On a more serious note, Robert Bidinotto argues that he does
not believe that the proper way to address people’s deepest religious convictions is by mocking and insulting their revered symbols, practices, ceremonies, and icons. Mocking the symbols of someone’s views is not the same as satirizing someone’s ideas and arguments. Clever satires of ideas can help clarify intellectual issues. But mockery directed against mere images and symbols is in no way intellectual; it is concrete-bound, juvenile, and — because of its intent, which is merely to give offense — nihilistic.
Don’t think for a moment, however, that Robert is taking Radical/Infantile Islam’s side:
Now let’s reconsider the cartoons that have prompted the current wave of global protests by Islamists. Unlike the examples of “iconoclasm” I cited earlier, these cartoons are not crude mockery directed against some revered image as such. Rather, they use the image of Islam’s founder to highlight a crucially important political idea: radical Islam’s assault on human liberty.
Me, I thought that the original cartoons were crude – and that Radical/Infantile Islam’s reaction to them meant we should up the ante, so to speak. Robert continues:
And ironically, the violent reaction of the Islamic world to these cartoons underscores the validity of the cartoonists’ point.
And here’s where we land on the same page. But I’d go one step further and claim that no matter the actual merit of the Danish cartoons, the West in general and the US in particular has to stand up and fight for free expression. Condi Rice’s State Department has failed us there – and the French showed more backbone in this instance.
Obviously, I have a lot less compunction than Robert does in “stooping” to the level of the enemies of freedom. I take no pride in that; I just think it’s worth a try. Also, I run a blog called “VodkaPundit,” so what do you expect?