HAIL DUBYUS!

An Illustrated Guide to Mendacity and Folly in the Imperium Americanum

But Can It Slice Bread?

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(WashPost) A Cartoon’s Portrait of America By Anne Applebaum has an interesting critique of the subject. Meanwhile, the protests and some violence has continued (AP) Asian Muslims Hold Biggest Rallies Yet. I tend to agree with Anne Applebaum…and with others who are seeing extreme Islamic elements trying to turn this into the Archduke Ferdinand moment. What disturbs me are the western righwing elements who are willing to accept the challenge in favor of “free speech” that they often try to deny (particularly in regard to the war in Iraq). Free speech is not like a two-edged sword. It’s more like a light saber, cutting in any direction you chose. But who is wielding the weapon?

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No, It’s NOT A Very Funny Cartoon Today, But It’s Not A Very Funny Situation

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OK, as most readers of this page will have surmised, I’m pretty much in favor of “free speech” in every form and flavor. I heard about the “Mohammed Cartoon Crisis” sometime last week and saw the offending cartoons and quite frankly, I was scratching my head. With the possible exception of one, they were pretty inoccuous and even that one didn’t look especially offensive given the realpolitik of extreme Moslem factions. In fact, for most of them, including that one, if they hadn’t been labelled “Mohammed”, you couldn’t tell who it was.

Well, when the riots started this weekend, I decided to look further into it and I soon discovered that a lot of far right “Christian” groups and people like Michelle Malkin, were weighing in on the side of “freedom of speech.” Now when the far right and Michelle Malkin start dispensing free speech platitudes like a bunch of drunken liberals, it’s definitely time to figure out what’s what.

As near as I can figure it, the Jyllands-Posten is a VERY conservative paper–so conservative that they loved Mussolini back before WWII. The editorial philosophy is described as “center-right” and according to a Wikipedia article that seems to have been changed since the weekend, it is sometimes known as the “Morning Fascist” by the left (Oh My News appears to be one of the few places that noted this entry besides me–I’ve edited this in response to a Danish comment). The paper promotes the economic policies of PM Rasmussen (similar to those of George Bush), takes a consistent line against immigration, particularly by Middle Easterners.

Now as I said, the cartoons were pretty inoccuous and not very funny (one of them even accused the Posten as being a reactionary provocateur, with astonishing foresight). The ostensible reason for them was to find out if cartoonists were “self-censoring” themselves w/r/t images critical of Islam. The Danish Moslem community attempted to get an apology and to try the paper for defamation of a religion, but got nowhere with either course of action. So a group of imams got together and published a 43-page pamphlet decrying the cartoons, all 15 of them.

What? all FIFTEEN? I thought there were only 12! Well, there are only 12. But included in the fifteen in the pamphlet are three that I suspect were found on the Internet, VERY offensive, accusing Mohammed of pedophilia, depicting him with a pig snout, and showing a praying Moslem being f****d by a dog. THESE are undoubtedly the cartoons that are causing the riots. I have not found the whole pamphlet translated, but my sources indicate that the extra cartoons were unsourced, but hell, you can find those things all over the net if you want.

Well, NOW you have the back story that no one is talking about. The whole thing has depressed and disgusted me. The Jyllands-Posten was not being a complete innocent but was trying to foment a reaction. They HAVE apologized as of last week. The imams who printed the even more offensive cartoons were taking advantage of the Posten’s lead and using it to inflame anti-Western violence. Oliver Wendell Holmes said that freedom of speech does not cover “falsely yelling ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater.” It also does not involve deliberately fomenting violence or pouring gasoline on a fire.

The best coverage of the entire crisis is at Wikipedia.org Craig Smith in the NYTimes “Adding Newsprint to the Fire” gives an insightful review of the background.

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