February 03, 2006

Just trying to catch up on recent events

So a bunch of Muslims wrote a sternly disapproving letter to a newspaper that printed some cartoons they didn't like, while the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff issued death threats and vandalized embassies and newspaper offices throughout Europe and the Middle East over a cartoon they didn't like. Did I get that right?

Posted by Jim Treacher at February 3, 2006 10:27 AM

I never cease to be impressed by the skill Muslims have at pissing away sympathy. I can see how these cartoons could offend them. I could even ignore the threats of death and violence as being from the fabled "tiny minority of extremists". What bothers me though is that we are again seeing what we always see in these situations: spokesmen for "mainstream" Muslims saying that this is "the kind of thing that encourages extremism". That basically amounts to a veiled threat; 'I won't hurt you, but others might'.

Where did they learn their public relations skills from? The Mafia?

Posted by: jic at February 3, 2006 12:59 PM

The ones who are doing the pissing don't want sympathy. I don't think they come from an intellectual tradition where public relations is a useful tool.

I was really hoping the LAT would publish the cartoons today.

Posted by: Crid at February 3, 2006 05:25 PM

I think the newspaper had every right to publish the piece, but Muslims have every right to be offended! Further, a boycott is a form of speech that is protected too. The violence in Gaza - that's too much (and highly ironic)

Great blog btw.

Posted by: Steve at February 3, 2006 05:55 PM

Crid, I'm not talking about the obvious nutcases here. I'm talking about the spokesmen who wear suits, hold down good jobs, look like (and generally are) everyday people. If they just made straight complaints, I'd have no problem with them. What bothers me is that they use the extremists as an implied threat to back up their demands, thus giving them all the muscle of terrorism whilst keeping their own hands clean.

Posted by: jic at February 3, 2006 05:56 PM

You're too f-ing subtle for me, brainiac. So the problem is NOT the wackos who react to cartoons with violence, it's the normal ones who say "well, cartoons encourage violence" -- have I got you right?

Wrong. The problem is with an entire CULTURE that has inculcated violence as the solution to problems, and is now feeling it's oats -- drunk on oil wealth, growing population everywhere, and the disintegration of their opponent: a weak, fading America, lead by a nincompoop, with nothing better to combat Islamic idiocy than moronic sitcom-level thinking.

How did it get that way? Big govt, big defense, and big oil conspired to prop up incredibly corrupt Islamic dictators, who manipulated their populations with distortions of religion -- the opiate of the masses indeed. Now we pay the piper.

And now, Mr. Smartypants, you think the problem is the spokesholes. No, the problem is a billion people who have an intuition that if anyone fails to follow the Imam, they should be killed. That will lead to some horrible catastrophes before we're through. Too bad that the West has no spine, because if we stood up strongly against this even now, it could be turned. Same way you deal with any gang -- you beat it down forcefully, and redirect the energy, when the leaders are killed and the others see no future in it.

Posted by: Ideasware at February 3, 2006 08:46 PM

"So the problem is NOT the wackos who react to cartoons with violence, it's the normal ones who say "well, cartoons encourage violence" -- have I got you right?"


Posted by: jic at February 3, 2006 08:53 PM

Treacher's might not be the place for this, but

> a weak, fading America...

Who surpasses us, and in what respect, and why don't you live there?

> lead by a nincompoop

Bush isn't our leader, he's just our President. Welcome to America... You're a big boy now, you don't need a Daddy. (BTW, who do you recommend for the gig?)

> they use the extremists as an implied
> threat to back up their demands

Who? What demands? We haven't heard any demands here in California.

Muslim extremists are frightening. But there aren't that many who really pine for a theocracy. We'll fight those who do, and we'll kill them or convert them, because we're smarter, stronger, more ruthless and still more decent than they are.

A lot of people are looking at the conflict Treacher's talking about in this post and saying, 'Let's do this and get it over with.' Do you think there's an option?

Posted by: Crid at February 3, 2006 11:22 PM

Bottom line: I'm annoyed with subtle intellectual banter, when this is a really serious threat. I wish I were wrong, but I'm not. It might take awhile to persuade you, so you may never understand, but we'll all experience it together.

On your comments:
1) calling us weak and fading does not mean someplace else is "better". That's a silly argument. I love our Constitution, people, natural beauty, and it's my home. I'm not going anywhere, and I appreciate it here, which is why I don't like to see it fade.

2) Oh, so Bush and his administration don't represent you and don't make decisions that affect you, because you're a big boy now? OK, well then don't you worry about what our govt does, our policies, etc. I suppose that you're an island and a god unto yourself -- congrats.

3) You're making my point. Read my post.

You say "there aren't that many that pine for a theocracy..." Plain wrong, first of all. Second, what I'm saying is that the entire culture has been twisted for many years, and is now dangerously violent, whatever their objectives -- a free Palestine, a theocracy, sharia law respected everywhere, etc. Tell you what -- if you think I'm overblowing, why don't you go and spend a month in Iran or Syria or Lebanon or even Egypt, and then come back and tell us how most people there are peaceful and rational.

By the way, I do NOT think Mideast or fundamentalist Islamic people are fundamentally "bad" at all... they certainly CAN BE as rational and peaceful as anyone. They're just not right now. Same as Germans in WW2.

Posted by: Ideasware at February 4, 2006 09:48 AM

> I appreciate it here

Glad to hear it, we had doubts... You made it sound pretty grim for moment.

> so Bush and his administration
> don't represent you

He's a public servant. Under the constitution you love so dearly, he's just hired help. The casual tendency to call such people "leaders" is part of what we're fighting here.

As JT would say, compare and contrast:

> come back and tell us how most people
> there are peaceful and rational.


> I do NOT think Mideast or fundamentalist
> Islamic people are fundamentally "bad"

If they're not peaceful and rational, we have a problem.

Posted by: crid at February 4, 2006 12:14 PM

Well, yes, we DO have a problem! Duh!

I think we've drifted into arguing about nothing. I agree philosophically that Bush is hired help. But the reality is that our govt makes the rules and the decisions that deeply affect our lives and futures. If you think "you're the boss", I suggest you try having your employee tell you what he's up to, or telling him what to do.

But that's a total side issue. What I'm saying is that this cartoon conflict is not about CAIR flunkies who subtly threaten us that if we don't respect Islam, the crazies will only get worse. That's annoying, but it's peripheral.

The conflict is about the culture of violence that has become one with Islam all around the world, so that disagreements become violent. And in a world where nuts can acquire WMD pretty darn easily -- and getting easier every day -- this leads to REAL PROBLEMS, i.e. to WW3, to Patriot Act-style loss of civil liberties, etc.

If you don't see that the reaction of ordinary Muslims worldwide to this cartoon is a harbinger of extreme conflict and danger, I don't what will clue you in.

And -- I suspect we agree -- my suggestion is to fight it with moral confidence and strength, the way one would fight any LA gang effectively. Kill the leaders and destroy the infrastructure. Change the dynamics -- by ruthless effectiveness, not by "oh please don't hurt civilians pansy ass girl-fighting", and get them engaged in more productive ways. You can't change this 50-year dynamic of a billion people just by being nice. Be strong AND make clear your own values. Bush has made a half-hearted attempt at the former (I agreed with invading Iraq) but has dropped the ball, and has completely failed at the latter.

Posted by: Ideasware at February 4, 2006 12:35 PM