Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A cracking week for Hate

What a fantastic week or so it has been for Hate. In a short space of time we in the UK have been treated to coverage of

No doubt the close-timing of all this material is entirely coincidental.

Given that Denmark’s most acclaimed contributions to world culture have been bacon, super strength lager and hard core pornography, some kind of clash with the Muslim world was arguably inevitable.

And even though no UK newspaper has been stupid enough to reproduce the cartoons we have been caught up in the ‘debate’ over free speech that has ensued.

Free speech?

Since when have we ever had free speech?

There are plenty of subjects our media treats with kid gloves. I have heard the most feeble arguments to justify the hypocrisy of treating the Prophet as fair game whilst treating other subjects as taboos...

The difference between religion and race is that people choose to follow a particular religion. People can’t choose their race

Muslim newspapers also print hateful cartoons

Christians have to put up with parodies of Jesus all the time

None of these arguments stand up to much thought. And I don’t believe for a second that Western newspapers would print cartoons portraying Jesus sodomising choirboys, Coalition soldiers bayoneting Iraqi babies, God laughing at AIDS victims, Anne Frank in bed with Adolph Hitler or any other pointless crap someone looking to promote Hate could come up with

Nor would I want to see them.

"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use." - 19th-century Danish Christian philosopher Soren Kierkegaard

I have heard some mention made of the Golden Rule, as in ‘Treat others as you want to be treated’ in the context of the current debate. I’ve never been a fan of the Golden Rule as it is presupposes that the ‘others’ might enjoy the same kind of treatment that you enjoy. I personally wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of a sexual sadomasochist and his interpretation of the Golden Rule. It is also highly likely that a group of people with devout religious faith are not into the same things as nihilistic atheists. Basically, the Golden Rule goes tits up when confronted by individuals holding completely different world views.

Looking at the cartoons, particularly the two most offensive ones, I immediately thought of the Jewish charactures those famous advocates of free speech and biting satire, the Nazis, published in Die Sturmer (out of print since 1945). I spent a few minutes searching the web for examples of the kind of muck I was thinking about but there isn’t much out there. Not many people choose to host it.

And I’m not that fussed about that. Not at all.

Free speech isn’t the issue here. Basic common sense tells us that absolutely no good will come of saying or doing something hateful just for the sake of Hate

The European newspapers that reprinted those cartoons were making a stand for principles much more important to many Eurotwerps than mere free speech. They were making a stand for such fundamental Eurotwerp values as smugness, ignorance and xenophobia.

I was particularly impressed by Paris Soir’s decision to reprint the offending cartoons only a few weeks after France saw country-wide rioting of a disaffected Muslim underclass.

That’s the French intelligentsia for you - smoother than a baby’s bum.

Some people have been complaining that the British newspapers have been cowardly in not reproducing the cartoons and have suggested that they didn’t print them for fear of violent reprisals.

I’d like to think that our newspapers realised that the majority of their readership aren’t racist dickheads. Not yet anyway. Which is probably why so many migrants, legal and illegal, pass up on the chance to settle in mainland Europe and choose to hide in refrigerated lorries or dangle precariously underneath the Eurostar heading towards England instead.

Another reason why the cartoons weren’t published in the UK is that they weren’t even funny.

Satire is supposed to be funny.

The quality of humour displayed in the cartoons goes some way to explaining why the global demand for Danish sitcoms and French stand-up comedians is as large as it is.

There’s an old saying that ‘There is no such thing as joke’. All humour is derived at someone’s expense. We often forgive or overlook that truth if the joke is good enough. But what if the 'joke' isn’t funny?

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