I loved the concept of Everybody Draw Mohammed Day: stick a thumb in the eye of the cowardly suits at Comedy Central, Yale University Press and elsewhere who backed down in the face of thuggish threats and betrayed the cause of free expression through self-censorship.Â Do it in a way that thoroughly dilutes the target pool, creating more Mohammed-depicters than there are jihadis.Â Fight back against jihadism (the term I think I may start using in place of “Islamic fascism“) in a truly non-violent way.
But I have to say I’m appalled by the vulgarity and obscenity of many of the images I’ve run across today. Predictable, I suppose, but I failed to predict it.Â No, I’m not going to link to them, you can find your own if you want.Â I’m talking about the hundreds of graphic depictions of bestiality, pedophilia and rape.Â (Yes, I know that Mohammed allegedly consummated his “marriage” to Aisha when she was nine or 10 years old, and I agree that it’s quite reasonable to label that “pedophilia.”Â But I still don’t want to look at a picture of it.)
But I do like Reason‘s selection of winners for its “EDMD” contest, precisely because they avoid such crudity.Â Their grand prize winner is above; clicking it will take you to their writeup, where they note:
The single most important element â€“ and the thing that ties these selections together [the winning image above and two runners-up] â€“ is that each image forces the viewer to do two things.
First, they consciously call into question the nature of representation, no small matter in fights over whether it is allowed under Islamic law to depict Mohammed (for the historical record, there is no question that the idea that is always wrong is only of recent vintage; there is a long history of sacred and superficial images of the Prophet)….
Second, each of the images forces the viewer to actively participate not simply in the creation of meaning but of actually constructing the image itself. This is clearest in our grand prize winner … which pushes iman and infidel alike to do the work that would condemn them to death under the most extreme reading of injunctions against representing Mohammed.
There is a deeper lesson here: Connect the dots and discover that we all must be Spartacus on Everybody Draw Mohammad Day. And that in a free society, every day is Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.
I have one quibble with the contest at Reason — they seem to have cropped out a couple of essential dots.Â If you enlarge the image, print it out and connect the dots, as I have done in the second image (yes, maybe I need a hobby), you’ll find that dots No. 31 and 32 are missing.Â Since they’re at the bottom of the image, they presumably would establish Mohammed’s beard — without which he looks more like Sonic the Hedgehog.
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I think that whatever we do in the name of an idea or standard is emblematic of how we honor the idea or standard. For example, I don't think we honor the Constitution by using it to poke a finger in the eye of the downtrodden or to promote corporations, largely unknown in Revolutionary times, in the name of free speech, when it is actually a further empowerment of the already disproportionately and inanimately enpowered.
Oh, yes, my point: I don't think poking a finger in the eye of even a new Muslim tradition is a good thing, but neither is the promise of jihad to anyone who does. It doesn't honor traditional American respect of cultural traditions. And jihad doesn't honor the tradition of Muslim intellectual freedom, innovation, and peace.
Anyway, this seems more emblematic of the distribution of the fear, or the risk, from doing it. Sadly, it probably doesn't have any effect on the desire of Islam to punish our citizens in New York, etc. Neither does having or not having a trial there, a favorite whipping boy of Dundervatives.
Perhaps we will more likely get to the goal of getting some peace from the jihad door that was opened in 1991 by understanding their base needs, which is likely to not have boots on the ground in their world.
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"Dundervatives"? How clever. Here's an overview of my views on one of my favorite whipping boys:http://blog.kirkpetersen.net/2010/01/how-is-the-k…
And there IS NO "tradition of Muslim intellectual freedom, innovation, and peace." Here are some thoughts on that:http://blog.kirkpetersen.net/2010/05/my-hero-ayaa…
Hey, I followed your links and enjoyed the banter. Your second is on an Islamic writer's opinion of jihadi death threats but was not on Islamic virtue. The first is on your opinion that the trials should be held in Guantanamo, and you feel that this is what they deserve.
There is nothing special about Guantanamo or about prisons. If you followed the Supremes and the decision about rights for the detainees there, you realize that the Bushies were using it to justify indefinite detention for detainees by claiming that it wasn't under American control. And the Supremes threw it out because it obviously wasn't possible to have an American prison not under American control.
Where they are imprisoned or tried doesn't matter except for people who think that there will be some extra punishment exacted for having to exist on Guantanamo (it won't) or that it will marginally endanger us by having trials in a population center (it won't, the danger spots and continuing attacks won't/haven't changed) American justice in itself wherever it is enacted is really a beautiful though maybe not a sufficient thing. But Guantanamo and diversion unfavorably affected the world's perception of Amercian justice for a decade and the tradeoff is not worth it if you hope the world will favorably recognize American values. Best