Location: St. Vincent & Grenadines

You were driving home in the dark on one glass-slippered heel, window sliced open and bathing in the snowliquor of the night air. We heard you singing, and couldn't bear to wake you.

22 February 2006

Krishna, we're going to need wood for a mold!

"They want to know whether Muslims are extremists or not. Death to them and to their newspapers."

It's a cartoon! A cartoon!

Is it just me, or does this whole Muhammad cartoon apoplexy smell more than a little of the whole "war against Christmas" crap?

To wit, a trumped-up straw man raised aloft by religious power brokers and eagerly torched by masses of devout, reactionary plebes. Further confirmation of the dangers of absolute faith.

Might it be relevant at this point to point out that the creators of South Park aired an episode about five years ago featuring the Super Best Friends League of Crime-Fighting Religious Icons, which included Mohammed, "the Muslim prophet with the powers of flame" -- visually represented and everything -- and no one got killed by angry mobs?

Might that not suggest that the current reaction to a not-very-sophisticated form of satire has less to do with the blasphemy itself than with the agenda of a few opportunistic imams?

Fucking tribalism. Fucking us versus them. Fucking football games. Fucking white hats and black hats. Fucking with-us-or-against-us bullshit. Is this not the oldest, tiredest, tritest, saddest, most ignorant crap ever? Is this not the same old stupid fucking rerun of history?

Dude. Seriously. Enough with God. Enough with Allah. It's a bunch of stories. We are all people, here on this tremendously unlikely planet spinning through endless cold space, telling each other stories around the campfire to take our minds off the eternity all around us. The thing is, the eternity will still be there regardless of what stories we tell. The stories aren't going to affect anything except our own experience. So why not acknowledge that fact, embrace it, and tell the best stories we can while the fire is still burning?


Blogger Jemaleddin said...

So you'd call what the (crazy!) muslim leaders are doing a publicity stunt? That's what I think of publishing the cartoons in the first place! I just hope that the next time the editors at Jyllards Posten decide they need some attention they'll film themselves playing pinata in a locked room with a literal wasp nest.

4:54 AM  
Blogger Slimbolala said...

"Fucking football games?" "Fucking football games?" You dare to blaspheme the holiest of holy games? A fatwa! A fatwa against Mr. Felix Helix! We will use your head as a football! We will play four standard length quarters with it and punt it through the upright goalposts! You will rue the day you blasphemed the mother sport!

Not really.

6:50 AM  
Anonymous Felix Helix said...

Um, yes, I mean no, right, of course.

Naturally, I was referring not to red-blooded American football, the noblest of gentlemanly pastimes, but to degenerate rest-of-the-world football. The kind with the ball that you, um, actually kick with your foot during play. The kind that . . . um . . . inspires stadiums full of hooligans to . . . uh . . . riot and . . . crush people to death for no reason . . .

I mean, I was referring to foosball games. Stupid fucking foosball. With those old, tired, trite, sad, ignorant little plastic men spinning around and around in a pathetic attempt to ward off the awareness of mortality. DAMN THEM. DAMN THEM ALL TO HELL!

7:57 AM  
Anonymous Felix Helix said...

And Jemal: publicity stunt? Publishing a controversial cartoon is a publicity stunt? If you mean that Jyllands-Posten was trying to sell newspapers, then I agree with you. Media that doesn't create publicity of some kind tends not to last very long. I don't know about "stunt", though. Is it a stunt to publish Doonesbury?

I'm not defending the cartoon itself, partly because I don't understand Danish (mmm, Danish) and mostly because, from what I gather (and as I said in my post), the cartoon was rather unsophisticated in its satirical approach -- and quite possibly also whatever the religion-oriented equivalent of "racist" is -- but I am absolutely defending the right of the cartoon to be drawn and published and republished.

So it's offensive. So fucking what? Nothing about it impedes the ability of anyone to believe anything they choose. Killing people does.

At the risk of stating the stupefyingly obvious.

8:06 AM  
Anonymous Reverend H. L. Spork said...

Are you Proposing, Mr. Helix, we fuck Allah in the ear?

11:01 PM  
Anonymous FREDERIKA said...


11:12 AM  
Anonymous Felix Helix said...

Rev: I wasn't proposing (or Proposing) anything of the kind, but now that you mention it . . . that would be kinda kinky. Especially the "we" part. DP in Allah's ear! Woo hoo!

I have to hope He's got big ears. And that they're well waxed.

And Freddie: I dare because I'M A REBEL, BABAY!

11:44 AM  
Blogger Wesley said...

Imam-a mia!

7:19 PM  
Anonymous Reverend H.L. Spork said...

Foosball bites. Foosball is the weak-ass little sibling to the true glorious game, air hockey!

Fuck that weak-ass foosball shit.

10:26 PM  
Anonymous Frederika said...

You sound very defensive, Reverend. Perhaps you are jealous of the simple glory that is foosball. We foosies (unlike you air-heads) are not dependent on that new-fangled abomination, electricity. We are pure of heart and spirit; we go to the essence that is the Foos.

