February 21, 2006



At Slate.com earlier this month, Christopher Hitchens made some good points in Cartoon Debate: The case for mocking religion. (via Bill Keough on HBL List)

[T]here is a strong case for saying that the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, and those who have reprinted its efforts out of solidarity, are affirming the right to criticize not merely Islam but religion in general. And the Bush administration has no business at all expressing an opinion on that. If it is to say anything, it is constitutionally obliged to uphold the right and no more. ...

I, too, have strong convictions and beliefs and value the Enlightenment above any priesthood or any sacred fetish-object. It is revolting to me to breathe the same air as wafts from the exhalations of the madrasahs, or the reeking fumes of the suicide-murderers, or the sermons of Billy Graham and Joseph Ratzinger. But these same principles of mine also prevent me from wreaking random violence on the nearest church, or kidnapping a Muslim at random and holding him hostage, or violating diplomatic immunity by attacking the embassy or the envoys of even the most despotic Islamic state, or making a moronic spectacle of myself threatening blood and fire to faraway individuals who may have hurt my feelings. The babyish rumor-fueled tantrums that erupt all the time, especially in the Islamic world, show yet again that faith belongs to the spoiled and selfish childhood of our species. ...

The question of "offensiveness" is easy to decide. First: Suppose that we all agreed to comport ourselves in order to avoid offending the believers? How could we ever be sure that we had taken enough precautions? On Saturday, I appeared on CNN, which was so terrified of reprisal that it "pixilated" the very cartoons that its viewers needed to see. And this ignoble fear in Atlanta, Ga., arose because of an illustration in a small Scandinavian newspaper of which nobody had ever heard before! Is it not clear, then, that those who are determined to be "offended" will discover a provocation somewhere? We cannot possibly adjust enough to please the fanatics, and it is degrading to make the attempt.

And here's Hitchens' latest: Stand up for Denmark! Why are we not defending our ally? (via Michelle Malkin)

The silky ones may be more of a problem in the long term than the flagrantly vicious and crazy ones. Within a short while -- this is a warning -- the shady term "Islamophobia" is going to be smuggled through our customs. Anyone accused of it will be politely but firmly instructed to shut up, and to forfeit the constitutional right to criticize religion. By definition, anyone accused in this way will also be implicitly guilty. Thus the "soft" censorship will triumph, not from any merit in its argument, but from its association with the "hard" censorship that we have seen being imposed over the past weeks. A report ($$) in the New York Times of Feb. 13 was as carefully neutral as could be but nonetheless conveyed the sense of menace. "American Muslim leaders," we were told, are more canny. They have "managed to build effective organizations and achieve greater integration, acceptance and economic success than their brethren in Europe have. They portray the cartoons as a part of a wave of global Islamophobia and have encouraged Muslim groups in Europe to use the same term." In other words, they are leveraging worldwide Islamic violence to drop a discreet message into the American discourse.

In the name of parody, we've taken quite a few liberties with other people's cartoons. To give credit where credit is due ... The cartoon above features four of the original Danish Mohammed cartoons published in Jyllands-Posten. The artists are (left to right): Claus Seidel, Rasmus Sand Høyer, Peder Bundgaard, and Kurt Westergaard. For all the Danish Mohammed cartoons, see Mohammed Cartoons.com.

The cartoon pigs are (left to right): Olivia by Ian Falconer, Miss Piggy by Jim Henson, Porky Pig by Bob Clampett (Warner Bros.), and Piglet by A. A. Milne and Disney.

To see where cartoon pigs were targeted by Islamists, see Perils Before Swine.

And here are all of our other cartoons relating to the Cartoon Jihad:

Image Problem
A Right to Blasphemy
Western Dhimmitude
Must-See TV

UPDATE I -- Feb. 22: A strong reaction to this cartoon at Wired Opinion: Save Piglet.

What really elicited a visceral reaction from me, though, was not the cartoonists' point, which has its merits and its failings, but simply the presence of Piglet, a cherished character from my childhood, in a cartoon that contains violent religious fantatics and the inflammatory objects of their outrage.

And in that sense, the cartoon is an artistic success. Though I maintain that [tempered, nonviolent] Muslim umbrage over the Muhammed cartoons is justifiable while outrage over Piglet calendars isn't, the cartoonists, in presenting these images together, powerfully illustrate the point that violent outrage over free expression of any sort is a grave threat to liberal societies. The presence of harmless characters from my childhood make more stark the contrast between cultures of tolerance and cultures of indignant intolerance.

UPDATE II: Thanks to Rodrigo Girão for added details in the credits.

UPDATE III -- Feb. 26: Toonophobia is spreading into new territory. From MEMRI: Film Seminar on Iranian TV: Tom and Jerry - A Jewish Conspiracy to Improve the Image of Mice, because Jews Were Termed "Dirty Mice" in Europe. (via Tim Sumner and LGF).

There is a cartoon that children like. They like it very much, and so do adults -- Tom and Jerry. ...

Some say that this creation by Walt Disney will be remembered forever. The Jewish Walt Disney Company gained international fame with this cartoon. It is still shown throughout the world. This cartoon maintains its status because of the cute antics of the cat and mouse – especially the mouse.

Never mind that Tom and Jerry was the work of animators William Hanna and Joseph Barbera and produced by Metro-Goldwyn Mayer.

UPDATE IV -- Feb. 28: Still more toonophobia; from Khaleej Times: Arab League chief says cartoons part of anti-Islam battle. (via LGF).

Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa on Monday considered the Prophet Mohammed’s cartoons as part of a “battle against Islam” rather than a symptom of conflict among civilizations, and urged Arab parliamentarians to put pressure on the United Nations to come up with a “strict” solution to this problem. ...

Speakers during the opening session lashed out at those who stood behind the cartoons and questioned the validity of arguments that they were published under the principle of freedom of expression. ...

Statement of a UN legislation that bans offences to prophets was high on the agenda of the two-day APU meeting.

Posted by Forkum at February 21, 2006 07:42 PM