21 February, 2006

And Now: A Touch of Class

In the interests of promoting a clean, high-brow primness to proceedings: a photodiary of peoples' first introduction to the phenomenon known as Goatse. Only mildly amusing, until you recognise one of the photographed:

-The Rev. Schmitt.

05 February, 2006

Say Cheese!

I was going to write about the Muhammed cartoons a few days ago. (Actual images here, explanations here.) Some of them genuinely are ridiculous, insulting, and seriously don't seem to have a purpose other than infuriating Muslims. A couple are immensely childish. As much as I can't stand religion I can respect and love the people who have it - I disgaree with everybody on some level. But hey, freedom of speech: rock on. Beliefs shouldn't be exempt from criticism or mockery just because they are religious, even if that criticism or mockery is moronic.
Some of the cartoons are poignant, prescient and witty, eg.,

I was going to write about how I thought the organised boycotts were over the top, but ultimately understandable. A bit bloody much to sanction an entire country over cartoons printed in a single newspaper which were apologised for on the 31st last month, but wars have been fought over weaker slights and it struck me as remarkably reserved for religious theocracies to respond with sanctions. A step forward, almost. Hell, religious zealots make stuff up to be angry about all the time, and boycotts often follow. So: dumb and provocative cartoons, boycotts, it's mostly good. Everyone involved with the cartoons and the boycotts were quite blatantly thick and/or nuts, but there was a modicum of restraint in presenting conflicting viewpoints - it hadn't turned violent, at least. Super.
I felt most of the people supporting the 'Buy Danish' campaign were simply and obviously reveling in the anti-Islam of it all; far too cowardly to admit it and trying to hide behind the free speech sentiments of an action which broke no law forbidding free speech. Hell, I can do that.
All religious people, including Muslims, are operating under faiths for which they have no evidence, and which often contradict many things we know about the world. Those who die and murder in the name of such beliefs do so for no objectively sensible reason and are amongst the most despicable and pathetic people on Earth. Theocracies - particularly and specifically the contemporary Islamic theocracies in the Middle East - breed and support terrorists, are horrific places to live, are mired in poverty; disgustingly oppressive and misogynistic, are prone to savagery, lynch mobs and murder, and are predicated on some of the most idiotic laws ever known to mankind.
Buy Danish, and I would like an X Box please.
Finish by insulting religion in general, condemn the handful of death threats I'd heard about, with some measure of respect analyse the MCB's 'guys, we're as idiotic about what religious freedom actually means as you guys, but don't lose your cool' tone, and the masturbation of a blog entry would have been born.
That was before the mass demonstrations about the cartoons – cartoons, for pity's sake - turned violent, many more threats were issued, and the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Libya and Denmark's consulate in Lebanon were burned down. Joy!

These images are from a demonstration in jolly old London. 'Massacre those who insult Islam', 'Slay those who insult Islam,' the catchy 'Behead the one who insults the prophet' and other witty ripostes made the show. They're almost doubtlessly a small minority in the British Muslim community – those same placards are the only ones I've seen in every news report and in pictures. The Metropolitan police have stated that they will be arresting those in the crowds they recognise as calling for murder or issuing threats after the demonstrations, which strikes me as appropriate.
Even acknowledging that the protestors are a small minority, the response from Muslim organisations well known for their moderation and peacefulness in condemning the nature of some of the protests which extend to clearly wrong behaviour has been somewhat tepid. The condemnations often come almost as an aside to raving about how nasty those horrible cartoons are. But Hell, they're there. Good. It's not the job of the Muslim Council of Britain to clean up after the mess people claiming to speak for British Muslims make - but they do it regularly and explicitly. They're needed sometimes, especially since the BBC seems to be the only news media which will listen to them and report on what they say. Prior to the MCB the Muslim community was completely fractured - Mosques tended to speak for themselves, not that many were listening. So - yay.

The most amazing thing about this to me is that it isn't the cartoon which could arguably be painting all Muslims as terrorists which ticked off so many people. It's that a guy hopefully portrayed historically innaccurately by the Qu'ran is made into an image or presented in an 'offensive' way:

The Muslim Council of Britain is deeply concerned by the continuing refusal of several European newspapers to understand and acknowledge the immense hurt they have caused to Muslims the world over by printing gratuitously offensive caricatures of the blessed Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Yeah. Because you've shown nothing but tolerance for beleagured minorities? You've always acted in a conciliatory manner when criticising ideas and actions you disagree with? Oh blessed tu quoque, your kiss is rapture! Let me go! Let me go!

In a palace of stupidity the guys torching buildings aren't good.
al-Jazeera has some of the best coverage.
This entry's been rather short of content and opinion (not to mention critically lacking entertainment value.) I don't know nothin' about politics, man; have no idea where any of this is going. All I can bring you, dear reader, is the maturity, laziness and soft spokenness this blog is known for by all three of its readers. I present Happy Muhammed.


Update: Wherein I go looking for better opinions than mine.

Orac, profoundly reasonable, polite, and tackles the issues in turn.
The Two Percent Co quite rightly loses their temper at the violence and other ridiculous reactions. Their Muhammed drawing is superior in every way.
Parrot Line is a splash of cold water.

-The Rev. Schmitt.

01 February, 2006


Er, wow. My apologies about the long absence to my readers (both eternally precious and dear to my heart) - I had no idea it had been over two full weeks since my last post. University and my disgusting simulacrum of a social life had decided to impugn on my time wasting...time, with a test, large periods spent sitting around having nothing to do, and another test. Uni currently seems to be trying to drag me into reading an awful lot of books, a horrible waste of time preventing me from the true nitty gritty of an English course: making gentle love to Marx and Freud. I am also currently at home, on dial up, suddenly realising I have to be on a train scheduled to arrive in six hours, and therefore have plenty of time to get a full eight hours of sleep. Bumblepop and sodomy.

-The Rev. Schmitt.