Skip to comments.Drawing Conclusions--WHAT THE CARTOONS HAVE REVEALED.
Posted on 02/08/2006 10:59:36 AM PST by SJackson
aybe you remember, back in 1989, the controversy over Piss Christ, a piece of art by the now fashionable artist Andres Serrano. He himself had been living on a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and his brave break-out work (a crucifix immersed in urine) was hung in various public museums and was debated and mostly defended by the high culture elites until it became part of the canon. So much part of the canon that I suspect almost no one any longer blanches or even blinks when he sees the image anywhere. Then you may remember that other and later cruddy art work, by Chris Ofili, the Afro-Brit winner of the Turner Prize, Holy Virgin Mary, in which the medium is ever so daintily catalogued: "paper collage, glitter, polyester resin, map pins, elephant dung on linen." Coming after Piss Christ, it did not cause so much of a stir. Still, these experiments in testing public tolerance for the visual representation of the mixing of human and animal excretions with the divine constituted, at least in my view, the ugliest battle in the culture wars. It was started on the left, and it was the left that won it. And I'm not sure it shouldn't have. Yes, the First Amendment ... and all that. You may dislike what it protects ... but protect it, it must.
I was reminded of these episodes by the riots now spreading here, there, everywhere over the twelve cartoons about the Prophet Mohammed published in a privately owned Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, last September. Some of the illustrations are a bit goofy, some much more provocative. One depicts Mohammed's head with an ignited bomb protruding from his turban. In any case, for the rampaging mobs of Muslims this may be more a theological contention than a political one. Muslims are just plain forbidden from depicting the prophet. So, let them not depict him. But Christians and Jews, Hindus and Buddhists are not prohibited, and I assume that the Danish cartoonists were not Muslims but Lutherans (an overwhelming majority of whom assert that they do not believe in God) or from that cool breed of Scandinavian rationalists. Another cartoon shows the prophet greeting some martyrs at the entrance to heaven, and he shouts to them, "Stop, stop, we have run out of virgins." When you compare the most offensive of these caricatures to the vile and inciting images of Jews routinely shown on government-owned television all over the Muslim world (forget about the ugly role of caricature in the long history of Christian anti-Semitism) you wonder what all the fuss is about. OK, Bill Clinton doesn't wonder. He's referred to them as "these totally outrageous cartoons against Islam," although I myself doubt whether he's ever bothered to look at them. Is he for free expression or for that sloppy multiculturalism that forbids you from raising anyone's hackles? This is the liberal's dilemma. By the way, a European-Arab website--in retaliation, I suppose--has just put out a cartoon showing Anne Frank and Hitler in bed.
As far as I can tell, no American newspaper except The Philadelphia Inquirer has reprinted the cartoons. This has left those who still depend on the daily gazette in the lurch. They don't know exactly what the papers are writing about and why precisely Muslim mobs are so agitated. Of course, television hasn't shown them either. And TNR won't publish them. Should we? We certainly are not obliged to run them: Just imagine the geshrei if a pro-Zionist journal did run them. We wouldn't in any case: It would only bring more people into the circle of peril. If you're really interested you can find them on the web on your own. (The San Francisco Chronicle's online edition has a link to them and the right-wing FrontPageMagazine.com has a very informative and intelligent article on its site, fully illustrated.) I just don't recall whether any of the newspapers or news weeklies reproduced Piss Christ at the time of that controversy. (And I'd appreciate it if any readers can tell me.) The present American media black-out is consistent with the Bush administration's huffing and puffing: "We find them offensive, and we certainly understand why Muslims would find these images offensive." Maybe the media execs were thinking about whether our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan would be in more peril if American press outlets reproduced the cartoons. It seems that the Islamicists believe that they cannot simply disagree vehemently with those who offend them. They seem incapable of simply opposing. Killing--or threatening to kill--seems to be a reflex with enough of them to make militant Islam a danger. As Saturday's Guardian pointed out, a demonstration "led by the extremist group al-Ghuraba ... marched to the Danish embassy in Knightsbridge carrying banners calling on Muslims to 'massacre' those who insult Islam and chanting: 'Britain, you will pay, 7/7 on its way'." Why exactly threaten England with another bombing? As far as I know, no British periodical has run the cartoons even as an act of solidarity. So why, in fact, are people who so openly menace the English populace allowed to walk free on the streets? This is not free speech. This is rank intimidation--and, given 7/7, there is, in the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., a clear and present danger.
But a few newspapers in other countries were neither docile nor frightened nor conscientious. There is, after all, some fraternity among journalists. The Times reported that the cartoons had been reprinted in Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, and Hungary, in addition to France and Jordan, where the editors responsible for the decision were summarily fired by their papers' owners. That Jordanian is one hell of a brave person. In Damascus, where the Syrian police-state can prevent virtually anything from happening, mobs burnt the Danish and Norwegian embassies with impunity. In Beirut, thousands of seething Muslims stormed into a Christian quarter where the Danish consulate is situated and brought it down also. Lebanese security arrested 76 Syrians, 36 Palestinians, 25 suspected Syrians without papers, 36 Lebanese, and 12 of unidentified nationality. In proto-Palestine, of course, mobs sacked many European offices, even though most of them have functioned--to Israel's despair--as eager partisans in the Palestinian cause, even (with a wink and a nod) partisans of Palestinian terrorism. According to the AP, Mahmoud Zahar, a leader of Hamas, the landslide winner in the recent Palestinian legislative elections, told Il Giornale that anybody responsible for publishing the cartoons should be put to death, and complained that "We should have killed all those who offend the Prophet, and here we are demonstrating peaceably." Peaceably, indeed--if burning offices is considered peaceful. In the Arab town of Nazareth in Israel, hundreds turned out to vent their anger. Rage and bloodlust were on display elsewhere in the Muslim world. Here's the Islamicist equation: Blow up Jews, Israelis, unfavored Iraqis, Hindus in China, Christians in Indonesia, tourists in Egypt, ordinary and uninvolved people riding the trains in London and Madrid--good, very good. Draw some tasteless cartoons--bad, no, terrible, candidate for murder.
The Danish predicament is especially excruciating. Denmark has a deep commitment to freedom of the press, and the population is exceedingly disquieted by Muslim impingement on its distinctive way of life, socially tolerant, if also a bit xenophobic. Yes, the Danes assert, minorities have rights. But majorities do also, and among them is the right to survive with their culture and norms not being under siege. The whole of Western Europe is right now in the midst of discovering this truism, and other countries' political and cultural norms--those of France, Belgium, Holland, for example--are more imperiled than are Denmark's. Still, the Copenhagen government is center-right. The cartoons expressed something of the sentiment of its supporters. But, being an advanced economy in a globalized world, it has other interests, capitalist interests, and these interests have been pressing the government to try to propitiate the Muslim world and particularly the Arab sector of it over the cartoon incident.
Boycotts against Danish companies are underway wherever Mohammed is officially revered. There are interdicts against Danish products. In Egypt, what go for supermarkets have announced a ban on Danish commodities. There is an epidemic of ostracism, not only of the Danes but the other Scandinavians who had absolutely nothing to do with this episode. ARLA, one of the largest dairy producers in the world and the makers of Lurpak butter, has been particularly hard hit, and it has already laid off hundreds of workers at home. Lego is on the taboo list. So is Novo, the main producer of insulin. (Only Arab polities and Arab companies would put a hex on an insulin manufacturer. To hell with those who suffer from diabetes.) A.P. Moller, perhaps the world's hugest shipping company, like the other targets of the trade boycott, also has felt tremendous pressure. Of course, it, like its partners in trade pain, has attempted to rechannel that pressure on to the ruling party in Copenhagen to pacify the Muslims, to yield and pray for quarter.
But the European polis is not altogether controlled by the big corporations. The Europeans still have an attachment to their liberties, including their press liberties. And the incident of the cartoons that offended the Muslim minorities of the continent and the Muslim majorities elsewhere has not been, will not be, the only matter to provoke them. Europe and the countries of Europe will not take instructions on how to run a civil politics or how to preserve their culture from those whose habits have not yet caught up with the Magna Carta or the Declaration of the Rights of Man. This episode will inevitably harm Turkey in its bid to enter the European Union. More important, it will deepen the alienation of Muslim and Arab immigrants and their families from those amongst whom they live, still as a minority. They will have no one but themselves to blame. They did not keep the social contract that was both implicit and explicit in their arrival--not that they had larger birth-rates but that they increasingly do not seem to grasp the most elementary of democratic transactions: Give berth even to that which you dislike. The very essence of liberal society is the willingness--OK, the doleful willingness--of its members and constituent groups to be slighted.
FYI, the source is listed as National Review Online, however the link is to The New Republic...
