Friday, February 03, 2006

Prophet margins

More, more and yet more stuff about bad cartoons that nobody likes, but for different reasons. And here's some more, if you want it.

Meanwhile, the UK Government arses up its own religious hatred bill; and BNP Reichsfuhrer Griffin and his weasel-eyed catamite are let off on charges of... well, being unpleasant, really...

Some have accused the BBC of double standards for not showing the cartoons, despite having shown Jerry Springer: The Opera and thus offending Christians. Others have said that those defending the right to publish the cartoons would not have defended Der Sturmer's anti-semitic outpourings. But we're talking different kinds of horrid.

The problem with Der Sturmer and similar propaganda was that it sought to incite hatred against Jews. That's the same argument used against the BNP duo. However, the reason people in the West are edgy about the danish cartoons is subtly different. It's less to do with stirring up hatred against Muslims - freedom of speech trumps that one, except in George Galloway's house. It's more about the worry that the pictures will provoke Muslims into reciprocal acts of hatred against the West.

And, as several Islamic commentators have argued, if the desire of the cartoonists was to provoke Muslims into violence, they've succeeded. D'oh. "The protests in the Middle East have proven that the cartoonist was right," said Tarek Fatah, a director of the Muslim Canadian Congress. "It's falling straight into that trap of being depicted as a violent people and proving the point that, yes, we are." Safiyyah Ally at takes a similar line, suggesting “We haven't learned from the Rushdie affair - this is yet another instance where we've gone out of our way to make ourselves look stupid.”

Oh, and that thing they were doing in Jerry Springer? It's called taking the piss. That’s all.

“Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics,
And the Catholics hate the Protestants,
And the Hindus hate the Moslems,
And everybody hates the Jews.”

Tom Lehrer, ‘National Brotherhood Week’


david said...

Nice blog. I shall be back. You observe well my friend. But good cartoons or bad cartoons, that doesn't justify burning down an embassy or killing someone (er, someone died in the fire). If you want to protest the war and burn down an embassy, I think, sure, help yourself. But a cartoon? Is Jackie Mason, Robin Williams, Joan Rivers and Eddie Izzard all now on some fatwa hit list for making jokes?

Tim Footman said...

Thanks, David. I agree, it does seem disproportionate. And I'm a little sceptical about the idea that thousands of people spontaneously "took offence" at these cartoons. The cartoons were circulated in the Middle East, and in Muslim communities in the West, with the specific purpose of stirring things up.

But at least most of the protestors have actually seen the cartoons. During the Rushdie brouhaha in 1989 I really wanted to buttonhole a passing protestor and ask him whether he thought the author was coasting a bit after the triumph of Midnight's Children. And, of course, to get a consensus on the burning question: wherefore magic realism?

Oh, and Robin Williams should be on a hit list for Patch Adams alone. Bleeurgh.