Sunday, April 25, 2010

Picturing Muhammad - Is it ethical to potentially offend innocent people to make a point about guilty ones?

In reply to: INSTAPUTZ: In which Ann Althouse makes sense.

I have to agree with you and Althouse (Did I really just write that?)

The distinction between "the right to do a thing" vs "the morality (or in some cases, intelligence) of doing it" gets lost on some people... (The recent gun protests come to mind... Sure, you have the right... But is it wise?)

I just hope that at least some of the folks who're signing on to this thing are ignorant of the fact that visual depictions of Muhammad are offensive to a whole lotta Muslims (and not just fundamentalist/extremist Muslims, but moderate ones, as well), and that they care enough to rethink their participation on those grounds, once they become aware of that. (I don't blame anyone for not knowing... Until very recently, I didn't, either...)

It's not that one can't be intentionally provocative or even offensive in protesting/making one's point... (I'm currently in hot water (well, room-temperature, anyway) for using Rush Limbaugh's term "halfrican" to needle a certain biracial neocon blowhard in the wingnuttysphere, and, while he did react pretty much exactly as I suspected--repeatedly denouncing me as a racist while simultaneously excusing Rush for the very same offense--I don't feel good about sinking to that level of discourse just to make that rhetorical point.)

The question (which I think each person needs to answer for him/herself) is whether or not it's ethically worth potentially offending innocent people to make a point about the actions of the guilty. Sometimes I believe it is, but I don't think this is one of those times... ...though I confess that the idea did appeal to me at first glance.

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