Thursday, April 29, 2010

Heads Will Roll

--She wants a head

"Off with his head!" she said, without even looking round
"I'll fetch the executioner myself," said the King eagerly,

and he hurried off

--Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Lewis Carroll

Something is not quite right here.

The Comedy Central, distributor of cartoon show South Park, has caved to a threat from an online Muslim group and removed all references to Mohamed from the South Park program (past and current). For those who don't know South Park, it is a show which reveres no sacred cows -- no religion, race, sex or creed is sacrosanct. Everyone gets a pie in the face. Except, not Mohamed.

There have been rows in the past. Isaac Hayes, a recurring character ("Chef"), left when Scientology was sent up. Writer Matt Stone said,
"[We] never heard a peep out of Isaac in any way until we did Scientology. He wants a different standard for religions other than his own, and to me, that is where intolerance and bigotry begin."

Scientology jokes stayed; Mr. Hayes left.

NYT columnist Ross Douthat commented Sunday:

"[South Park's muzzling] is a reminder that Islam is just about the only place where we draw any lines at all.

"... Our culture has few taboos that can’t be violated, and our establishment has largely given up on setting standards in the first place.

"Except where Islam is concerned. There, the standards are established under threat of violence, and accepted out of a mix of self-preservation and self-loathing.

"This is what decadence looks like: a frantic coarseness that bravely trashes its own values and traditions, and then knuckles under swiftly to totalitarianism and brute force.

"Happily, today’s would-be totalitarians are probably too marginal to take full advantage. This isn’t Weimar Germany, and Islam’s radical fringe is still a fringe, rather than an existential enemy.

"For that, we should be grateful. Because if a violent fringe is capable of inspiring so much cowardice and self-censorship, it suggests that there’s enough rot in our institutions that a stronger foe might be able to bring them crashing down (
Not Even in South Park.)"

So while our soldiers are fighting for Muslim countries to ostensibly gain a measure of freedom, we are self-censoring at the death threats emanating from some members of the Muslim community in our own country. This I don't understand.

Meanwhile, National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones (retd.) recently headed off a talk on the Mideast Peace Process with a joke about Jewish merchants (General Jones Makes a Jewish Joke.)

Yes, the joke is an old Catskills one, and in other contexts, might be funny. But this was told by a Christian General addressing a somber meeting -- a joke which disparages greedy Jewish merchants, one of the parties which he came to discuss.

For parity's sake, why were there no Hadji jokes? Off with his head, if he tried that one.

What's wrong with this picture?

[Cross-posted at MilPub]

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Blogger rogue trader said...

You know I think the first time two monkeys were fighting over a banana God should have called a time out, given them a swat upside the head broke the banana in half and said "That's how you do it - don't make me come back down here again." Genesis 1:27 - So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. There's the whole free will thing. Along with that goes taking responsibility for one's decisions and actions. In short if you broke the cookie jar don't blame it on your brother. If your God is so thin skinned he can't take some criticism -I'm not sure what that says about his creations.

Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 1:15:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could be that the South Park writers are imagining some kind of fatwa being issued and there being a very real probability of ending up dead.

The SP people are just a bunch of jokers, they're not hard core revolutionaries. I'm sure they don't relish the idea of "Allah Allahu Akabar!" being the last thing they hear on earth and that happening while still in their prime.

Chalk one up for terrorist tactics.


Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 5:59:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


The S.P. writers, Parker and Stone, didn't cave; the production company, Comedy Central, did.

Parker and Stone don't have to be revolutionaries -- they're just citizens who push the envelope every week. The vulgarity is not my cup of tea, but as Evelyn Hall said, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

I have to respect what they do. In 1986, Stone said of defecting actor Isaac Hayes (who left due to Scientology jabs):

"[Isaac] has no problem – and he's cashed plenty of checks – with our show making fun of Christians, Muslims, Mormons or Jews."

See, there's the problem. In a free society, everyone can get a jab, or no one does. That's not what we have going on.

Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 6:12:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger saveus said...

What if they heard "Klaatu Barada Niktu" instead?

P.S. Isn't it Akbar?
PPSSS: Lisa, 1986?

Friday, April 30, 2010 at 11:26:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Klaatu? 1986?

Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 10:25:00 AM GMT-5  

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