liberalization and Western values like freedom of speech and freedom of the press within the Muslim sphere.

    Tell you what. If Hirsi Ali says EDMD is a bad idea and not helping her to help us, I’ll believe her word on it.

    They have a hard enough job “selling” the Muslim world on the novel idea that anti-blasphemy laws are more detrimental to society than blasphemy itself

    It’s interesting, and useful, to learn something about the history of Muslim philosophy. What follows is my oversimplified, way-too-rough thumbnail sketch – way too rough, for one thing because I have forgotten all the key names (I’d have to go home and look them up in my notes). Please forbear.

    In the religion’s great phase, when it was the wealthiest and most advanced civilization, it tolerated dissent. Lots of it. Lots of Muslims were way into Aristotle, who taught basically (oversimplifying here) an objective epistemology, i.e. that reality is worth investigating scientifically. There were debates over whether Allah could change the laws of nature at will. Some (the more Aristotelian ones) said no; having set the universe in motion, Allah had neither the inclination nor the ability to mess with its workings. We today might call these strains of thought “natural law” and/or “deistic”.

    But Muslim civilization ultimately stalled. It ran out of steam. Not coincidentally, it stopped respecting freedom and became religiously oppressive.

    Around the 1200s – 1400s, just as Aristotle was taking off in the West via the Scholastics, Thomists and then the Renaissance folks who claimed it was the only Christian way to go, Islam underwent a brutal neo-Platonist revival. The Islamic Platonists said that Allah could utterly alter the universe, in any way Allah wanted including its laws, at any time. Allah was absolute, Allah was all that mattered, Allah, Allah, Allah. Which gave rise to the Islam we know today.

    Now here’s the thing. The Quran, and Islamic history, lend themselves far more to the latter than the former. The Quran reeks of (that is, is permeated by) what we now call Islamism. Mohammed personally ordered killings, in spreading Islam.

    My point is: I don’t know if the Muslim world can ever be “sold” on the concept of free speech. The Aristotelian centuries, impressive as they were, were probably a fluke. Ugly absolutism is far more in the religion’s “DNA”.

    And as I’ve been saying, the moderate Muslims – by definition, the ones who do actually value free speech – already know that the Islamists are as*holes and already live great fear of them. Though our primary reason for standing up to the Islamists should be to defend ourselves and NOT them, as a secondary benefit, we do indeed defend the moderate Muslims whenever we stand up to the Islamists. Short of Abu Ghraib or other actual crimes, the “standing up” is more important than the technique or exact posture.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 27, 2010 @ 10:56 pm - April 27, 2010

  70. P.S. What I’m trying to say is, I’m not concerned with “selling the Muslim world on” anything – and I don’t think moderate Muslims need me to be, nor do they benefit if/when I am.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 27, 2010 @ 11:00 pm - April 27, 2010

  71. So, no one on this blog was offended by repeated use of the word “fudge-packer?”

    Anecdote: A few years ago, Javi and I had gone to Bok Tower in Lake Wales. As we were driving up Hwy. 17, we saw a couple of tourist trap candy shops where signs invited travelers to come in and make their own fudge. I asked Javi if we could get shirts there which read “I Packed Fudge at ____ Candy Factory”.

    He thought that was pretty damn funny.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — April 27, 2010 @ 11:16 pm - April 27, 2010

  72. Fair of you, and I accept. I mean… you fudge packer.

    How. Many. Times. Do I have to tell you that I’m not into fudge-packing?!

    Ah-li-li-li-li-li-li-li-li-li-li! Frottage akbar!! KA-BOOOM!

    But seriously, ILC — thanks for your well-reasoned and historically informed post. I don’t contest a word of it, apart from my optimistic belief that Muslims can change their backwards, anti-intellectual, mind-shackling religion, despite its “DNA”.

    However, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, and to repeat what I’ve already said, I fear that this EDMD will turn out to be mostly vinegar.

    Comment by Throbert McGee — April 27, 2010 @ 11:37 pm - April 27, 2010

  73. One possible way to keep the event from degenerating into total infantilism would be to demand that every “artist” sign his or her work with their verifiable actual name (no aliases allowed).

    There probably wouldn’t be very many people willing to do it then, but it would probably prevent a lot of “piss Mohammeds” from being inflicted on the world.

    If it is going to be anonymous, I agree that it probably shouldn’t happen.

    Comment by Lori Heine — April 28, 2010 @ 1:40 am - April 28, 2010

  74. Dan,

    I have never seen you more full of crap than you are on this issue. And here you are so full of crap it’s coming out of your ears. Absolutely disgusting.

    Do Muslims, “moderate” or otherwise, worry about offending everyone else? NO. We can worry about offending them when they start to do so.

