Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Church Groups Complain of Cartoon Viloence!

Ok: here’s one of those statements that will come back to haunt me when I run for president: sometimes I just want to turn the whole place into a sea of glass. By that I mean the middle east. Forget the oil, forget the people, forget the problems and just nuke the place from one end to another. Of course it’s ridiculous, inhuman, genocidal (though I would point out that the wrath of me would fall equally upon Jew, Christian, Muslim and everybody else) sometimes I just want to throw up my hands and say enough is enough.

I’m talking at the moment about the cartoon brouhaha. Since this is a media criticism page, I should certainly talk about the cartoon brouhaha. My support of freedom of speech is absolute. If you want to show a cartoon of Jesus taking it up the butt from Sadaam Husein, that’s your right. And people who try to silence those who would speak—who would intimidate them, bully them, shout them down, censor them, jail them, kill them, or outlaw them, are all the same to me. When I see violent street protests erupt over cartoons, embassies burned, people killed, my first reaction is to say “these people aren’t worth helping. They are not worth our effort and they are certainly not worth our soldier’s lives.”

But I could just as easily have been talking about Israel building more settlements in the West bank, occupying a sovereign state and ignoring U.N. resolutions, or Iran restarting its Nuclear program, or Saudi Arabia beheading blasphemers. It is a totally dysfunctional part of the world.

Ok. Hanna had another idea. Instead of turning the whole place into a sea of glass, let’s just destroy all the holy sites in Jerusalem—blow up the wailing wall, knock down the dome of the rock, bulldoze Calvary, clear out the old city and level it. Then if they still want to fight over the place let ‘em.

Probably wouldn’t work either.

Of course it’s just frustration. Of course we need to work together to find a solution. But how can you have a dialogue with people who are totally unreasonable? And I mean both sides here. There is simply no way.

For the first time in my life (and hopefully the last) I agreed with George Will about something other then baseball. On “This Week” this week, he said that before they can be expected to have a functioning democracy Muslims have to give up their perceived right to take offense at what they consider blasphemy. These riots are not isolated incidents, as he points out. They also include the assignation of Theo Van Gogh and the famous fatwa against Salman Rushdie. Will implied that we cannot accept as democratic partners people who have no respect for fundamental principals such as freedom of speech. And I agree.

Sam Donaldson, typically, acted as the weak-spined equivocator, in one breath condemning the violence and then in the next condemning the newspaper for running the cartoons in the first place. I am never really embarrassed to be a liberal, but I am sometimes embarrassed when certain liberal commentators open their mouths. It’s much the same way my mother feels whenever bill O’Reiley says anything. I don’t like the term “political correctness,” because usually it denigrates well thought out and sincere beliefs by implying that they are merely trendy. But that’s the only thing I can come up with to describe Donaldson’s rather stupid position.


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