Almost everybody is against killing people over a cartoon, especially if the cartoon doesn’t push any of our buttons. That is because we believe in free speech. Of course, if a Muslim cleric in Yemen is instigating violence against us, then we think it is OK to kill them, especially if we use drones. As an aside, according to The Guardian, In Yemen, 17 named men were targeted multiple times. Strikes on them killed 273 people, at least seven of them children. At least four of the targets are still alive. End aside.
About a week ago, I posted two cartoons from Charlie Hebdo and, now that I have thought about it, I am sorry. Making fun of the weak and disadvantaged may be easy, still it is closer to bullying than I am comfortable with. The jokes that work best are jokes about the powerful – especially if they are pompous as well – and jokes on the joke teller. It is easy to make fun of religion, to a non-believer like me, the facts just seem so goofy. I like to think that the bedrock of Love, Compassion, Tolerance, which, I am told, underlie all the religions, are not goofy but the details are. Jokes about the details, especially when they are told by somebody who is a member of the religion, can be funny – I think that is why Stephen Colbert’s jokes about Christianity are so funny, he is a Catholic who even teaches Catholic Sunday School – or not.
The problem is who decides if a joke is funny?
I contend that it should be the person being offended. If a person – a Methodist, say – doesn’t like being called a Methoddy, they have the right to not like it. Of course, I also have the right – the absolute right under our constitution – to call them a Methoddy, I just don’t have the right to judge if they are offended or not. If the Methoddy is offended , I don’t have the right to say they shouldn’t be, no matter what my intent. If I continue to call them a Methoddy, if I am going to be honest with myself, I have to admit that I just don’t give a shit about them or admit that I want to be offensive.
A lot of Muslims – I have no idea how few or how many, there are about 1.6 Billion self identified Muslims in the world so a few can be alot of people – are bothered by any image of Mohammed, some are very bothered, just like some Christians were bothered by the Piss- Christ and, as I recall some were very bothered. I don’t understand it, these are not things that rattle my cage, but that doesn’t give me the right to say it shouldn’t rattle theirs. It also doesn’t take away my right to say pretty much anything I want, it doesn’t take away my legal right to be as boorish as I damn well please.