03 May 2010

Death to garfield!

I think Maher, like Hitchens, has a tendency to overshoot the level of condemnation involved and needed directed at average Muslims versus radicals like the Taliban or Al Qaeda (who are Islam's more extreme answer to the Young Earth Biblical Creationists who built a "museum" a few miles from my home or the Pat Robertsons who blame every natural disaster on gay people or the exposed flesh of young women...), but a lot of this was quite true. Free expression and freedom of conscience are part of the essential bedrock of our society. If you don't want to see or depict your holy figures, don't do it or don't watch people who are. We have no social and legal protections against being offended if you do turn on the TV or pick up the paper and see something you don't like. What we do is write in and complain back. Maybe protest or sue (if you can come up with a grounds to sue, libel for instance). Violence and threats of danger and assault accomplish little. Except to establish grounds for arrest or restraining orders.

And maybe, just maybe, to continue to feed the fears and annoyances of people who are doing these terrible things like disrespecting your metaphysical belief structure such that they will continue doing so without engaging you directly in conversations to learn about and perhaps learn to respect your traditions in some regard.
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