Friday, May 21, 2010

Everybody Draw Mohammad Day

I'm posting this late, but why confine blasphemy to a single day?

This criticism of Everybody Draw Mohammad Day is valid as far as it goes, which is to say, college campuses. Going out of one's way to be obnoxious towards particular fellow students is, well, obnoxious (I did it to a Mormon teacher in high school, and yeah, I'll admit I was a dick). There's nothing to be gained in such a localized setting.

The real target is global, which is why this broader critique misses the point. To recap:

- South Park once inserted Mohammad into the show, in the Super Best Friends episode, without incident in pre-9/11 2001.
- When they attempted a Mohammad appearance so as part of an episode about the Danish cartoon controversy, Comedy Central refused to show the scene.
- When they recently made fun of Mohammad's non-appearance by having him "appear" in a bear suit, some twats from Revolution Muslim passive-aggressively stated that South Park's creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, would suffer the same fate as Theo Van Gogh, who was murdered in broad daylight.
- In response, Comedy Central did not rerun the episode, nor did they stream it online. They also removed Super Best Friends from online view.

Some additional context:

- Many news outlets refused to show the offending Danish cartoons when the story broke in 2005, and several of the editors involved in those that did were fired.
- Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who wrote the script and provided the voice over to Theo Van Gogh's Submission film, was threatened in a note pinned to his body and at one point had to collect donations to cover her security costs.
- Kurt Westergaard, one of the Danish cartoonists, was attacked with an axe in his home while he was taking care of his five year-old granddaughter.
- A Swedish cartoonist, Lars Vilks, who drew a picture of Mohammad's head on a dog's body was head-butted and had his house set on fire, having already been the target in a foiled murder plot.

Everybody Draw Mohammad Day is a response to intimidation and suppression of free speech. If Trey Parker and Matt Stone are to be threatened with death for depicting the prophet, the theory goes, then so will the rest of us. It's a debased version of the Danes all wearing Stars of David to protect their Jews from the Nazis, except that--given the different circumstances--this time the participants mock a religious icon rather than honor it (also, this event has the benefit of having now actually happened).

I admit this is bullshit symbolism with no practical benefit in itself--which I usually hate--but putting this on the internet for all to see, potentially, if remotely so, puts its participants at risk. Any violence to occur as a result of it would make the point all the more obvious and strengthen the cause, which is more than can be said for the usual plant-a-flag-for-Darfur crap.

Ahmed Rehab, the author of the objection to Everybody Draw Mohammad Day, complains about a campaign that would willingly offend Muslims, which this no doubt does. My only response is a question: which is more offensive: this?

Or this?

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