Thanks, I'll ask to have it corrected.
He seemed receptive but could only pass the suggestion "up the line."
No one that I can recall ever said that the "art" should be illegal to produce. And no one rioted over the issue.
You know, since the combined output of all the middle east (taking out oil) is less than that of Finland - these boycotts can only go so far - they don't make anything and must purchase most of their goods from someone.
Well, obviously someone, somewhere, sees some kind of connection that is hidden from non-Islamofascists....
"But it flatly is not fair that you can bash Jesus but you can't praise him."
Time to look for and buy Danish products.
What do the Danes make that we sell over here?
As Johan Goldberg pointed out in his latest article ... the Muslim boycott of Danish goods will have no impact at all on the sale of Danish hams ....
baby back ribs.
"So, let them not depict him. But Christians and Jews, Hindus and Buddhists are not prohibited, and I assume that the Danish cartoonists were not Muslims"
Have you heard the Muslim spokesman who said he demands that "new rules" be established in Europe that make everybody play by Muslim standards? Gimme a break! Sounds a little bit like the homosexual activist civil-rightsers right here in the US of A...
Yes, and thank God for the internet. Aside from the blatant cowardice implicit in that statement it is inaccurate as well - peril shared is peril diluted. But check this one out:
But the European polis is not altogether controlled by the big corporations. The Europeans still have an attachment to their liberties, including their press liberties.
Nor is the American polis. And it isn't corporate control that is the issue here, it is the self-confessed cowardice of the author that is the issue.
The American press gets a big, fat zero from this pen. I am absolutely appalled at its craven submission and at its desperate intellectual backflips such as this author's to blame Bush or the corporations for it.
I love it!
To a liberal that makes the oposite point. The government must support what ever liberals like or it is horrible and bloody suppression, NAZIlike in its effects. If Joe Blow says he doesn't want to give his money to people who insult him and his beliefs and preferences, that is also NAZI suppression of freedom. A liberal'primary freedom is freedom to finance what he likes with other people's money. A liberal also does not consider himself as free so long as he has not successfully suppressed people who don't agree with him.
lol yeah i found that off atlas shrugs blog today. Hilarious. I used to love watching that guy on the pbs station. Of course I have problems drawing a stick figure so I was constantly amazed
The point over the Piss piece and the Dung canvas was about public money and public support. My tax dollars should not be spent in those ways especially when courts demand that any positive image or expression of Christ -- say in a nativity scene -- should be banished from public buildings and never touch public funds. There is some major hypocrisy in the application of the First Amendment.
As I mentioned on another thread, I equate the muslim reaction to the kid who gets caught smoking and pop has him puff on a nice strong cigar to "get his mind right". The posting of these cartoon images on every tree, wall, telephone pole, etc. would illustrate our freedom of expression and our wish for freedom everywhere. The muslims acting out, as also with the democrats, does nothing but hinder their causes. Let freedom ring!!
This statement seems to fly in the face of the current political correctness trend among liberals.
I used to watch that guy too, but what amazed me the most was his hair!
*Muslims fly commercial airliners into buildings in New York City. No Muslim outrage.
* Muslim officials block the exit where school girls are trying to escape a burning building because their faces were exposed. No Muslim outrage.
* Muslims cut off the heads of three teenaged girls on their way to school in Indonesia. A Christian school. No Muslim outrage.
* Muslims murder teachers trying to teach Muslim children in Iraq. No Muslim outrage.
* Muslims murder over 80 tourists with car bombs outside cafes and hotels in Egypt. No Muslim outrage.
* A Muslim attacks a missionary children's school in India. Kills six. No Muslim outrage.
* Muslims slaughter hundreds of children and teachers in Beslan, Russia. Muslims shoot children in the back. No Muslim outrage.
* Muslims fire rocket-propelled grenades into schools full of children in Israel. No Muslim outrage.
* Muslims murder more than 50 commuters in attacks on London subways and busses. Over 700 are injured. No Muslim outrage.
* Muslims massacre dozens of innocents at a Passover Seder. No Muslim outrage.
* Muslims murder innocent vacationers in Bali. No Muslim outrage.
* Muslims blow up commuter trains in Spain, murdering hundreds and wounding thousands. No Muslim outrage.
* Muslim newspapers regularly publish anti-Semitic cartoons. No Muslim outrage
* Muslims are involved, on one side or the other, in almost every one of the 125+ shooting wars around the world. No Muslim outrage.
