Once again…

…a bunch of cretins have run about causing a fuss and doing no end of damage to their own cause.

That’s not especially surprising, people are like that. You’d think, however, what with all the bad press Muslims are getting these days, they’d be a bit slower to have a go at papers for publishing cartoons of Mohammed because they’d had a go at another paper who published cartoons of Mohammed.

Really, don’t make death threats against the press; they publish them and you look like dicks.

I’d never have known about these cartoons but for the Carder-like blind outrage shown by (as far as I can tell) a minority of Muslims, and (less explicably) the Saudi government. As it was, I saw this, and immediately ran a Google image search for “Mohammed Cartoon”. Wouldn’t you? You see a fuss and you immediately want to know what it’s about.

There’s a slightly hard-to-understand site (mainly, I think, because I can’t read Arabic, nor semi-Arabic) which is here for reference, and the word that first comes to mind to describe it is “stroppy.”

That probably sounds like I’m trying to deliberately wind people up, but really… You don’t, by and large, see the CoE running about demanding people retract cartoons of Jesus. The one time they tried, which was with Life of Brian, they looked like dicks. But at least they didn’t burn flags or make armed assaults on people.

I don’t, really, have a problem with Islam saying “Do not do cartoons of the Prophet, pbuh,” but if they say that because “it’s disrespectful to do so” and then say “and to show you we want you to apologise, we’re burning your flag, and you’re all a bunch of arses” I don’t see how that works. You cannot, if you wish to be taken seriously, demand that people respect your views and then refuse to listen to anyone else’s. The world just doesn’t work like that.

On the aforementioned stroppy website, a fairly sensible-sounding Dane has made a comment, which follows:

I’m another Dane, and the questions below have been nagging me.

  • Why do people who believe in gods feel that they have a greater right to be offended than us people who mainly believe in humans?
  • Why do some people think that the Danish government (and indeed the Danish nation and every danish citizen) have anything to do with this? Let alone have the power to apologize for these drawings, if apologies should be issued?
  • Someone (Moslems, I guess) has burned the Danish flag on the West Bank. Is it okay if we say that this offends me to no end, and so we’re even? Or should the Palestinian government apologize to Danish patriots everywhere?
  • What if Jyllands-Posten comes out and says “nah nah, fooled you, that wasn’t Mohammed, it was drawings of the Taoist deity Lao Tzu”? Or: “Yes it was a guy named Mohammed, but not the prophet”?
  • What if there’s a religion somewhere that worships the Half-Moon, and has a rule that a drawing of the Half-Moon is a blasphemy?
  • I’m a believer. I believe strongly in equal rights for the sexes. Sex-based discrimination offends me. Should the Saudi government apologize to me?
  • Why hit on Jyllands-Posten – have you ever tried to google “prophet mohammed”? There’s loads of material out there to get you offended, if you get off on being offended.
  • What should be done to the Danish artist who, ten years ago, made a movie portraying Jesus getting drunk and having wild sex?
  • yup… maybe Jyllands-Posten didn’t need to print those drawings, and you shouldn’t provoke anybody for no good reason, and we should all just get along, and etc etc. But will the offended Moslems please calm down and start acting like grown-ups? If Allah is really displeased with Jyllands-Postens editors, he will punish them in the after-life, right?

Published By Nikolaj Nielsen – January 30 1:55:09 PM

Which pretty much sums it up in a nutshell.

I mean, really, in a world in which large numbers of addle-brained Yanks are firmly under the impression that Terrorism is a) a bigger threat than global warming, and b) All done by Muslims who are scary and intolerant and c) Not fun now it’s happened to them so they’ve stopped funding the IRA, senior members of the Muslim community are having a pop at non-muslims, who, being non-Muslims, probably don’t give a stuff what the Q’ran says, having as they do, no reason to care at all, and burning flags and causing trouble.

Now one thing I do know is that America loves to pretend it’s a free and liberal country in which people can say whatever they want, as long as it isn’t Anti-American. Having a go at newspapers for publishing things as “freedom of speech” which you find offensive isn’t going to go down well in the USA, because the average American will soon have Fox and CNN telling him the trouble is that these papers are allowed to publish whatever they want.

Yes, it’s something Islam doesn’t like, but Denmark isn’t an Islamic country. Do we expect Denmark to stop serving alcohol in case that offends Muslims as well? No we don’t, but I’m sure some muslims are offended by it. If this were a Saudi paper, or even one in a country with a moderate Muslim population, I’d probably understand the fuss a bit better, but really.. Just because Islam exists in the world doesn’t mean papers which aren’t subject to Islamic law or convention should abide by it’s rulings. If they did, they’d have to abide by the rulings of every other religion as well, and then (presumably) Muslims would be pissed off because the paper was celebrating days sacred to the Hindu gods, of which there are rather more than one.

