Wednesday, April 26, 2006

At what point do we get to say "Who cares?"

Over at Gilliard's blog I stumbled upon another story in the same vein as the Danish Cartoon controversy - sort of.

Faculty members and administrators at Nova Southeastern University, in Davie, Fla., got more than they bargained for when they invited author Salman Rushdie to give this year’s commencement speech at the Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences on May 7. They got controversy. Some student members of the International Muslim Association are protesting the invitation, presumably because they agree with those who regard Mr. Rushdie’s 1988 novel “The Satanic Verses” as a blasphemy against Islam and the Prophet Mohammed. (It’s the Danish cartoons all over again, only this time with an additional twist provided by the literary quality of the offending document.)

Like usual, Gilliard does a rational, intelligent analysis of the facts and explains how this situation is not like cartoon issue.

This isn't the same as the Danish cartoons for a couple of reasons. The first was that Rushie's "crime" was offending the Iranians, who had no possible justification to punish the British subject.

The cartoons was a direct insult from Danes to other Danes of another religion. It was designed to denigrate them. Most American papers treated them a culturally offensive and wouldn't run them, as they wouldn't for any other religion

Rushdie was not denigrating Islam. Also, no one sent hit teams to kill the cartoonists, most people simply protested, some rioted and died. Rushie's life was in real, verifiable danger and most importantly, state sanctioned. That is a world of difference than some ginned up mobs. The Iranian state wanted him dead, a person they had no control or contact over. It's called terrorism.

To think in 2006, people could be offended by him speaking is sad. But so what. Don't fucking go.

His partner Jen makes some typically ridiculous statements based on her typical knee-jerk reaction to what she refers to as "extremists" but what she actually means to say is "Muslims" (despite her ridiculous protests to the contrary).

Gilly, you have it wrong. The SAME sorts of people with the SAME interests and SAME insane sense of intolerance called for (and where necessary fabricated the materials) for both the Danish riots and the fatwah against Rushdie.

You can't pander to extremists, period.

. . .

I'll say it again: If your religion preaches the destruction of nonbelievers and nontheocratic systems of government, please stay the fuck out of Western civilization. Strawmen to the contrary be damned.

As of yet I've never heard her comment on, let alone get hysterical on every mention of, war criminals like Ariel Sharon, George Bush and countless other radicals that are born and bred in "Western civilization" but I'll leave it to you to decide what she really means when she criticizes "extremists."

But here's the real problem. So some students don't want to hear Rushdie because they believe he insulted their religion? So fucking what? That doesn't make them radicals. In my opinion they are stupid and should stay in school longer, but I think that about many religious people (though not most). But that doesn't make them radicals or terrorists or even a threat to democracy or free speech. Every time someone gets upset about something, there doesn't need to be news articles and blog posts and hand wringing and expletive laced comments made about it.

You think they shouldn't care about who speaks at their graduation? Fine, but I know I sure as hell wouldn't go to my graduation if Ann Coulter had been the key note speaker and she's an author too. Hell, George Bush was the keynote at Ohio State a couple of years ago and if I graduated that quarter I wouldn't have gone because of him either. That doesn't make me a radical or a hater of free speech, it just means I don't want to listen to someone I think is an asshole speak for an hour on a day I'm supposed to enjoy. Yeah the students may have "protested" the choice a little (there were no riots that I'm aware of) but they should be able to do that too, even if you think that makes them assholes. Lots of people protest stuff and look like assholes - that doesn't mean they shouldn't do it. Here's what people shouldn't do - they shouldn't pretend their not bigots when it's pretty obvious to anyone who can read critically that they are. Jen, you're a bigot just like Charlesmalkinschlusseljohnson and just because you hitch yourself to a liberal blog written by a black man doesn't mean you're not.

No comments: