Friday, September 14, 2012

Muhammad Movie Trailer Madness

As you may have heard, another bit of Western satire has irked Muslims the world round. Lots of people are absolutely inflamed over the disrespect to the prophet Mohammad and of course the various pundits are either supportive of the free speech exercised by the film-maker or horrified at this rather oafish display of cultural insensitivity.

Before we go any further, it might be a good idea to actually watch it:

I'll admit that I go into this with a couple of assumptions under my belt. First, I am firmly behind the free speech rights of whoever created this video - whatever it contains, no matter how vulgar, it is permissible. It is permissible because of my second assumption, which is that freedom of speech is only truly exercised when the speech is controversial. This is the value of the whole concept: to protect the ideological fringe from the desires of the majority or the powerful.  Sometimes you will agree with ts fringe and sometimes you will not, but if you ever find yourself with controversial ideas, you should hope that society on average doesn't look to their personal values to decide whether they will allow you to pipe up. This is the primary reason as to why we can not make a habit of caving to international outrage  over cartoons, movies or books.

Another thing to keep in mind is that we are actually fairly agnostic, so to speak, about which religions are ridiculed on YouTube. Take for instance the channel called ebolaworld, which. Has a regular series titled "Unbelievably Messed-Up Bible Stories." The series uses many of the same techniques to ridicule bible stories such as Job, Noah's Ark, Jacob and Esau and so on. In both the recent Mohammad video and those put out by ebolaworld, various important religious figures are portrayed as oafish, deviantly sexual and violent in an attempt to ridicule the religious beliefs many hold dear. I suggest that religious people the world round trust in their God's to handle the personal offense as he or she sees fit.

Perhaps the most amusing aspect of the whole issue, however, is how the video gives such an easy free pass to Joshua, the viciously militant Judeo-Christian leader of the Israelites. Watch for it, right in the middle of the video dedicated to ridiculing the deplorable actions of Muhammad the warlord, they have the gall to justify Joshua's pillaging of Palestine and murdering and or rape of thousands of women and children as acceptable because God warned them for 450 years and didn't ask them to convert to Judaism. To any reasonable person, that is no excuse. I consider both prophets to be equivalent.

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