Thursday, February 23, 2006

FINALLY some more sense

I still absolutely cannot understand why it is that people are making any sort of argument that the difference between publishing some cartoons and getting hysterical and burning down embassies and threatening Danish/Euro/Scandinavian/Israeli nationals with death ("Behead those who insult Islam") is one of degree rather than kind.

Why on earth have we been seized with some sort of fanatical PCism gone wrong. As the article notes,

The Boston Globe, speaking for many other outlets, editorialized: "[N]ewspapers ought to refrain from publishing offensive caricatures of Mohammed in the name of the ultimate Enlightenment value: tolerance."

But as for caricatures depicting Jews in the most medievally horrific stereotypes, or Christians as fanatics on any given issue, the mainstream press seems to hold no such value. And in the matter of disclosing classified information in wartime, the press competes for the scoop when it believes the public interest warrants it.

Exactly. And so, the article concludes, we've been had in a war of intimidation.

This has nothing to do with respect. (Full disclosure - I know all about being PC. Back in my younger, wilder days, I was so PC I balked at the term "human" because it contained the word "man." I scarce remember but I think for a brief period I used the word "huperson" (I think I struggled with person because it contained "son," though my compound clearly did as well.) What my teachers though I have no idea.) If it were about respect, then all religions would be sacrosanct. And behind them, all political parties. for there are some of us who hold to political views or constitutional ideals with as much passion (and probably far greater thought and reason) as those who believe in God or Allah or JHVH or Bhudda or the Great Onion in the North.

So now what? If you riot enough, the press will back off. Maybe Bush partisans should start burning papers down, or maybe we homos should start finding Republicans and terrorizing them.

But to pretend that this is anything other than craven cowardice from the West (actually, the US and Canada) is nonsense. At this point, the cartoons as completely newsworthy. They should be published a mari usque ad mare. Otherwise we perpetuate the myth of respect behind a curtain of fear. To accept islamist demands, without treating other faiths equally, is to suggest that either the one is more deserving of some lip-service respect than the other (given the villification of Islam that appears in much of the Western press), or is conversely to suggest that Judaism, Christianity, Etc., are more mature and can handle the occasional joke.

And for the record, I thought the cartoon of Mohammed with a bomb on his head was right on. When the Muslim world starts affirmatively discouraging Islamist terrorism, I'll change my mind. In Canada, we had two people kidnapped and the Government immediately moved to crush the terrorists. I can't wait to see the same in the Islamic world. But where, in the Palistinian Authority, for example, suicide bombers are revered, their "bereaved" families given money, and their actions praised, let's not pretend that there isn't a veil of truth to that cartoon. As politically incorrect as it is to say that.

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