Bloody extremists. The one thing that’s certain to piss me off more than anything else is people being intolerant, mainly because it’s really not hard to shut the fuck up and accept that some people don’t think the way you do, and trying to bully them into it isn’t going to work.

Bloody humans. Still, give it another hundred years or so and current society will be screwed anyway, and then we can have done with it and go back to anarchic tribalism and barter. Hooray.

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  1. On February 02, 2006 JTA says:

    And wouldn’t you know it, there’s a satirical story related to this and to the defeat of the religious hatred bill in the commons at the well-known satirical site KTAB News.

    Hooray once more!

  2. On February 02, 2006 Statto says:

    It is funny that they can tolerate Danes drinking but not depicting Muhammad. Indeed, they seem to be fairly tolerant of a fairly large number of things (apart from a few extremists who like to fly planes into things) which are against their belief system in a huge number of countries around the World, presumably on the grounds that we are all infidels and will be punished later.

    So why is the law against pictorial representation of Muhammad which causes them to kick up a stink?

  3. On February 02, 2006 Phoenix says:

    “The one thing that’s certain to piss me off more than anything else is people being intolerant,”

    How do you reconcile this statement with this one?:

    “Now one thing I do know is that America loves to pretend it’s a free and liberal country in which people can say whatever they want, as long as it isn’t Anti-American. etc…..”

    America loves to ‘pretend’ ? There is no pretense to it. And your contradictory comments indicate you are exactly what pisses you off.

  4. On February 02, 2006 The Pacifist says:

    You know, when I saw

    “…a bunch of cretins have run about causing a fuss”

    I thought you were causing trouble in Hafan again…

  5. On February 02, 2006 JTA says:

    Wotcha Phoenix.

    I don’t see a conflict there, to be fair. America, as a country, has yet to strike me as intolerant – we’re talking about a nation that gets scared when gay people say they want to have civil partnerships, for God’s sake – and I don’t see that it can be as liberal as it likes to say when the populous let the stupid Patriot Act go through with minimal fuss.

    Now, OK, I don’t get much information out of America, mostly what I have is from the BBC, but they’re generally fairly reliable, and I’ve yet to hear many complaints about large anti-American bias from it.

    And your contradictory comments indicate you are exactly what pisses you off.

    You’ve lost me there, I’m afraid.

    I don’t like intolerant people. American people can, on an individual level, be quite nice, but as a whole they come accross as people still living in a society which is basically running the way Europe ran in the darker bits of the 14th Century.

    Really, it’s not nearly as free and super-liberal as it thinks it is; Chirst, they don’t even like the idea of the NHS because it’s “too socialist”. Scary.

    Individual Americans can – and, indeed, are – capable of being really nice. As a society, though, they’re scarily right wing, and far too eager to be intolerant. Hence the dislike.

    So I don’t see there’s a conflict, and I’m pretty sure I don’t piss me off, else I’d grump about me more often!

    Incidentally, how’d you run into me blog?

  6. On February 03, 2006 Statto says:

    Phoenix: what?

    JTA doesn’t like people who are intolerant, thinks that Americans are intolerant, and therefore is pissed off by them…

    Where is the logical flaw in that?

    Unless you’re moaning that JTA’s intolerance of intolerance is itself intolerant, in which case you’re putting circular arguments into his mouth.

  7. On February 03, 2006 Phoenix says:

    Ha ha…. Yes, exactly, Statto – just what you said. Actually, JTA says what pisses him off is intolerance. His explanation to me indicated that he knows little personally of America; he gets his information about us from the BBC and feels the BBC is right-on (it is a fav source for mockery here because it is so left and often wrong); that Americans are fearsome creatures given over to swooning before our more extreme right-wing idiots; but individual Americans can be nice; that we quiver and quake at the idea of homosexual union; but individual Americans can be quite nice; and we ‘think’ we’re liberal; that we’re dunces for allowing the Homeland Security Act; but individual Americans can be quite nice, actually; but as a whole we are rather ‘Dark Ages’; we are fools to think we’re a free society and super-liberal because we’re not…… oh, but individual Americans can be quite nice.

    Good grief. I think British people use far too many adjectives and adverbs.

