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    I’ll hold my breath until I turn blue!

    Okay, I know I shouldn’t be disrespectful, but I laughed aloud at this (via Rondi Adamson). Luckily, I didn’t have a mouthful of tea and cake at the time:

    A leading Islamic cleric called for an “international day of anger” today over publication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed, and a Danish activist predicted that deadly violence could break out in Europe “at any minute”.

    As more European newspapers reprinted the cartoons, what started off as a row between Denmark’s press and its Muslim population grew into a full-blown “clash of civilisations”.

    As Rondi says, “But isn’t every day an international day of anger for Islamofascists?” Yeah, seriously, what is that all about? We infidels are going to be glowered at especially hard today? The shrieky denunciations of Western culture and institutions will be ratcheted up a decibel or two?

    The Danish cartoons thing is one of those stories that everyone with a blog had written about the moment it broke, so I wasn’t going to say anything about it. If you believe in freedom of thought and freedom of speech, the political position you need to take is obvious. As Virginia Postrel says:

    My response to this nonsense is to wonder why Muslims don’t grow up. If your co-religionists are going to take political stands, and blow up innocent people in the name of Islam, political cartoonists are going to occasionally take satirical swipes at your religion. Those swipes may not be nuanced, but they’re what you can expect when you live in a free society, where you, too, can hold views others find offensive. If you don’t like it, move to Saudi Arabia. Or just try to peacefully convert people to Islam.

    We all cherish the right to free speech, but of course we have to try and assess motives in order to be able to deal with each other, and there’s no reason not to raise the question of whether the cartoons in question are merely coarsening the public discourse rather than contributing useful thoughts to it. That’s the angle of the whole thing that pisses me off; there are legitimate issues about civilized behavior in a liberal society that this could be an opportunity to discuss. It’s useful to ask where vigorous opposition shades off into unenlightening jeering and disrespect.

    But, you know, you have to stop frothing at the mouth in order to get to the point at which you can contemplate such things, and that’s something many Islamic activists seem incapable of doing. Not only that, but moderate Muslims haven’t figured out how to grab the spotlight when these sorts of things happen and put a sensible, civilized public face on their faith. (Virginia’s right about Kindly Inquisitors, BTW. Short but very good.)

    Added after finishing tea: Trust me to get through an entire post about something I’d planned not to post about without posting about the thing that spurred me to post about it in the first place. (Don’t bother rereading that sentence–you got the gist already, trust me.)

    It was the State Department (via Michelle Malkin):

    “These cartoons are indeed offensive to the beliefs of Muslims,” State Department spokesman Justin Higgins said when queried about the furore sparked by the cartoons which first appeared in a Danish newspaper.

    “We all fully recognize and respect freedom of the press and expression but it must be coupled with press responsibility,” Higgins told AFP.

    “Inciting religious or ethnic hatreds in this manner is not acceptable. We call for tolerance and respect for all communities and for their religious beliefs and practices.”

    “Not acceptable”? Give me a break. “Not acceptable” is, like, the locution I use when scolding an employee for being late or not filling out his paperwork properly. It would be “not acceptable” for Electrolux to refuse to make restitution if it sold you a defective vacuum cleaner. It’s “not acceptable” for a commercial flight to take off an hour late with no apology from the crew.

    Given that candid eye contact from a woman in public is enough to “[incite] religious or ethnic hatreds” in some of these people, going all extra-sensitivo when writing (of all things!) political cartoons seems a bit pointless. Especially if our standard is going to be wifty-ass PR-speak like “acceptable.”

    BTW, while I’m citing a series of beautiful, smart, fierce women, Samantha Burns hasn’t yet posted about this whole ridiculous cartoon drama, but presumably she will. (A commenter has prodded her.) And when she does, you know it’s going to be a corker.

    Added still later: In the interest of diversity, here‘s a post that’s not by a beautiful, smart, fierce woman. Since this is Beautiful Atrocities we’re talking about, it goes without saying that it’s not safe for work. Not safe for play, either. I’m a big proponent of civilized discourse, but there are times when targeted offensiveness makes a point that can’t be made any other way.

    8 Responses to “I’ll hold my breath until I turn blue!”

    1. Portia says:

      Well, considering that in their speeches the muslim religious leaders occasionally refer to invisible spiders and their ilk, I think they are going to give us the “laser glare of death.”

      I, for one am cowering.

      P

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      No kidding. Tin-foil hat at the ready, huh?

    3. Doggone outrageous

      Amidst the huge collection of pictures taken during yesterday’s “INTERNATIONAL DAY OF OUTRAGE” was this one: “Denmark dogs”? Hey, that’s what the sign says. And in light of her previously announced support for Denmark, Coco’s now thinking along the lines…

    4. Alan says:

      I’m really unhappy with the State Department’s stand. There are some things that diplomacy takes a backseat to, and I’d say protecting free speech trumps shameless political maneuvering with dubious results any day. Muslims are not going to like us any more because we support their fanaticism just this once, but it seems to me that supporting their genocidal tendencies in any case can do nothing but hurt our position.

    5. Sean Kinsell says:

      Yes, it was exactly the kind of two-fer that only political flacks can orchestrate: State managed simultaneously to look like it can’t mind its own damned business (by taking a stance on the editorial policies permitted publications in other countries) and to look wishy-washy (by bleating that offending Muslim sensibilities is unacceptable). Exquisite.

    6. Sam says:

      Thanks for the link.

      You can be sure to expect something very soon from my site, possibly throughout the week. I hope it will please as I’ve been having a blast doing it.

      By the way, any interest in a blogroll exchange?

    7. Sean Kinsell says:

      The last time I explained to someone that I don’t do blogroll exchanges per se but, as it happens, I’d been reading his site regularly and planned to get around to blogrolling him presently anyway…he never wrote me back, so I have this feeling I’ve offended him for life.

      In any case, I read your site regularly and have planned to get around to blogrolling you presently anyway. Now I just have to figure out where you fit best.

    8. Islamofascists torch the Danish and Norwegian em..

      And in doing so, they show why nobody should have to recognize them as legitimate. Michelle Malkin’s got a video recording of the massacre in Syria against the Danish and Norwegian embassies.

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