There are deeper issues in the Middle East, and even deeper issues in this latest flap over the “anti-Muslim” video. But some obvious things spring to mind:
1) Freedom of speech is damned important. No, you don’t get to shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater, but if you shout “Fire!” on the Internet, and people have to actually make an effort to find and watch the video of you shouting, that’s not the same thing at all.
2) Dayyum. When somebody DOES shout “Fire!” in the theater, you don’t get to riot and kill the people who make matches, or even the people you THINK make matches. Not in the modern world. Grow the hell up. Here’s a Map of Muslim Protests around the world.
3) Not everybody in the Muslim world is happy about what’s happening. I’ve seen pictures of people holding up hand-lettered placards saying the protestors and rioters do not represent them, and I applaud those people for making the point. Bearing on which, those of us in the West don’t get to blame every Muslim for this stuff, however tempting and easy it might be.
4) On the flip side, slamming the religion of Islam is not the same as slamming Muslims, the people who observe it, and the charge of “Islamophobia” is unfortunately imprecise. There are damned good reasons to be afraid of or repelled by Islam itself.
5) “May you live in interesting times” goes the supposed Chinese curse, and we do. All of this is the turbulent intersection of creaky old Islam and the modern world. Sort of has to happen. This is Islam’s Enlightenment, and we’re getting to live through it. May it eventually become as peacefully Machiavellian as Catholicism, only without the child molesting.
6) Attention whores exist. Sometimes they make film trailers, burn Korans, etc.
7) Fuck Jesus. (A pointed comic from The Onion, and definitely not safe for work.)
8) Israel is on my Shit List for the things it does to Palestinians, and the U.S. military is on my Shit List for the things it’s done to Iraqi civilians. (Also, even those of us in the U.S. know George W. Bush is a foolish, small man who got too much power, and was not bright enough or human enough to know what he was doing. His own political party has essentially thrown him under the bus, pretending his presidency never happened.)
9) I’m still an atheist. Islam sucks big sweaty donkey balls … but so does Christianity, and all the other goddy mythologies. May they all eventually be defeated by human reason and become as laughable as they really are.
10) Virgin Mary on a Stick! — the video “trailer” (the movie it supposedly introduces apparently doesn’t even exist) is pathetic. I’d like to brag that I watched the whole thing, but 2 minutes was about all I could stand. Roger Ebert would fall into a coma after the first 30 seconds. I swear the makeup artist formerly worked at a shoe shine stand, and walked away with cans and cans of brown Shinola when he left.
And — ugh! — here it is: