Sunday, February 12, 2006

On the Cartoons: Communication, Criticism, Complaints, Conflict, Caring, Caricature, Caution, Contempt and Consequences.

This whole claptrap about the cartoons is starting to annoy to me.

My job here--the one I appointed myself to when I took on the name of Copernicus--is not to tell the other guy how to improve. Rather, it's to criticize me and mine. It's to take part in the protest against ourselves.

Of course, in saying that, I am going to have to momentarily buy into this "us versus them" mentality. Just for today--for the sake of this post--"us" means us westerners. Us secularists. Us who come from Europe and North America. Us, who are sophisticated. Us, who defend freedom, and democracy, and rights.

And "them", just for now, means them Islamic folk. You know. Them. Over there. Them religious fanatics. Them ignorant ones. Them people what can't take a joke. Them people with backwards thinking. Them people--many of whom seem awful prone to extremism and terrorism.

Now, I know that my definitions sound pretty prejudiced. But I think it just makes sense to start by getting our prejudices out in the open, right here, right now. Why should we be bottling up our prejudices all the time? We all got 'em. Why should we be ashamed of 'em? Ain't you just sick and tired of all this politically correctness bullsh*t?

We got free speech, don't we? So, why should we suppress what we think? Don't you see? We don't need to. We don't need to be ashamed of our prejudices. We should revel in them. We got freedom of speech!! In fact, why don't you just go on down to your workplace, or maybe take a walk through your local shopping center, and tell the first Muslim family you see what the patootie you really think about their backward little religion?! Heck, you got a right. You got a right! It's called freedom of speech. So, just get up off yer lard ass and go down there right now and do it, whydoncha? SHOUT IT AT 'EM!!

Now you were probably thinking that freedom of speech is just for people who write stuff, like books and newspaper articles--oh, and cartoons. Kind of like a special license, or something.

Well, no sir. No siree!! It's your right too. Fact is, it ain't just your right. It's your duty. Yesiree! A lot of good men fought and died trying to stop that bastard Hitler, just so you and your kids could have freedom of speech.

Course, if you don't want to stand up for your rights, I understand completely, son. You just go ahead and have a little lie down right there at their feet. Just relax and don't say anything. In fact, don't plan on every saying what you think again.

What, you say you want to defend your rights? You say you want to do what's right? You wanna stand up for free speech? Good boy. Good to have you on board. Fine boy like yourself, and all.

Now, I'll tell you what you gotta do.

See, what you gotta do, boy, is to get right in their faces about what you think. Better yet, give 'em some funny stuff. They need lots of that. A lot of them folks are just too uptight about this whole thing, so you gotta make 'em understand that they just need to loosen up their sense of hawhaw. Y'know all that fundamentalist religious stuff addles their brains. Makes 'em high strung. Pokin' fun at 'em oughtta help.

Get right in their faces. Don't let up.

And if they protest and get all extremist on you, don't you dare back down. And if they come after you and start protesting your actions, why you just gotta act with honor, son. You gotta stick to your guns. You just gotta muster up your grit and just keep shovin' your opinions right back in their uneducated little faces.

Now, I know what you're thinking, boy. I know what you're thinkin'. You're thinking, well what if I have to defend something that somebody says that I don't agree with?

No problem, boy. That ain't no problem at all. See, the issue here is not with whether what anybody says against them folks is right or wrong. It's about their right to say it. See, that's what we mean by freedom of speech. You see, you gotta defend any old crap that anybody says. You see, it don't matter who the devil says what. You just gotta defend it. See, that's your duty. Doesn't matter what their intention was. Doesn't matter if they were just trying to push somebody's buttons. Just do the right thing, and if things go bad for you--well then you're a martyr for a good cause. Freedom. Rights. Wahoo!

OKAY!! OKAY!! Enough of this!!

Copernicus here. I'm back to my old self again.

As I was starting to say, I am getting tired of all this claptrap about those damn cartoons. All I want to say is this:

You wanna communicate, something? Communicate it.
You wanna criticize? Go right ahead.
You got something to complain about? Say it.
You feeling the need to get the conflict out in the open? Fine and dandy.
You need to let somebody know about the things you care about? That's a good thing.
So far, it sounds like you might be acting with respect, and I got your back.

But go any further, and you might want to tread with caution.
Do you feel like mocking somebody today?
Do you feel like a caricature is in order?
Do you feel like treating others with contempt?
Do you feel like crapping on the things others consider holy, just to provoke a reaction?
Well, Mr. Man, hope you thought through the consequences. Maybe what you're doing is going to work. And maybe it ain't. But you better plan on taking good care, 'cause I for one am going to have to take a long think about how much help I feel like providing.

Personally, I love freedom of speech, but I don't always care much for the way some zealots go about defending it.

6 Comments:

Blogger Kelly said...

I concur.

11:51 AM  
Blogger Mr K said...

that was brilliant....

3:02 PM  
Blogger Khorbin said...

Well said. I made a post on this subject as well:

http://khorbin.blogspot.com/2006/02/on-comics-and-freedom-of-speech.html

12:29 AM  
Blogger Lil said...

ehhxcellent!

5:43 AM  
Blogger Hal said...

Copernicus Now, I would like to take issue with you here. Would you say the same thing about Theo van Gogh? He mocked Islam and look what happened to him. Why do you spend so much time admonishing the Western media in your comment? It is not like many of the newspapers are continually mocking Islam. I don't go around mocking other religions and neither do most people. The widespread bad behavior is in the Muslim world on this particular issue.

12:26 PM  
Blogger Copernicus Now said...

Hal,

My responsibility--my self appointed mission--is to try to wake people (myself included) up to take a long hard look at themselves. At our blindspots. At our self-deception. At our own ignorance. At the evil we do in the name of goodness. It's to try to encourage--and admonish--people to reflect first on their own behavior before they run around pointing fingers at "the other guy".

Does that mean I condone the other guy's behavior? No, it doesn't.

When I see evidence that we really are taking that honest hard look at ourselves, then I will be more inclined to listen to complaints about the other guy's "widespread bad behavior".

But we're not there yet.

6:32 PM  

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