I beg you to rethink your inferior ways. And remember, I like you, even though you are flawed. I am open-hearted that way.

7:50 AM  
Blogger Jemaleddin said...

Late returning, but: Felix, they didn't publish one cartoon, they commissioned 12 cartoons because they had read that it would deeply offend muslims if they published likenesses of the prophet (the Peace and the Prayer be upon him*). Did I mention that Denmark has a large population of first generation arabs and other muslims? Yeah, I'd call that a stunt. Heck, check out the last of the cartoons on this page - the one with the words "PR Stunt". What's truly sad is how tame the cartoons are by our standards. But it turns out that Muslims have these things called "deeply held beliefs" or something.

And no, this isn't like running Doonesbury. It's like running a cartoon that depicts the reason that Jesus needed 12 disciples: that's how many men it took to satisfy him! And the reason they called Peter "the rock"? Oh, I think you know! (I sure wish somebody would draw that and submit it to a newspaper - I'm sure there wouldn't be any uproar here in America.) We're not talking about offending some people in the service of a higher nobler cause. We're not talking about making a point through humor or shocking imagery. We're talking about Howard Stern having Marilyn Manson on his show convicing a girl to make out with her little brother to get an autograph.

Now here's the thing: I still support the concept of people publishing things merely to offend. I'm perfectly okay with it. "Piss Christ"? Doesn't bother me a bit. But I also think that doing something like this is foolish, hurtful, and rude. And I don't think any of us would have heard of Jyllards Posten otherwise. Do you?

* I always wondered why parents would choose to name their child Mohammed (the Peace and the Prayer be upon him) if you're supposed to say "The Peace and the Prayer be upon him" every time you mention Mohammed (the Peace and the Prayer be upon him). I can't imagine yelling at my kids that way: "Mohammed, the Peace and the Prayer be upon him. clean up this mess!" "Mohammed, the Peace and the Prayer be upon him, keep it down in here!"

4:42 AM  
Blogger Felix Helix said...

Foolish, hurtful, rude: all such things may indeed be true about the cartoons, about the people who drew and published and republished them. Yes, all of that matters. At the same time, it doesn't matter at all because if your "deeply held beliefs" can't withstand mockery from people who think you're an idiot, then your God is a lame little crybaby and so, my friend, are you.

People get to feel and say and write and draw and express ANYTHING THEY WANT. That is the bottom line. You mess with that bottom line, you're messing with me, because I've got that bottom line's back and I'm going to defend it with my life.

The flipside is that people don't get to harm each other. That is also the bottom line. No matter how mad someone else's words make you feel, it's never okay to hit them: first rule of the playground.

It doesn't make sense to attack words, images and ideas with physical force. You're not responding to the argument at hand. If someone's ideas offend you, killing that person accomplishes nothing: the ideas still exist. What have you proved -- that the idea was incorrect because the person who had it was physically weak? How does that make sense?

If you don't like someone's form of expression, you counter it with another form of expression. You demonstrate an alternative point of view. If your ideas are more persuasive, you win people to your cause. If not -- if you kill people needlessly -- then you make needless enemies, and eventually they will take you down.

That is why the Islamic fundamentalists in Europe, Africa and the Middle East are in such trouble. That is why the United States is in trouble. These people are all too fucking weak to fight ideas with ideas.

7:27 PM  
Blogger Jemaleddin said...

Hey, I don't disagree with you on any of that (except how many bottom lines you've got - you might want to have your bottom looked at).

I just think that people are only approaching this issue from one perspective: Muslims are crazy and Jyllards Posten is some kind of brave Freedom of Speech crusader. And I think the truth is closer to: Fundamentalists are crazy and JP thought it would be cool to stir them up and raise their circulation. Controversy for controversy's sake doesn't do much for me. And picking shit with people that you know are crazy is just beyond stupid.

I'd also like to point out that making fun of Mohammed isn't some kind of "alternate point of view" or high-minded "form of expression". It's like calling somebody's mama a fat ugly whore. Sure it's protected speach - hell, it may even be true - but when they're kicking your ass, I'll probably be a little slower pulling them off of you. You know?

6:15 AM  
Blogger Felix Helix said...

It's good to have more than one bottom line. Makes for a more structurally secure foundation.

Controversy for its own sake doesn't do much for me, either; most anything involving the personal lives of celebrities falls into that category. But this isn't just sensationalism; it's the expression of an unpopular opinion. "Picking shit with people that you know are crazy" is one way of looking at it; "refusing to let crazy people dictate the boundaries of your self-expression" is another.

Whether your alternative point of view/form of expression is high-minded or mean-spirited may have a bearing on the direction of the conversation that follows -- meanness tends to inspire meanness -- but it bears no responsibility for the ACTION that follows.

"My mama is a fat ugly whore? Well, that's your opinion and you're entitled to it. I see things differently."

If you can't say that, you need a time-out.

1:13 PM  

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