Tuesday, April 27, 2010

In reply: Everybody Draw Mohammed - I just don't want to offend those who don't deserve it, even to make a point about those who do

In reply to: Brain Rage: In Defense Of Everybody Draw Mohammed Day:

I've been bouncing back and forth on this topic, thinkin' everyone I read has a good point...

As of now, I'm with Thundercock philosophically, but don't intend to participate because I don't wish to offend people. (There's a whole lotta things I wouldn't post on the grounds that I don't want to offend, including some of the stuff that appears here, and at American Nihilist, for that matter.) ((And then, contradictory somebitch that I am, I laugh my ass off when you folks post 'em. I just suck.))

If I was the kind of person who had no issue with posting things I knew might be offensive to other religions (or races, genders, sexual orientations, etc.), I'd like to think I'd offend muslims as well, in spite of the potentially increased risk of violence from extremist assholes... though I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't take that into account, too. (I don't know whether Comedy Central made the right decision in not airing the shows as created, but I'm not in agreement with those--mostly keyboard commandos on the right, I've noticed--who're calling them cowards for not being willing to put Matt, Trey, and themselves at risk. While I think it's admirable and heroic to stand up to threats of violence in the name of an important cause, I don't find fault with those who aren't willing to do so, either. Some of us are firefighters who'll run into the burning building that everyone else is running out of, but others of us just ain't physically or mentally built to do that kinda thing.

As I said elsewhere, it's an ethical choice between standing up for freedom of speech and against censorship on one side, and standing up for treating people who are different from you in some way--a religious belief, in this case--with respect, on the other. I think it's a question that each person has to answer for himself, and I can't fault anyone for making a different choice than I would, because they're both worthwhile goals.

And of course, I'm in no way influenced by the fact that I'm a really shitty visual artist... 8>)

Posted APRIL 27, 2010 2:50 AM (BR blog time)


JBW said...

Personally Reppy I think that it's important to push boundaries and sometimes intentionally make people uncomfortable, especially when there are important principles like freedom of speech involved. I would find the world quite dull if everything was safe and boring and inoffensive and I think most open-minded people would agree with me on that. Or maybe I just get off on conflict.

I understand your point as to Comedy Central and the safety of their employees but I still can't help considering them cowards on some level, particularly since the two men who are obviously the biggest targets in all of this were also willing to be the first ones to stand on the front lines of this fight. Parker and Stone have made millions for Viacom over the years but when it came time for that company to back them up it pussed out once again. It's my opinion that some things are more important than safety but I of course don't expect everyone to agree with me on that.

And I guess I consider free speech to be an inherent right while I consider respect something that must be earned, even and especially by religions. Contrary to what Don may claim I have respect for many things in this world but religious thuggery isn't one of them.

repsac3 said...

I get where you're coming from, JBW... And for the most part, I don't disagree, either. I'm not saying it's wrong for you to participate... ...but it would be for me. While I'm certainly not adverse to conflict or to speaking my mind, I generally don't push the boundaries of morally accepted speech (though yes, there have been exceptions.)

I'm not a big fan of South Park, in part because they go beyond what I find acceptable speech and behavior. I get WHY they do it, and I do think the goal is admirable, but to me the ends don't justify those means.

I wouldn't've posted your Jesus-birthin' bunny for Easter. I'm not crazy about some of the ad hom about whazzizname that ends up on AmNi, either. (Because I am possessed of lesser angels--and perhaps a few devils, as well--I do get a vicarious thrill from some of what you folks post, but my beliefs and way of lookin' at the world prohibits me from saying those kinda things myself.)

I'm not trying to come off "holier-than-thou,"--though I suspect that that's how this reads, anyway. I'm not saying that it's always wrong to push the envelope of acceptable speech; but in this case, given who I am (or am striving to be, anyway, it's wrong for me. It's not that I don't want to knowingly offend Muslims in particular... It's that I try not to knowingly offend any group. If I'm in a discussion/debate with a person whose beliefs say you shouldn't speak the name of G-d, I'll avoid doing so, whether his beliefs require it of me or not. When I invite a vegetarian to dinner, I try to serve a vegetarian meal...for the whole table. (Admittedly, this depends... When I invite a vegetarian to a backyard grillin', I'll make sure there's plenty of food for 'em, and when I can, a grill just for cookin' up the non-meat portions, too--keeps the meaty contamination to a minimum, AND leaves more room for the steaks and ribs on the "meat" grill, as well--but they're just going to have to cope with some consumption of the flesh in their presence.)

Fat atheist malaysian gay dude (or whoever it is we nihilists are supposed to be worshiping, according to Tubby) help me for saying this, but I think Althouse and her readers have pretty good discussion of some of the issues surrounding Drawing Mohammed--both for and against-- in these two posts and their comment sections.
Althouse: "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" is not a good idea.
Althouse: "Our reflexive response to 'Everybody Draw Mohammad Day'... was sympathetic. But Althouse prompted us to reconsider"

Bottom line is, I think that both sides of the debate has a lot of merit, and whether or not to participate and why comes down to an individual decision, based on whatever moral/ethical/religious/political criteria one finds most persuasive. Except in cases where I think a person has shown a clear case of bigotry against Muslims in general (or for Muslims, and bigoted against everyone who isn't of that faith), I have no beef with the decisions folks make, even the ones who make a different decision than I have. (And for the record, Thundercock, that ain't you.)

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