Harry’s Place is featuring this funny clip. (We should be so lucky, if you know what I mean)
Sarah AB also draws attention to an article in the Daily Beast by Dean Obeidallah, which sets out to deconstruct the sketch, and tries to make some completely idiotic moral equivalences. He’s not arguing for the violent reaction, but he is trying to rationalise the Muslims’ right to be offended, while asserting that most Muslims are not.
Muslims are not the only ones who get offended, he opines, citing the opera “Klinghoffer”, which he reminds us, upset some Jews who considered it antisemitic. (with good reason)
“The libretto of “Klinghoffer” rationalizes terrorism, denigrates Jews and treats the plight of the Palestinians as morally equivalent to the Holocaust.”
Obviously the opera went ahead; there were no death threats involved and no-one’s freedom of speech was smothered, even though its message was factually deficient and morally obnoxious.
He also brings up Christian groups objecting to a film about a gay Jesus, and an anti-Catholic interpretation of an artwork that depicted the Virgin Mary dotted with elephant dung. Offence was undeniably taken, end of. (as they say on Eastenders)
The writer wishes to be seen to be tolerant of the Picture Perfect sketch whilst accusing Pamela Geller of “demonizing Muslims for a living while masquerading as an advocate for freedom of expression” arguing that the many Muslims who responded to Geller’s antics with a collective yawn were a) in the majority, and b) to be applauded. Sure. Big round of applause for the Muslims who don’t kill cartoonists who depict Mohammed.
Of course, if the majority of Muslims merely responded with a yawn, the murderous minority might feel less motivated, and the taboo on merely ‘drawing’ the prophet Mohammed, let alone ‘insulting Islam’ would probably have less of a life-threatening element to it. So why don’t we get more sketches like that on UK TV?
I suggest that the BBC is so keen to normalise everything ‘Islam’ that they too regard depicting The Prophet Mohammed as justified, or legitimate, or understandable ‘provocation’, therefore doing so must be avoided at all costs.
At the same time they don’t respect the quirks and idiosyncrasies of any other religion, never mind holding back on allowing other religions to be lampooned or ridiculed throughout the entire spectrum of their output.
There is of course a big difference between being deliberately insulting and breaking some religiously-rooted taboo. Steve Bell, the Guardian’s cartoonist is much more insulting than amusing, for example. His antisemitic cartoons are very offensive; I don’t know how many death threats he gets.
The winning cartoon of the ‘Draw Mohammed “ competition didn’t insult Islam in the way Steve Bell insults his targets. It merely drew attention to irony of the taboo from a freedom of speech angle.
As it happens I’d much rather comedy wasn’t based on bias, as in the Klinghoffer opera, and for that matter on the Jeremy Hardy school of pro-Palestinian / Israel-bashing, factually inaccurate cliche and innuendo.
However, if that needs to continue in the name of freedom of speech, I’ll just have to lump it. But adopting the Islamic taboo on depicting their prophet because of a) misguided, selective, muticulturally positive discrimination, or b) plain fear of being killed is quite another matter.