Top 10 Important Points About Pushing Islamic Buttons

I’m including the horrifically bad movie trailer for “Innocence of Muslims” at the bottom of this post.

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:

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About Hank Fox
  • slc1

    Israel is on my Shit List for the things it does to Palestinians,

    It’s really too bad that the Government of Israel doesn’t take a leaf from the Assad pere and fils playbook when dealing with the Palestinians. Then Mr. Fox and his fellow Israel bashers would really have something to whine about.

    • Brownian

      It’s really too bad that the Government of Israel doesn’t take a leaf from the Assad pere and fils playbook when dealing with the Palestinians.

      Did you really type that in earnest? Is that really how you think?

      You’re despicable. Truly, disgustingly despicable.

      • redpanda

        Can you translate this for me? Is he basically implying that Israel wants peace, and that the Palestinians are the only ones responsible for refusing to allow any and perpetuating animosity?

        • slc1

          OT but I notice that Mr. Fox’s site bluecollaratheist is no longer in the list of Freethoughtblogs web sites. Is this an oversight by the powers that be or is something else going on?

          Re redpanda

          Both sides are responsible for the impasse on the Israel/Palestine front. However, in bashing Israel, as Mr. Fox and a number of commentors on Freethoughtblogs do, they seem to give the Palestinians a pass. Apparently firing qassem rockets across the Gaza fence and sending homicide bombers to blow up pizza parlors is A OK with them. Not to mention the actions of Assad pere and fils in Syria.

          Just for the record, I don’t give the Government of Israel a pass. I consider Bibi to be a liar (one of former French President Sarcozy’s bull eyes) and a thoroughly untrustworthy character. The currently moribund Arial Sharon is reputed to have told Bibi to his face that he was born a liar. Unfortunately, Obama, Cameron, Hollande, and Merkel have to deal with him as best they can.

          • Hank Fox

            slc1 said:

            Apparently firing qassem rockets across the Gaza fence and sending homicide bombers to blow up pizza parlors is A OK with them.

            And apparently any critique of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians must mean support for suicide bombers and rocket attacks on civilian populations.

            Not a lot of room for nuance there, slc1.

            The two things we have here are:

            1) I made a general critical statement about Israel, a country.

            2) You accused me personally of favoring suicide bombers.

            I get it that you feel passionate about this, for whatever reason. But really, do you accuse of sympathizing with murderers everyone who takes a verbal swipe at Israel?

            Do you seriously think I sympathize with murderers?

            If you’re comfortable saying stuff like this, I have failed to make any impression on you about who I am and what I’m doing here.

          • http://www.facebook.com/keith.roragen keithroragen

            Israel is a country. Palestinians are a people. You can indict a county for the actions of its leadership. When you indict a people for the actions of individuals, it is called racism.

      • left0ver1under

        Yes, that is really how he “thinks”, if you can call it thinking.

        slime has a long history (check out Mano Singham’s blog) of anti-semitism against Palestinians, of calling for at best their removal from their homelands, and far worse. He doesn’t even see the Palestinians as humans beings deserving of rights.

        • kraut

          So do a lot of Israelis. I have listened to some comments by settlers, and their language was the same against Palestinians that Goebbels used towards German Jewry. Well learned.

          Vermin in this context was one of the nicer words. But after suffering through the Holocaust – the Israel govt. can do no wrong, ever.

  • iknklast

    “those of us in the West don’t get to blame every Muslim for this stuff, however tempting and easy it might be”

    Actually, to just the extent that we blame Catholics for enabling their church, we do (see pope song by Tim Minchin if you’re not sure what I mean). It needs more than a poster/placard to change things (though that does seem to be more than we get from Catholic apologists).

    I think at some point, if you don’t sit down and review what your religion is doing, and whether that action is wrong or right, and vow to leave behind a religion of ugliness, to that extent you’re culpable. I realized that a few months ago when I was reading a book by an anti-abortion activist who actually penetrated the bowels of the abortion murderer cliques, and may have prevented at least one incident. He started to realize his own culpability; I realized then that everyone who screams “Abortion is murder” has at the very least enabled the culture of violence that surrounds that group. Every Catholic who remains with the church has to some extent enabled the horrors being perpetrated in the name of the church.

    This is why I support Atheism Plus, though I have not myself joined with it. If we don’t leave behind the ugly hatred ourselves, we simply enable it.

  • douglaslm

    Where the riots a response to the video or (as some claim) just a convenient excuse to cover a more coordinated and preplanned attack?

    @slc1 The listing is now A Citizen of Earth at the top of the list.

  • kraut

    “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.”

    Not every muslim, but all those who do not stand up and fight the vile idiots who think violence is acceptable to defend their religion….on second thought, that is exactly what the quran demands.

    • M Groesbeck

      on second thought, that is exactly what the quran demands.

      Much like the Bible demands slaughtering children, mass rape, and executing anyone who refuses to convert.

      ZOMG all Christians are terrorists!

      (It’s like the “reasoning” in Religulous: “Sure, all religions are ridiculous, but Islam is totally unique in that everyone who calls themselves Muslim is a literalist by definition.”)

  • kraut

    “OT but I notice that Mr. Fox’s site bluecollaratheist is no longer in the list of Freethoughtblogs web sites. Is this an oversight by the powers that be or is something else going on?”

    You really are an idiot.

  • http://www.glendonmellow.com Glendon Mellow

    Great post Hank!

  • http://therealisticmccoy.com/ dsmccoy

    “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.”

    Agree. Maybe since they have more secular models available than the Catholics did during their enlightenment they can skip more of the bad parts. We can hope at least.

    It looks to be a painful process, but it is inevitable.