* Muslims beat the charred bodies of Western civilians with their shoes, then hang them from a bridge. No Muslim outrage.
* Newspapers in Denmark and Norway publish cartoons depicting Mohammed. Muslims are outraged.
I bought some Lego the other day. Felt good, even if it was not for me.
Let me see if I have this quite right. In these Muslim theocracies you are not allowed to have a picture/image of your great prophet, Mohammed but everywhere around the country are posters of a great mullah, imam, ayatolla, bin ladin, hussein, king, sheik or other party power. Interesting marketing plan.
If that were true, they would not have hammered the Abu Ghraib story to death, or the phony Koran flushing, or printed every crticism of the war in Iraq on their front pages day in and day out. They were only concerned for their own pathetic safety.
Christains don't kill you over "piss christ", but muslims will slaughter your whole family over a damn cartoon.
As for boycotts of Danish products, Democracies everywhere should place a complete food trade embargo on any country that boycotts Danish goods. See how long they can keep it up when they start starving to death.
Washed down with a cold Tuborg beer.
Yes, or a Carlsberg.
Maybe the media execs were thinking about whether our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan would be in more peril if American press outlets reproduced the cartoons.
Sure, it's that sensibility that kept all of them from publishing the Abu Ghraib photos.
Have you heard the Muslim spokesman who said he demands that "new rules" be established in Europe that make everybody play by Muslim standards?
I did not hear that specific quote, but it is evident that many of them in Europe and America think that way. Their goal is the islamization of the West.
If the Muslims that live in Denmark refuse to become Danish but insist that they allow to be Muslim outside of Danish rule of law, then how much longer can Denmark survive.
The author says that is being xenophobic. No it's not.
There is a difference between not liking foreigners and refusing to surrender your culture.
The same goes for the French and the British and the Swedes...
Do they surrender to this growing alien culture and be content to be a minority in their own country.
It seems to be they have chosen to fight... and they have a fight on their hands. May they Europeans endure and win this clash of civilizations.
A lead-in to the story?
Your comments and where you stand on the issue?
Re your #16 -
I've seen photos of that picture (which has been widely used in satirical portrayals of "Mohammed") from Iraq some time ago, and as I recall it is not supposed to be the "prophet" at all, but some famous Immam who lived a few hundred years ago and is highly revered by some sect or another of Islam.
Sort of like a "Saint", I guess.
Perhaps someone who knows more about Moslem history than i do could comment?
Re #27 -
In the more urban, metrosexual abcesses of socialized America, the PC liberals might be ready to capitulate to the "offended" Muzlim demands and bend their knee to the headsman's block...
But the America I know, where the trees grow and pickup trucks roll and people don't mind getting their hands dirty - you go telling someone what they have to or must not do, and they are apt to look you square in the eye, flip you the bird, and say "Make me, @$$XXX!".
Perhaps it's a similar spirit of defiance that some Danes are showing in response to the demands of the cutthroats to stop "offending" them.
They just start cranking out MORE Islammocrastic "cartoons", and make them even more vulgar, insulting, and tawdry.
Sort of like saying; "Make us, ragheads!"
The proverbial gauntlet is thrown right back into the offended Immam's faces... and they are not going to like that one bit, now are they?
The thing is, CAN militant Islam "make them" stifle their satire, punish them for their audacity, or make their government or management make them cease and desist?
They sure are trying!
How far will the Jihhadist thugs go to impose their will not only on the press, but on all of Europe... or the rest of the World, for that matter?
Once the precident is set that we must never "offend" Islam, then what will they find "offensive" next, pray tell?
European and American women without burquas?
The ringing of church bells anywhere a Muslim might hear them?
The very existance of a Synagog anywhere?
Will anything short of total submission to Sharia Law by all of Humankind become mortally "offensive" to them?
Stay tuned sports fans; only time will tell.
Just remember; when you are more afraid of the consequences of violating Sharia law than you are of the consequences of violating the legitimate statuatory law of your own Nation or community, then guess what?;
You've just lost, Dhimmie.
But I think that a few probably unarmed and vunerable Danish cartoonists are trying to "draw" (pun intended) a proverbial line in the sand... where a lot of their (as well as our own) "leaders" don't dare to.
And as much as I don't really go along with knocking anyone's religion, I've gotta respect their spunk.
Maybe it's high time for a few more lines in the sand, eh wot?