Saturday, April 29, 2006

About those Mohammed cartoons

I was very cranky about my internet problems yesterday and spoke a bit too harshly about those bloggers who chose to post the stupid cartoons. As a commenter at Last One Speaks reminded me, some bloggers I like and otherwise respect posted them too, so perhaps I should qualify those statements. When I called them lamebrained idiots, I was speaking about the situation over the cartoons and not their intellect in general. FUB has this to say in comments:
But it's just plain silly, if not defeatist, to tiptoe around afraid to insult an enemy who has sworn to kill you if you insult their so-called religion.

The people doing the DOS aren't poor misunderstood peaceful religious adherents. They are scum who have hijacked a religion to carry out a war to the death on everyone who doesn't bow down to them.

You're not afraid to insult the scum who make and enforce totalitarian drug policy. Why be so nice to scum who want to kill you and every other person on the planet who won't worship the way they think people should?
Well, here's the thing. Number one, the cartoons sucked. They had no artistic value. They didn't make any kind of political statement. I found them to be the equivalent of a school yard bully taunting the smart kid (who showed him up in class) with something brilliant like -- yeah your mother is ugly.

Second, the cartoons offend all Muslims, not just the ones who were threatening to kill people. How would you feel if someone who was pissed at your neighbor started posting naked pictures of your mother on the net because , what the hey -- you must think like he does because you look like him and you live next door. Sorry, but if you want to take the fight to extremist scum, get out your gun and go find out who they are and start shooting. Please don't be drawing lines in the sand here and daring them to retaliate.

I don't think this is the same as insulting the prohibs or the administration because when I criticize, I try very hard to keep it specific to the perpetrators of the policies and not paint every person who disagrees with me with the same broad brush.

So sorry if I offended those of you on the other side of the fence on this with a poor choice of words in a fit of pique, but I simply think posting the cartoons is counterproductive and I also think that kind of mockery is not bravery but is instead uncivilized foolishness. Aren't we supposed to behave better than them? Not to mention when you deliberately incite the extremists, you put not only yourself in danger but also those of us who didn't participate. As the saying goes, discretion is the greater part of valor.

Update: The conversation continues. Since I crossposted this one, I have a discussion going at both blogs. I have another long comment here.
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4 Comments:

Blogger Motherlode said...

All I can say is, amen.

5:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Libby said...

Thanks.

7:32:00 PM  
Blogger No Blood for Hubris said...

I think freedom of speech trumps freedom of religion.

I don't agree with having to accept (as in act according to) other people's religious beliefs. If Catholics and Talibangelicals are against abortions, they shouldn't have any. If some Muslims don't want to depict Mohammed, they should not depict him.

We need to remain a tolerant but secular society.

12:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Libby said...

I'm not suggesting people don't have the right to post the cartoons. Nobody supports the First Amendment more strongly than I do. I'm saying it's a pointless exercise of the right that has nothing with bravely supporting the concept. It strikes me as the same sort of silly bravado that starts bar fights.

Think of this way. Say you work for a stinking lousy boss. The First Amendment also gives you the freedom to post derogatory cartoons about his children. Would you do it just because you could? Or would that strike you as pointlessly mean and maybe it would be more effective to post a cartoon about his crummy business practices?

Using the First Amendment is not mandatory. I just think it diminishes its worth when its used to post offensive material simply to be offensive without some greater beneficial purpose in mind. I don't see any greater purpose being served here. And I think it's irresponsible to use it simply to be offensive if it exposes others to danger -- in this case having the internets shut down -- when they chose not to participate. A lot of people depend on the internets to make a living and this taunting in its own way imposes the taunter's own beliefs and desire for a confrontation on everyone. These DOS attacks, even when specifically targeted, impact the main servers that everyone depends on as well.

If I thought posting the stupid cartoons would any way help to end the violence or diminish the Islamic extremists' power, I'd be the first to post them. As far as I can see, giving the nutcases all this undue attention enpowers them more. I think it's far more effective to ignore them and I don't appreciate being dragged into this quarrel.

12:40:00 PM  

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