On Getting Over It

Okay, no promises, but I hope this is my last commentary on the cartoons, at least regarding the free speech flap. I’m actually going to come at this from the other end soon, but for now I have one more thing I have to say on the issue.

Links to some pretty inflammatory pictures past the flip.

Now where was I? Oh yes…

http://www.heo.com/shop/images/dh879.jpg

A witch about to murder a Christ figure. It’s also a “nice” souvenir from the Narnia movie. My reaction? Tilda Swinton is one hell of a villain. Frankly, I was more disturbed by the scene where Santa Claus hands out real swords and bows to children. Way to spread Yuletide joy, Big Guy. Yikes.

http://thegalleryofmonstertoys.com/90swing/mcfarlaneblairwitch.jpg

Ew. Just…ew. Warning: may not be stomach safe for those with weak systems. My reaction: Ew. just…ew. Then again, I saw worse during Predator last night.

http://www.fathersforlife.org/images/witchd.jpg

For those of you who were wondering where the real hate imagery was. Wingnuttery, ho! My reaction: these guys (and I do mean guys — check out that URL) really need dates. Sad.

As for oppression, I’ll just say that if we neos (New Agers/neo-pagans) have any direct religious connection to our forebears, they are thin enough that they are hard to prove. Perhaps a few families in Italy, Germany and the Nordic countries. I trust no one needs further clarification?

Are there positive images of witches? Sure! The Wicked Witch of the West inhabits the same universe as Glinda the Good Witch, Narnia’s theater mojo couldn’t quite equal Harry Potter’s (who has the “brightest witch of her age” on his side), and even Disney has a show called “W.I.T.C.H.” … erm, okay, that last one’s a bad example. ūüėČ On the other hand, does anyone even have to ask about “positive portrayals” for religions like Christianity and Islam?

Yeah, I knew there were some smart people here. }G{

And that’s not even getting into the “shooting fish in a barrel” argument of what the native tribes in America are still going through (cough Reservations cough). To paraphrase Zaphod, “Listen, don’t try to out-offend me, I get more inflammatory things than that free with my breakfast cereal.”

This attitude that images and statements are worse than violence or oppression is what’s behind things like the attempts to deny gay couples marriage rights. The argument that “their marriages threaten ours” is based on this asinine conclusion. Dude, if your marriage is that weak, she wanted to dump your sorry butt anyway.

Finally, a personal comment. I got an email from my boss yesterday, who never did this sort of thing before in eight years of working together. Other co-workers, sure, but my boss? She’s always been cool about not pushing her faith into others’ space. Yesterday, she forwarded some stupid thing about how children “can’t pray” in school. Actualy, I believe that’s “teachers can’t impose their faiths on students,” aka the First Amendment, but I wasn’t going to tell her that. So I decided enough was enough.

I wore my pentagram ring to work today.

It’s a teeny thing, small enough that it was easy to miss. If anyone noticed it, they didn’t say anything. So to “protest” what I felt was someone else’s impingement on my personal spiritual space, I took the radical step of wearing a small, easily ignored symbol of my faith to work — something I should never have even had to think about in the first place.

Last time: I have no patience for spiritual wusses whose faith is so weak that they feel the need to commit massive acts of violence because of a moronic cartoon in a wingnut newspaper. Protests? Marches? Counter-cartoons? Testify, brother! Fight the Man, and I’m right there with you, in spirit if nothing else! (That was NOT snark, BTW.) Taking hostages and burning down embassies? The worst of which took place in countries where the religion in question is overwhelmingly in the majority? Sorry, no.

(/) Roland X
“It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. Subject opinion to coercion: whom will you make your inquisitors? Fallible men; men governed by bad passions, by private as well as public reasons. And why subject it to coercion? To produce uniformity. But is uniformity of opinion desireable? No more than of face and stature.” –Thomas Jefferson, “Notes On The State Of Virginia,” 1781

8 comments

Tip Jar / one more link (4.00 / 7)

Morgan showed me this link to the history of images of the Prophet (PBUH) which makes some very interesting points.

I mean…South Park?

(/) Roland X
Fleeing the Chenon tyranny, the last Battleblog, Galactikos, leads a rag-tag fugitive web on a lonely quest; a shining concept, known as Truth.

by Roland X on Tue Feb 7th, 2006 at 19:01:32 PDT

Thomas Merton once observed (4.00 / 3)

that the major Catholic fallacy of our time was the notion that the truth is smaller than we are and needs us to protect it. The truth, Merton said, is larger than all of us, and all that we do is serve it.

Nobody can stop me praying–as, where, when, and how the Spirit moves me. Neither can anybody force me to pray, or to pray in a way that doesn’t work for me. I am not offended by others’ prayer, as long as it is not ordered directly to my harm. I would hope that no one is offended by my prayer, but if they were, that wouldn’t be likely to carry much weight with me, given that I take Jesus’ advice about not praying to be noticed very seriously. I dropped that spiritual bad habit with my baby Catholic phase two decades ago. Haven’t missed it since, and I certainly don’t want that embarrassing bit of baggage back.