    But you’ve got it. We have a plethora of fools who are right-wing idiots just as we have a plethora of fools who are skewed way to the far left. Welcome to the melting pot of America where an individual American can indeed be a nice chap.

    JTA, you sounded a little phony in your brief discourse about tolerance when you got to describing the American melting pot in such narrow terms. I suspect you would dislike it and find it intolerant of me to say all Brits are petty twits because they know nothing of succinctness in language.

    I found you through Technorati and clicked on you because I like your name. I am irreligious but find a bit to admire in Quakers. Your adding ‘electric’ to it drew me like a moth to a flame. Or perhaps better said: Like a moth to a bug zapper. :)

  8. On February 03, 2006 Statto says:

    Phoenix: Fox News is so right and often wrong. Ha ha.

    We can gripe about who’s left and who’s right and whose news source is more accurate than whose until the cows come home.

    There are lots of things that Americans in general, American stereotypes and the American government are intolerant of. It might be unfair to make generalisations, but intolerance of non-patriotism, intolerance of non-democracy and intolerance of action on climate change are identifiable American trends.

    This debate is couched in far too broad a set of terms to come to any meaningful conclusion, and has almost degenerated into cultural and ideological oneupmanship already.

    Though I would say that JTA’s knee-jerk American criticism, even when qualified by its usually being at least slightly tongue-in-cheek, is sometimes a little too ready… This entry basically reads “Muslims are intolerant. You know who else is intolerant? Americans. I hate Americans!!”

    I stand by my original point; JTA’s belief that Americans are intolerant is, as ever, partially right, partially wrong, but probably erring on the side of accuracy.

    Though, on a more philosophical note, what exactly is the solution to the circular and inevitable paradox of being intolerant of intolerant people?

  9. On February 03, 2006 JTA says:

    Statto, I lie awake at night wishing I knew the answer to that one. Well, OK, I don’t ususally, but it’s something to do when it’s 4am and I’ve had too much coffee to go to sleep.

    …America is just… weird. I genuinely don’t know much about the social structure there, and I wish I did. I mean… I don’t really see a left wing over there; last election the Republicans seemed to be going on about how socialist the Democrats are, and yet the Democrats are marginally less left-wing than the Tories. It’s just odd that ‘America’ seems to think calling a political rival “liberal” is an insult.

    I’ve taken the precaution of putting America in little quotes there because, you’re right, I don’t live there, so what I see as America is probably not what an American sees as America, or what a German sees. Or a Palastinian, come to that.

    But what I hear about America is rarely good. I think that’s the trouble. I’ve vague recollections from GCSE history about the McCarthy witchunts, which were just stupid, and I know the League of Nations collapsed because the USA refused to join it, and yet seventy-odd years later they just acted as if the UN didn’t count for beans and went into Iraq anyway. And that dragged us along because Blair was being a spineless jerk.

    I know I’m not great at seeing the “wider picture” when it comes to the USA, but I think that’s at least partly because I keep having it narrowed by everything high-profile America manages to get up to. Two days ago my radio woke me up in the middle of a clip of Bush’s State of the Union speech in which he was telling the country that it’s not OK to start to feel safe yet, just because it’s been 28 months since September 11th.

    That’s just… weird. I mean, really. Anywhere in the UK – and probably in Europe as well – we’d not only be way over it by now, but we’d look at the guy saying it and go “Of course it’s OK to feel safe. Now calm down… Don’t sulk, for God’s sake, d’you want this bloody cup of tea or not?”

    There was that business with the London tube bombings over the summer, which most people not directly affected got over in about a week, just in time for the failed second run, which was just funny… And yet America, 3,000 miles away, reacted by closing the New York metro.

    Now I do understand that September 11th was a big old fuck of a shock, and was a tragedy for anyone involved. That’s bound to make people fairly fucking paranoid, since nothing like it ever happened in America before…

    …What I don’t get is how quickly the politicians turned it from being a genuine human tragedy into a flimsy pretext to go into Iraq because “Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction, he has supported Al Quida”. That’s just stupid. Saddam was a totally different branch of Islam to Al Quaida, and they hated one another’s guts for various theological reasons. And, of course, Al Quaida still saw Saddam as being a US puppet from when he was funded back in the 80s…

    This probably counts as me taking too long to get to the point, which usually happens to me when I get to bashing out essays on things, but I’m just trying to show you how America looks from where I’m standing. I know the American people must be OK, by and large, and some of them will be really nice guys, and some of them will be dicks. That’s pretty much true of any group the world over.