    Comment by Classical Liberal Dave — April 28, 2010 @ 4:22 am - April 28, 2010

  75. I still fail to see why standing up against the terrorist veto is a bad thing. Again, do we stop performing abortions because it offends approximately 50% of the American people? Do we stop having sex outside of marriage because it offends Muslims? Do all the gheys take an oath of chastity because of Muslim outrage?

    Our society is built around the protection of unpopular speech. That no one worries about offending Christians, or Jews, or Wiccans tells me all I need to know. Either we need to, as Western Civilization, be able to extend the middle finger of contempt to those who would try to kill us for speaking, or Christians and Jews apparently need to start blowing up things that ‘offend them’ to get the ‘respect’ and ‘reverence’ shown by those who fear Islam.

    Comment by The_Livewire — April 28, 2010 @ 6:45 am - April 28, 2010

  76. All right, American Elephant, the time has come for us to have it out on this matter.

    I will be referencing your posts here and at Draw Mohammed, May 20th

    But part of being a conservative is NOT being reflexive, but actually thinking things through.

    Pardon me, AE, but the one being reflexive here is you. You reflexively defend Islam just as you reflexively defend Christianity. I have read many, many of your comments on this blog. Those dealing with religion reveal you to be a steadfast defender of even its most reactionary forms. Your posts on this topic are perfect examples.

    It also seems like turning the war against terror into an attack against all of Islam.

    Convince me why that is either noble or right.

    Would fighting Islam itself by right if Islam itself is the real problem?

    On CNN, Ayaan Hirsi Ali told Anderson Cooper, “There is one group of people, one religion that is claiming to be above criticism.” That one religion is Islam. This very same religion motivates many of the world’s most violent and repressive regimes, and drives most of the terrorism on Earth today. That is why I told Banzel: “If Islam ceased to exist today, the world would be a much more peaceful place tomorrow. Everybody knows this.” Your objections to Everyone Draw Mohammed day would carry considerably more weight if you’d recognize all of this.

    Of course, standing up to Islamists who use violence and threats of violence to silence their critics is not an attack on anyone except said Islamists. If the so-called “moderate Muslims” you so desperately want to win over cannot grasp this, they are not moderate Muslims at all.

    Figure out a way to offend terrorists that doesn’t involve intentionally offending the one billion Muslims who are offended but aren’t responding with death threats

    And if that can’t be done because the sentiments on a given matter are the same between the violent and non-violent Muslims of the world, what then? Do we just shrug our shoulders and give in?

    we need to care about making clear that our war is against Islamic extremists, not Muslims in general.

    This childish inept demonstration does the exact opposite, lumping ALL mulims in with the extremists who are our enemy.

    No. As ILoveCapitalism noted at 18 above, it’s you’re childish response to the demonstration lumps all Muslims in with the extremists by assuming that Muslims are so deeply offended by the slightest disrespect that they will run to give aid and comfort to Islamists.

    Let me again repeat: “A muslim either understands that others are not required to agree with and abide by the strictures of Islam, or his isn’t a moderate muslim.” (Since ILC quoted this you’ve now read it 3 times. I hope it is beginning to sink in.)

    Your train ran off the rails, AE, right from your very first comment, where you quoted Althouse:

    In pushing back some people, you also hurt a lot of people

    One of the bedrock principle of a liberal democratic society is that giving offense to someone’s sensibilities is not doing harm. Althouse — and you — is accepting the illiberal principles of the Islamists as the basis of her objection. But she goes even further:

    you also hurt a lot of people who aren’t doing anything (other than protecting their own interests by declining to pressure the extremists who are hurting the reputation of their religion).

    This is foolishness of the highest order. If said people are going to be our allies in the fight against militant Islam, then they have to view pressuring the extremists as protecting their own interests.

    In short, it is idiotic to think that whether or not the conflict with jihadists is to be a war with Islam itself or not is up to non-Muslims.

    As for the actual protest, it doesn’t matter in the slightest how intelligent and sophisticated or stupid and silly any one drawing is, or which of the two categories dominates. The point is that people demonstrate they won’t be cowed by the threats of religious nutcases.

    Finally there is the piece by James Taranto you quote.

    As I mentioned in the earlier thread, I don’t buy Taranto’s argument that

    we think holding an “Everybody Burn the Flag Day” would be stupid, obnoxious and counterproductive if one seeks to persuade others that flag burning should be tolerated

    To the contrary, everyone burning the flag in protest of a ban on the practice would send just the right message: threats against the activity will only produce more of it. The Draw Mohammed protest runs on the same logic.

    And unlike Taranto, I don’t deplore flag burning. Burning a flag can send a myriad of messages; I have to know the context to know what is being said. Only then can I render a judgment.

