September 16th, 2012

  • ddstory

Either speak only good, or nothing at all

Why is the figure of the prophet Muhammad who lived in the 7th century still so important and why does his life define the life of Muslims throughout the world in the 21st century to such an extent? And why are they so sensitive to everything that's even remotely related to him? Many of us might've asked themselves these questions.

First off, the followers of the prophet don't call themselves Muhammedans, they call themselves Muslims. And that's because Muhammad is not a god but just a prophet - one among many. And still, to every act that they interpret as an insult to Muhammad, they react in a way that many people from other religions would deem unacceptable, even if their own religious feelings do get hurt occasionally.

There's a huge set of examples for this - from The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie to the outcry about the Muhammad cartoons, to the Pakistani law against blasphemy, which is practically used for persecuting religious minorities. The recent attacks on the US embassy in Cairo, the assassination of the US ambassador in Libya and the protests and flag burning throughout the Muslim world are examples of such reactions on a massive scale. Because here we're not talking of Muhammad the historic person, but rather his image that the people of the Muslim faith have created for themselves.

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Chinese Mobs Vs Japan! Fight!

Angry protesters have staged sometimes violent anti-Japanese demonstrations in cities across China, amid escalating tensions over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

In Beijing, protesters threw stones and bottles and tried to breach a barricade manned by riot police.

There were reports of protests in at least 11 other cities.

I think the BBC is downplaying just how bad the situation is. Japanese sources (unsurprisingly) have been more willing to show Chinese mobs going on looting sprees. Such as here:  Though to be fair looting department stores seems more like the Chinese taking cues from the British of a few years ago by taking political protests as a chance to smash and steal things.

On the other hand, setting Japanese factories on fire and attacking Japanese people on the street seems to be just good old fashioned nationalistic hate. Of course it's worth nothing that the Chinese government is being remarkably slow to roll out the tanks. And some cynical souls have even suggested they're not doing that to give the public someone to vent their anger on besides the government in the face of upcoming elections. Elections where I'm sure China's dispute with Japan won't be mentioned at all.

So there you go, folks. The Chinese government is happy to stand by and let people riot and loot in the streets just to make an election easier. And you thought attack ads were bad.

  • paft

Rick Santorum Sez "Down with Smart People!"

Rick Santorum: We will never have the elite, smart people on our side, because they believe they should have the power to tell you what to do.

See, the problem with smart people is they know stuff, and they use that knowledge unfairly. Like, when some smartass hears Liz Cheney saying of President Obama (Sorry. Can't embed because Live Journal won't allow me to):

He’s abandoned some of our key allies, like Israel, Poland Czechoslovakia…

…the smaratass is going to say, “Hey, waittaminute. Czechoslovakia hasn’t existed since 1992! What else is Liz Cheney getting wrong?"

That’s the problem with smartasses who know stuff. Sure, a few people can handle it, but most of the time they just can’t stop. Next thing you know, the smartass will escalate to actually listening to and reading the speeches Cheney is talking about. And then he’ll be back again, saying “waitaminute…”

When they do that enough, they start saying things like, “Hey, maybe people who know stuff should be running things!” Which is just wrong. People who know stuff need to understand their place and not get uppity like that.

This is also why public schools are bad. A lot of times the teachers in those schools are smart people, and you just can’t trust them not to try to make their students smart too. They're like homos. Always trying to recruit.

Would you want your kids to be smart? Would you want them to marry smart people? Have smart children?

If not, remember -- Santorum in 2016!
Look on my work ye mighty and despair

Freedom of Speech and freedom to respond to speech:

People labor under three common misconceptions of freedom of speech:

1) The freedom to speak means that the words have an associated mandate for others to listen to them and to respect these words simply due to their being spoken. This, to put it bluntly, is nonsense. It always has been, and it will always be. There is certainly freedom to say that Muhammad was a genocidal warlord or that Jesus was a charlatan with delusions of grandeur, but there is likewise the freedom on the part of others to criticize and to ignore such statements. Freedom to speak, thus, is no mandate or obligation, on the part of others to listen to that speech.

2) The freedom to speak has no equivalent protection for those who speak for the consequences of their words. If a Neo-Nazi wades into a gathering of extremist Israeli movements and starts shouting "Opa war recht" he has himself to blame for grabbing the tiger's tail. If a KKK type goes into a New Black Panther movement and gives a Theodore Bilbo-style speech knowing that the people there have guns and/or clubs, he's himself to blame when he gets what he wanted. The acts are crimes and should be prosecuted, yes, absolutely. There is all the same no obligation on the part of anyone to save people from what they get when they decide to deliberately taunt homicidal maniacs and then it turns out that well, pissing off murderous extremists might just be a bad idea.

3) The freedom to say certain things is neither handwave for the things said nor an obligation that everything said is good simply because there is freedom to say it. There are any number of offensive, evil, vile things out there that are said and made. There are films that sexualize real rapes for the titilattion of mass viewings, there are photographs of genocides, lynchings, there are films that are cinematic masterpieces and great changes in the art of film-making but in content are some of the vilest and most disgusting films ever made. There are books that advocate any number of vile, wretched, evil ideas and there are also such fanatical and disgusting testaments to the past generations such as this one:

Heaven brings forth innumerable things to help man.
Man has nothing with which to recompense Heaven.
Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill.

Was and is there freedom to say such things? Yes. They are, however, still disgusting and morally repugnant all the same. Freedom carries with it responsibilities, but freedom also is no absolvement of moral judgment. While freedom of speech may and does necessitate the right to say certain things or to make certain films, it is not in itself a reason to support either as sentiments or entertainment, so-called.