    But all we hear about is the bad stuff. We hear about that crap with “freedom fries” and pouring French wine down the toilet because it’s ‘Un-American’ because it’s a) not as crappy as most Californian stuff, ugh, and b) from a country that pointed out we were going to war in Iraq for the wrong reason.

    We hear continuing bad news about Global Warming, and the USA refuses to sign the Kyoto treaty, because the big oil and car industries threaten to pull their financial support of the political parties if anything like a clean air act gets passed.

    I’ve yet to hear any news about, I dunno, a state which has passed a mandatory “cycle to work day” statute which comes into force once a month, and maybe that’s because it hasn’t happened, but maybe it’s because it wouldn’t be very ‘interesting’ news.

    There’s America, the geographical location, and then there’s ‘America,’ the way we hear about it, and then there’s “America,” with double quotes, which is the version of America I’ve constructed from what I’ve seen on maps, read on blogs, read on the frankly scary CAP Alert website, and seen in films. Somewhere in all of that are the American people and the “American” people.

    The former are probably mostly good guys, with a few dicks thrown in to even things out. The latter are mostly dicks, with a few good guys in there by chance, and probably keeping their heads down in case they suggest more funding for public transport and get called communists.

    Rationally, the reality must fall somewhere between those two lines, and, as Statto says, I do tend to shove my tongue into my cheek when I go off on one about the USA, but it still strikes me as a really weird country, and most of what I hear about is the intolerant bits.

    I tried reading Fox once, and that was just infuriating because they didn’t give any story a left wing viewpoint at all. Maybe they thought they did, it’s entirely concievable.

    To be fair, and being faintly personal for a minute, you do seem like one of the “good guys,” and you’re probably fairly pissed off with me for saying “Oo, I like to be tolerant, America, eh? What a bunch of wankers,” so most of this is me trying to put accross how I end up pushed into that perspective.

    “America,” to me, is not a happy tolerant country, and I wouldn’t really want to go there. Same as Saudi Arabia, really, but marginally less prohibition-y, and with more guns.

    And I’ve always had trouble with the “intolerant people are dicks, I hate them” thing. I think it’s probably a matter of perspective. From a “I have no problem with men shagging other men” point of view, people running about with stupid ‘God Abhors You’ signs are really annoying, because to me it’s obvious they’re not willing to look at it from any other perspective.

    To you, I’m probably annoying because I seem not to look at the USA from any other perspective, which is pretty much true. I do still try to find other perspectives, but they all seem to be What US Politicians Say or What The Religious Right and NRA Think, neither of which do much in the way of broadening my perspective!

    Quakers, by and large, rock, albeit in a very quiet way. Does rather lead me into being fiercely anti-Iraq war, though!


  10. On February 04, 2006 Phoenix says:

    Oooh…that was like a fine wine the morning after.

    JTA , Staato,

    I have to address you both because there is too much delightful verbiage to address each little thing – as much as I’d like to. My email would be far too long and would probably sink into the Atlantic on the way over.

    I have to give you both credit for admitting your limited perspective of America is based on limited exposure. Nothing worse than in-your-face rants by someone who thinks he knows a lot based solely on a small bit of knowledge. My hat is off to you both.

    Ever study Marshall McLuhan? His famous “The medium is the message”? I think we are all products of his prescient words, and while we may learn much, we also become stupid. Actually, ‘stupider’ is better. The MSM is the medium, and we get what they give us. However, it is up to us to take it or not. Nice thing about the Internet,…we can search things out for truth, lies and misunderstandings. That still leaves us with power to find it all out if we want to and to speak from a base of knowledge that hasn’t been skewed in some godawful political direction. If that is even possible. Point – you can’t depend on TV. Or newspapers.

    Where am I going with this? Nowhere. I think you suggested it – we react based on what we know, and what we know is often lacking. We should add that we’re really lazy slugs a lot of the time and choose not to bother to pursue a subject because it’s so much easier to just rant and rave and then go have a coffee.

    Americans are everything you said, and our politicians are fools. Things are partisan and nasty here as they’ve never been before. People who are not in journalism or politics are beginning to tune out. And rightly so. It’s boring stuff, and it’s embarrassing stuff when you look at the behavior of the dems during Alito’s hearing. Again, what you hear more of are the antics of the extremes. What you seem to know little of is the arch of the bell curve that makes up most of us. We’re not much different than you except for the tea thing.

    Oh. Yes. The complacency thing. We are not into that. Certainly nowhere near as Europeans are. But that is to your disadvantage, I think. Especially on the continent. You, and the EU (continent) have Muslim problems we cannot even imagine. We have Mexicans, but they work hard and their religion is a better life come hell or high water. High water being the Rio Grande. If you guys (EU,too) don’t come to grips with the Muslim Invasion of Yea Gods!, you will have problems.

    Bush didn’t invade Iraq because of weapons of mass destruction. America, and by association, Britain, needs a military presence in the Levant. Nice bunch of nuked-up countries over there that don’t like us. Bush, for all his faults, at least has futuristic thinking – which cannot be said for the average politician here who cannot think beyond lunch and the next election. Asses.

    That’s it, I guess. Terrorism is not to be taken lightly. I didn’t get that off FOX News. I just get it.

    I would sign off with a smile, but I see you have those moronic icons. Oh, wait….I know how to get past those foolish things… I think anyway…. :}

  11. On February 04, 2006 Phoenix says:

    One more thing: There is nothing wrong with being intolerant. I am intolerant of many things. Bad manners; intolerance; know-it-alls; stupid people; stinky armpits; people who don’t get it (see ‘stupid’); religious fanatics; Catholics; bullies; people who refuse responsibility for their actions; pacifists; passivists; nut jobs; Hollywood ‘celebrity’; Oprah’s wallowing in victimhood; lousy teachers…… I’m also intolerant of people who worry about being intolerant as if it is some kind of sin. It’s a thinking man’s curse, if you ask me. As well, it is a blessing because it shows you’re grounded in reality.

    By the way, what is driving ‘theory’? Ya need a ‘theory’ to drive?? :}

  12. On February 04, 2006 Statto says:

    We don’t really think you need a “theory” to drive, either; the DSA (one of the government agencies over here resposible for driver licencing) seems to this that you do. That’s why they tried to shut us down last year. Try out our spoof test to see the kind of crap they might ask you if they made their stupid test a little more sensible…

    On terrorism: terrorism is to be taken lightly. 3,000 people died in the Twin Towers, just over 50 died in the London Tube bombings. That’s nothing compared to the 8,000 dead civilians in Iraq, or the number of people starving daily in Africa, or the number of extra people who will starve daily or be drowned when climate change desertifies their farmland and swamps their coastal cities with rising sea levels.

  13. On February 05, 2006 Phoenix says:

    Very funny driving test. We have the same here. Ours are so easy it’s embarrassing. But…. people fail them all the time. That’s frightening.

    Don’t know how to address the terrorism thing anymore than anyone else who seems to think they know the answers. I do know we can’t just hide our heads and wish it away. Africa? That is one problem that just seems to fester. That’s it. It just festers. How long have countries tried to help to no avail?

    Do you study Malthusian Theory? A F R I C A.

    I read a long piece about Somalia – written by a journalist who lived there a year. It was an excellent expose of all the country was about. I read and read and fully expected the optimistic platitudes at the end. Nope. With no cynicism whatsoever, he asked the question, ‘What can be done?’ He ended by saying it should be washed into the sea. I was taken aback at his tortured testimonial, but then, I agreed, too.

    If some great god in the heavens pronounced that: EVERY MAN SHALL GET WHAT HE DESERVES what do you think would happen? (‘man’ includes women and children)

  14. On February 05, 2006 Phoenix says:

    No saying there is no great god in the heavens. Pretend he is real and his pronouncement valid.

  15. On February 05, 2006 Statto says:


  16. On February 06, 2006 Phoenix says:

    Hey…….. found this and thought of JTA and his ponderance of intolerance. I thought you might enjoy it:

    “Somehow, it seems to escape those raised on westernized Orientalism that by calling the intolerance of intolerance “intolerant,” they have reduced the concept of tolerance itself to a cruel semantic joke—the idea being that groups formed around cultural similarities, once they have honed their group message and excommunicated the dissenters—own the narrative. Outside criticism is therefore inauthentic—always tainted by the gaze of the Other, and so only to be considered secondarily (if at all) as a valid critique.

    From there, it is a short journey to asserting the absolutism of a cultural paradigm—and this happens necessarily where universality (or, for postmodernists, social contracts that rely on the trappings of what is metaphysically untenable) is surrendered to competition between identity groups over primacy of “rights” in the global sense.”

    It is from ProteinWisdom blog. Jeff Goldstein.

    ref my above comment about God giving people what they deserve…. Just that. If God decided to step in, as opposed to watching this madness unfold below him, what do you think He would do.

    (I added the last bit because I do not know if you are believers.)