    Similarly I don’t buy his linking drawing Mohammed to hate speech. What a depiction of the prophet says about Mohammed, Islam, and Muslims depends upon the entirety of the depiction and its context.

    As for Taranto’s assertion that protesting threats over artistic or satirical depictions of Mohammed by producing such depictions actually treats Muslims “as being outside of our culture, unworthy of the courtesy we readily accord to insiders,” that is so absurd that the man should be ashamed to show his face in pubic. (And you, AE, should be ashamed to use his crap to support your argument.)

    Are Christians and Hindus and Buddhists and Jews (please include every other religion practiced by any American here) treated as outsiders when their religious figures are satirized or criticized? Where is the taboo in our culture to showing the Buddha snorting cocaine? (Which South Park did.) Where is the taboo against mocking the Pope? or Jesus? There is none. Unless Taranto mistakenly thinks there is, he is creating a special place for Muslims — which is Islamism. (Way to go James.)

    You’re not really being a good American conservative here, AE.

    Comment by Classical Liberal Dave — April 28, 2010 @ 6:49 am - April 28, 2010

  77. ILoveCapitalism @ 38:

    Dan, I hope your participation here means that you read, and are preparing a reasoned and effective answer to, my points at #18.

    B. Dan Blatt @ 41:

    no, ILC, I’m not.

    It’s a pity, ILC, that Dan won’t answer your excellent comment at 18. (I like that you quoted me, but even without that it was an excellent comment — very well done.)

    It’s even sadder that he rubs salt in the wound with his non-reply of a reply. 🙁

    I suspect that his refusal to actually defend his position by giving some real answers to his critics is that his position is essentially an emotional one.

    only suggesting we not deliberately see to offend a religion.

    If what was being offended here were political as opposed to religious sensibilities, Dan’s reaction would likely be different. Like AE, he seems to have a strong soft spot for religious sentiment.

    There are those who treat religion as a special category quite distinct from other human endeavors. With matters like these, where the treatment of religious figures or icons is at issue, they will think differently from those who want to treat religion the same as other forms of thought.

    Comment by Classical Liberal Dave — April 28, 2010 @ 7:12 am - April 28, 2010

  78. Do Muslims, “moderate” or otherwise, worry about offending everyone else? NO. We can worry about offending them when they start to do so.

    CLD, I don’t think it’s a question about worrying about offending Muslims because the Muslims may not worry about offending people. It’s not always about how others react and behave when determining something is right or wrong.

    41.no, ILC, I’m not.

    Dan, that’s too bad. I still haven’t fully made up my mind, although I’m leaning towards the supporters of EDMD. I would have liked to hear you counter the arguments that ILC and others had made. Perhaps you have a good reason not too.

    73.One possible way to keep the event from degenerating into total infantilism would be to demand that every “artist” sign his or her work with their verifiable actual name (no aliases allowed).

    There probably wouldn’t be very many people willing to do it then, but it would probably prevent a lot of “piss Mohammeds” from being inflicted on the world.

    Lori, I disagree partly. It would be nice if the event didn’t degenerate to the degree you suggest. However, I don’t think it is fair to require persons to not be anonymous. It appears that simply depicted Mohammed caused the furor, enough so that Comedy Central refuses to air the episode any more (and when it did, it censored the hell out of it), even though Comedy Central continues to air episodes that are many times more offensive to Catholics, Mormons, and others. Clearly, they are not showing this episode anymore out of fear, as opposed to their belief that the content is offensive. I don’t think we can expect all individuals to not remain anonymous. And it appears that it’s not so much that gross depictions of Mohammed is catching the ire of these infantile, but violent Moslem groups, but any depiction is.

    However, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, and to repeat what I’ve already said, I fear that this EDMD will turn out to be mostly vinegar.

    Perhaps, this is true, Throbert, and you have made some other good points. But it also seems like you are advocating a double standard when it comes to dealing with Moslems, moderate or otherwise. That we have to be extra careful when saying our words, so as not to worry that it will be misinterpreted, or intentionally twisted. We talk about free speech protecting offensive speech, but it should also protect us from living in such fear of having to nuance our words. And looking at the other side of it, (and maybe it’s just me), but who really wants to be patronized to such a degree?

    How. Many. Times. Do I have to tell you that I’m not into fudge-packing?!

    But wasn’t Tom Cruise into fudge-packing in the first part of this episode? 🙂

    Comment by Pat — April 28, 2010 @ 7:15 am - April 28, 2010

  79. One possible way to keep the event from degenerating into total infantilism would be to demand that every “artist” sign his or her work with their verifiable actual name (no aliases allowed).

    Lori – As usual, you make a great point. And (I would expect) you are also open to a rejoinder or at least a refinement of the point. Mine is this: I personally might replace “demand” with “ask”. EDMD is a search for progress, not perfection. Note the imperative form of the sentence: it calls / urges people to a course of action. And note which people it is urging: *everybody*. I.e., anonymous or “nonymous”; artists and non-artists; political and non-political; Muslim (if they value free speech) and non-Muslim; etc. It’s up to each individual to decide what they can handle doing. Now, I apologize for my tone in explaining that. I know I could have said a half-sentence and you would understand it fast (even if you don’t agree with me 100%). But it has come to my attention from time to time on this blog that there may be a couple others lurking around my comments, fortunately few and *not* including anybody whom I have answered at any length in this thread, who were less fortunate when God handed out brains.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 28, 2010 @ 7:51 am - April 28, 2010

  80. Throbert #72 – Again fair enough. Sometimes you and I agree, sometimes we don’t, sometimes I roll my eyes, sometimes I am out there defending you, this time seems to be a mixture, but I did learn your stand on fudge. Packing.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 28, 2010 @ 8:01 am - April 28, 2010

  81. CLD, excellent points in #76,#77

    I suspect that his refusal to actually defend his position by giving some real answers to his critics is that his position is essentially an emotional one.

    I don’t know if that’s true in Dan’s case, but it does seem like because it involves religion, that people (on both sides) are resorting more to emotion than reason, and in some cases trying to mask emotions with “reason.”

    Comment by Pat — April 28, 2010 @ 8:03 am - April 28, 2010

  82. And everyone else – TL, CLD, Pat – great points. The thread is dripping with awesome.

    As for Dan and I: we have e-mailed and he let me see a bit more into his reasons. I don’t want to spill private correspondence, so let’s just say briefly that this topic simply doesn’t interest him at this time, his interests lie with the other topics you see him posting on. Having spoken my mind on this one (EDMD), I accept that and continue to count myself among his admirers.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 28, 2010 @ 8:22 am - April 28, 2010

  83. standing up against the terrorist veto

    Awesome phrase. Gets right to the nuts.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 28, 2010 @ 8:29 am - April 28, 2010

  84. It’s not always about how others react and behave when determining something is right or wrong.

    Pat, I’m not suggesting that it is.

    I’m just pointing out that many Muslims consider themselves to be the only ones on the planet who are above being offended. They are in error.

    Islam is just another ideology. It can be criticized the same as any other religion, or political philosophy, or scientific hypothesis, etc. If Muslims can’t understand this, then there is no getting along with them.

    Comment by Classical Liberal Dave — April 28, 2010 @ 9:05 am - April 28, 2010

  85. Although I find their overall argument somewhat patronizing toward moderate Muslims, I think Dan, Throbert, and others on the other side have made some good points. I just happen to think the case for defiance is stronger than the case for submission.

    Maybe where they err is in perceiving that Islam is the target; it is not. The targets of EDMD are the radical Islamists and the cowardly, hypocritical American media.

    Comment by V the K — April 28, 2010 @ 11:18 am - April 28, 2010

  86. The target, in my mind, is anyone who would be so lame/evil/stupid – i.e., so fascist – as to seriously suggest that non-Muslims must… not draw Mohammed.

    *IF* that includes mainstream Muslims, well then, mainstream Muslims should look to reform themselves. But, mainstream Muslims being grownups and depictions of Mohammed being part of Islamic traditions, I do not accept/concede the premise that “the target” does include mainstream Muslims. Those who argue that it does, are in effect slandering mainstream Muslims by arguing that all Muslims are hypersensitive and fascist. I find that argument offensive against Muslims (and all of us).

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 28, 2010 @ 12:29 pm - April 28, 2010

  87. The targets of EDMD are the radical Islamists and the cowardly, hypocritical American media.

    Well, that’s one direction that EDMD could go in. But why not also try to do a semi-effective outreach to moderate Muslims by challenging their sensibilities a little, while avoiding coarse sexual or scatological humor.

    Here’s a Far Side cartoon from way back in the ’80s, where the accursed kafr Gary Larson, shoe be upon him, portrayed Mo-Ho as a dorky looking guy with male pattern baldness and a big schnozz. I think that if EDMD turns out to be characterized by this sort of gentle joking, then there’s a much better chance that moderate Muslims will defend the concept.

    As I wrote above, gross-out portrayals of Muhammad posted to the Web will simply end up being free clip-art for jihadis to use in their recruitment pamphlets. But the inverse of this is that sticking to relatively tame and non-obscene humor for EDMD provides free clip-art for Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s side to use (and is more in keeping with the inclusive spirit of the original “SuperBestFriends” episode of South Park).

    Comment by Throbert McGee — April 28, 2010 @ 6:12 pm - April 28, 2010

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