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February 07, 2006
No One Is Laughing

I've been pondering what are rapidly being dubbed the cartoon riots.

In our society there's a feeling against publishing material that offend people racially or ethnically or gender-wise or sexually. Should "religiously" be added to that list? I'm not sure.

Since "religion" is a thing people choose, unlike the rest of the items on the list, it's "optional" and no sensible person is saying we should take care not to offend the optional beliefs of everyone on the planet. (If certain countries choose to try and make their religious affiliation indistinguishable from their ethnic heritage, that, again, is optional, so it doesn't change the equation that certain countries might try to mandate some specific religion.)

I do wonder why the cartoons originally printed* five or six months ago were picked up by the international press so recently.

Anyhow, since editorial/political cartoons are designed to make us think twice about something, should they be exempt from the normal rules? They're supposed to make us do a double-take.

Bottom line? No matter how you slice it, killing people over a cartoon, no matter how it offends you, is uncivilized. Anything up to and including non-violent demonstrations would have been acceptable.

Bottomer bottom line? Hate speech is unacceptable, no matter what group it's aimed at. But is it actually "hate speech" to take a group to task for how they implement their beliefs?


* Note, reading the interview, that the cartoons were commissioned. This isn't the exercise of a cartoonist's free speech being protested. Someone asked for cartoons about Muhammad, presumably unaware that images would be offensive.

So, ask yourself, is this kind of tit-for-tat behavior okay with y'all?

In my eyes, it's not the same thing. An image of a religious figure versus mockery (one presumes) of the deaths of millions of people? Iran would have been on more solid ground commissioning images of Jesus.

Update: Public Eye chimes in on the debate.

Update update:: Pen-Elayne was wondering the same thing about this timing. Unlike my lazy self, she went looking for an answer....

Posted by AnneZook at 09:12 AM


I liked Jonathan Reynolds point at Cliopatria this morning, that the Muslims rioting over disrespect fot the Prophet are skirting awfully close to shirk idolatry themselves, which is a grave (pardon the reference) sin in Islam.

Posted by: Ahistoricality at February 7, 2006 12:18 PM

If you're wondering "why the cartoons originally printed five or six months ago were picked up by the international press so recently," check my blog today. I was wondering the same thing, and I found out. It's those lovely Saudis again, apparently.

Posted by: Elayne Riggs at February 7, 2006 01:53 PM