"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Monday, February 06, 2006

Maim That Toon

And so those peace-loving Muslims didn't understand why the West put the cartoon before the whores and one thing led to another and the sinner-men Danish got burnt.

I register my general disgust in this column over at The American Spectator.

If references aren't enough for you and you need samples, here, knock yourself out:

One of the sad byproducts of totalitarian governments is the silencing of true reportage. Newspapers and television networks had people in the Soviet Union and Saddam Hussein's Iraq who were constrained by governmental censorship from delivering the truth to their readers and viewers. Much the same occurs even today in China and Cuba. What ends up happening is that they become de facto propagandists for those rulers by conveying the good news and scuttling the bad.

Now the same thing is happening via the Muslim riot. Western media will be intimidated into silence by the fear of mischief. Which is to say that Islamist thugs will achieve in communications what they achieve in politics, winning by terrorism what they cannot win by war.

19 comments:

Tlaloc said...

It's one of those grand situations that makes everyone look bad. The Danish paper looks bad for publishing inflamatory cartoons about Islam when they refused to publish similar cartoons about Christianity. The reactionary Muslims look bad for responding to an insult with unwarranted violence. The papers reprinting the cartoons look bad because they are clearly doing it for the sensationalism and not out of principle.

tbmbuzz said...

Oh geez, classic moral relativism. No, Tlaloc, the ONLY ones who are and look bad here are the adherents of a primitive culture and religion that has been at war with EVERYONE since its violent inception.

Tlaloc said...

"No, Tlaloc, the ONLY ones who are and look bad here are the adherents of a primitive culture and religion that has been at war with EVERYONE since its violent inception."

I'm sorry you'll have to narrow it down a bit more.

James Elliott said...


I'm sorry you'll have to narrow it down a bit more.


That's an awesome retort. Buzz, you totally got pwned.

The Classic Liberal Anonymous said...

The reactionary Muslims look bad...

Not sure why you say that ... please explain.

Tlaloc said...

"Not sure why you say that ... please explain."

Really? I thought it was actually the clearest part. I said:
"The reactionary Muslims look bad for responding to an insult with unwarranted violence."
In other words in response to the cartoons peope have attacked other human beings and destroyed property. That seems a pretty extreme reaction doesn't it?

The Classic Liberal Anonymous said...

Remember the kerfuffle over the Koran?

If this is the "typical" reaction, I would not call it extreme, but instead the norm.

Tlaloc said...

"Remember the kerfuffle over the Koran? If this is the "typical" reaction, I would not call it extreme, but instead the norm."

I'd see the two incidnts as pretty different really. In the one you have a series of cartoons that are about the guy who founded the religion by supposedly writing down the word of god. In the other you have military guards urinating on the word itself as an attempt to dehumanize and psychologically abuse their prisoners.

But anyway it's irrelevent because we are talking about the perception of the actions. That's why I said "It's one of those grand situations that makes everyone LOOK bad."

To John Everyman everybody involved is a jerk.

James Elliott said...

The whole situation is disgusting. The Danish and other papers that printed the cartoons are hiding behind "freedom of speech" as though that right abrogates all personal responsibility. I was unaware that "free speech" means "free to speak without responsibility or respect."

It's equally true that the response from the Muslim world has been intolerant and irresponsible, and Western media should not be afraid to say so. Failure to do so would be, as Martin Peretz of The New Republic wrote, "lazy multiculturalism," letting an aggreived party off the hook for a reaction outside of all proportion to the insult. The protesting cries of the Muslims are similar to the cries of many fundamentalists, Christian, Jewish, or political: They demand respect for their viewpoint without respecting the right of the non-believer to adhere to a different belief. Their own reaction is just as intolerant as that which they protest.

That said, the assignation of such a reaction to solely religious motivation is woefully lacking in understanding of the various historical, sociological, and political systems at play. Blanket condemnation as a "primitive culture and religion that has been at war with everyone since its violent inception" is just as lazy thinking as that of enabling apologists. Both should be stamped out. Hard.

Tlaloc said...

"The Danish and other papers that printed the cartoons are hiding behind "freedom of speech" as though that right abrogates all personal responsibility."

If it was a genuine free speech issue I'd remove the danish paper from list of people this makes look bad. But it's not. As I said before that very same paper earlier refused to print similar cartoons about Jesus because it thought they were inflamatory.

Obviously free speech is simply a convenient smoke screen for them. Thay wanted to cause a controversy and they did. I hope they get a lot of angry phone calls and subscription cancelations. I don't hope they get bombed.

Tom Van Dyke said...

I was unaware that "free speech" means "free to speak without responsibility or respect."

You haven't been reading The Reform Club comments section, James.

Jay D. Homnick said...

Let's be honest. We all love these situations because we get to use the word kerfuffle.

And brouhaha. Melee. Fracas.

Not to forget everyone's all time favorite: foofaraw.

Matt Huisman said...

As I said before that very same paper earlier refused to print similar cartoons about Jesus because it thought they were inflamatory.

Anyway we can squeeze Denmark into that Jesusland map?

Tlaloc said...

"Anyway we can squeeze Denmark into that Jesusland map?"

From my understanding it's a small hard right paper and not indicative of the general population of Denmark.

James Elliott said...

"From my understanding it's a small hard right paper and not indicative of the general population of Denmark."

Actually, it has the largest circulation in Denmark and is politically aligned with the ruling party, which won in a landslide thanks to burgeoning xenophobia.

Jay's right: We do get to use some awesome words at times like these. "Brouhaha" is one of my favorites.

James Elliott said...

Holland! Holland! Not Denmark. Crap.

Tlaloc said...

You're right the paper is the widest circulated there.

JC said...

I don't think it matters what else the paper published or didn't publish. The cartoons were tasteless, but protected by freedom of the press. The press also has the right not to publish whatever.

You shouldn't say "The Danish paper looks bad for publishing inflamatory cartoons about Islam when they refused to publish similar cartoons about Christianity,"
rather, "The Danish paper looks bad for publishing inflammatory cartoons."

I don't think everyone looks bad in the same way, though. I would assign responsibility
1. First to the Muslims who actually participated in the riots
2. Then to those who distributed the cartoons with notes about how awful they are and making a big deal about it, inflaming the Muslims in various countries (who didn't seem to care to much back in Septemeber)
3. Then to the newspapers for having poor taste.

It's not all the same.

Tlaloc said...

"I don't think it matters what else the paper published or didn't publish."

It is relevent when they claim they are standing for free speech in one instance and in an analagous case they immediately back down. That means the principle was NOT the point.



"I don't think everyone looks bad in the same way, though."

Oh certainly, my point was not that they were all equally bad, just that nobody came out looking good.