All that said, I do think the Islamist fanatics are way overplaying this issue. Don’t like what a cartoonist did to your religion? Write in and tell him/her about it. Cancel your subscription to the paper, if you have one, or encourage others to do so. Boycott its advertisers. Start a rival paper that refuses to run stuff like that, and poach subscribers away, if you can. But beating the snot out of people, trashing cars, and breaking into government buildings and burning them down? Not only out of all proportion to the harm done, but actively detrimental to your cause.

Michael

by musing85 on Tue Feb 7th, 2006 at 20:37:40 PDT

They’re not overplaying their hand (none / 1)

if you understand their objective —

to bring the west to its knees

this is a kind of cold war, with provocations galore …

it’s payback for the crusades …

it’s not respectable, but in wartime, respectability is long gone

by Mike Finley on Wed Feb 8th, 2006 at 03:35:56 PDT

I don’t agree that’s their objective (none / 1)

Certainly it isn’t for the overwhelming majority of Muslims around the world, and I rather doubt that even a majority of those who have been rioting in the streets care much about “the West” at all. All they want is to be left alone to worship their God as they see fit–just like I do.

Michael

by musing85 on Wed Feb 8th, 2006 at 06:33:51 PDT

That’s not the objective (none / 1)

of the protesters though?

Obviously, bystanders like us and nonprotestin Muslims are less likely to be caught up in the swirl.

by Mike Finley on Wed Feb 8th, 2006 at 07:11:24 PDT

I don’t think it is, no (none / 0)

I seriously doubt that the average Pakistani farmer or Iraqi shopkeeper or Syrian minor bureaucrat reads the Jyllands-Posten, which, if I’m reading the geographic reference in its name correctly is most likely a rural paper in Denmark’s most remote and least urbanized area. In fact, it’s entirely within the realm of possibility that many of the people marching in the streets over these cartoons can’t read, period–much less read Danish.

So all they know about the issue is what they’ve heard through the rumor mill, through their religious leaders, and possibly on television. I don’t get the sense that these demonstrations are spontaneous uprisings of popular sentiment, and neither do I believe that the people who are marching (and burning) in them are necessarily in full agreement with the policies or the goals of the people who masterminded them.

Michael

by musing85 on Thu Feb 9th, 2006 at 06:49:03 PDT

Update: More Like This, Please (4.00 / 2)

Islamic leaders just say no [1] to violence against cartoons:

“Islam says it’s all right to demonstrate but not to resort to violence. This must stop,” said senior cleric Mohammed Usman, a member of the Ulama Council – Afghanistan’s top Islamic organization. “We condemn the cartoons but this does not justify violence. These rioters are defaming the name of Islam.”

Other members of the council went on radio and television Wednesday to appeal for calm. It followed a statement released by the United Nations, European Union and the world’s largest Islamic group on Tuesday also urging an end to violence.

“Aggression against life and property can only damage the image of a peaceful Islam,” said the statement released by Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the EU chief Javier Solana.

I haven’t stressed this enough, so I’ll make the obvious note here: clearly, the vast majority of Muslims have a clue.

I’m home this morning because my starter seems to be in the process of dying. Sigh. I hope not to have more on this until I get home from work (assuming I can get to work).

(/) Roland X
Fleeing the Chenon tyranny, the last Battleblog, Galactikos, leads a rag-tag fugitive web on a lonely quest; a shining concept, known as Truth.

by Roland X on Wed Feb 8th, 2006 at 07:16:07 PDT

Thank you, RolandX (none / 1)

For showing that some of us…namely Wiccans and Pagans…live with outrageous caracatures every day. ¬†Morgan pointed this out in a comment yesterday, and you showed us today.

I think one of the problems here is when people live in a bubble, where their faith is in absolute control and they never hear a contrary view. ¬†When something like this happens, they are unprepared, and overreact. ¬†I fear that this is happening here in the US, where Christians of certain stripes can go to a megachurch for everything…worship, shopping, education…almost every cultural and social interaction. ¬†They can then go home and turn on Sky Angel satellite TV, or listen to a similar satellite radio network, read only books they pick up at their local rightish-Christian bookstore, and read “news” papers put out by right-wing Christian organizations. ¬†Children raised in this environment can then go to right-wing Christian colleges, never leaving the bubble. ¬†Since some of these are recent phenomenons, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens when people raised in this bubble get out of college and hit the real world…though I’m guessing there could be trouble.

No matter how nice it is to live in an environment of our own making, we always have to maintain contact with the outside world, or else have our world shaken when the outside intrudes.

Blessed Be

Taliesin Athor Govannon
HP, Coven of Caer Arianrhod
Taliesin’s Witchcraft Page

by Taliesin on Wed Feb 8th, 2006 at 12:01:08 PDT


[1] Link was to http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-5602321,00.html

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