    How much would you bet that many, if not most, of the people rioting about this haven’t even seen the video they are supposedly protesting, only heard some muslim cleric ranting about it. (Who may or may not have seen it himself.)

    It explained a lot for me when I heard a fellow, from either Syria or Jordan, can’t remember, explain that any student worth anything in his country went off to college to study engineering or medicine and the ones who couldn’t make the cut went off to study the Quran.

  • Verity Manumit

    Hank: 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.

    I’m sure many carnivores placate any possible bad feelings they have about animal abuse and cruelty at slaughterhouses by telling themselves that they couldn’t possibly be responsible for that, after all, as they don’t kill the animals personally. They just buy and eat the meat. So that’s not the same thing. Not at all.

    • kraut

      “as they don’t kill the animals personally.”

      Actually, I do, and I prefer to eat meat from animals I killed personally, either by having hunted, fished or raised the animal I butcher.
      I am responsible for what I eat and kill and I have no qualms about it.

      Other than that, I really don’t know what the violent reaction pretending to be against an insulting movie (of which I am sure only a tiny minority of the protesters have actually seen)has to do with what to eat and why not.
      Trolling anybody?

      • Verity Manumit

        kraut: has to do with what to eat and why not.

        Miss the point much? It was an analogy. I’m not commenting on what people eat. I was drawing an implied comparison between the two, which is why I quoted that paragraph from the OP. See, the people I referred to as “placating their bad feelings about animal cruelty…”, well, what I was really talking about were people who placate the “religion of peace” by convincing themselves that all supporters of Islam were not responsible for Islamic extremism, because they didn’t do the “killing themselves.” But if you buy the burger, you buy the cruelty that comes with it, whether you personally committed the act or not. Is it coming to you now?

        Sorry. Completely my fault for assuming anyone online could make that leap. I should have spelled it out more directly. But even then most would likely miss my point.

        • davidjanes

          Miss the point much? It was an analogy.

          Yes, a bad one trying to drive the conversation in a different direction and stump for an unrelated issue.

        • B-Lar

          Miss the point much? … Sorry. Completely my fault for assuming anyone online could make that leap. I should have spelled it out more directly. But even then most would likely miss my point.

          Needlesly combative.

          I made the leap, but you lost my sympathy. You missed an opportunity to learn something, or maybe you learned it but you are too cool for school.

  • kraut

    “Miss the point much”

    What point?
    Reading your posting sounded more like you where diverting the attention to your pet peeve, it did not strike me in its tone as an analogy.

    “But if you buy the burger, you buy the cruelty that comes with it”

    Your very forced analogy implies that cruelty is necessary to the production of burgers, which it is not. It depends very much where you buy your burger from and how the animal was treated before the killing.
    And I do not consider killing an animal in a quick and clean manner cruel. Everyone has to die, some death (for food) make more sense than dying from old age or disease.

    “what I was really talking about were people who placate the “religion of peace” by convincing themselves that all supporters of Islam were not responsible for Islamic extremism, because they didn’t do the “killing themselves.””

    And no, not all supporters of Islam are responsible, because there are supporters of Islam who very much distance themselves from those actions, and interpret the Islam in a way that does not equate the jihad with an action of war, but a missionary effort.
    By the same token I could hold responsible all Americans for the actions of the army in Vietnam, forgetting those that protested against that war and died for it, or blame all Americans for the actions to support the Afghan mujaheddin which ultimately led to the ascendance of Bin Laden.
    By the same token I could hold all vegans responsible for poisoning the fields with pesticides, insecticides and fungicides, and make the responsible for the eutrophication of rivers caused by excessive fertilizer use, excessive use of carbohydrates to power tractors to spread all that good stuff onto the fields, forgetting that there are vegans who are conscious enough to purchase from farmers they know and know howe they fram. By the same token there are conscious meat eater that either raise their own meat or buy it from a source they well know how the animals are raised.

    Your analogy tries to paint reality with a black brush on a white background, forgetting the shades of grey and colours the world is made up of.
    Epic fail of your post.

    • dysomniak, darwinian socialist

      Your very forced analogy implies that cruelty is necessary to the production of burgers, which it is not

      Yes, because killing a sentient being is entirely cruelty free…

      • kraut

        define cruelty for me.
        “Cruelty is indifference to suffering, and even pleasure in inflicting it. If this habit is supported by a legal or social framework, then it receives the name of perversion”
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruelty

        Killing for food within that definition is not necessary cruel.

        I do not kill for pleasure, neither do most of the butchers. It is part of food production, and having observed industrial style killing of animals in slaughterhouses (nor from movies, but by visiting and seeing it unfiltered)with the bolt gun all I can say it is a fast death.
        What is more bothersome is the transport of animals to the slaughtering facility, which can be very stressful to the animals.

        • dysomniak, darwinian socialist

          Eating animals may have been necessary once, and may still be be in some places, but in the in the industrialized world it is not only cruel but wasteful. It takes about ten pounds of grain to produce one pound of meat. Additionally, animal agriculture is one of the leading causes of global warming. http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a0701e/a0701e00.HTM

        • dysomniak, darwinian socialist

          And to your claim that you “do not kill for pleasure”, what other reason is there to eat meat? Are you in danger of starvation?

  • octoberfurst

    So that is the movie clip that is causing all the rioting in the Muslim world? Seriously?? I’ve seen elementary school plays that have better acting. The dialogue is insipid and the special effects & costumes are laughable. What was the the budget for this “movie”—-$100? I still can’t get over the fact that this pathetic clip is causing rioting. I could only watch 5 minutes of it. It was THAT bad! To the Muslims who are upset about this I have only one thing to say—get a life!
    And to add my 2 cents worth about the Israeli occupation. I was over on the West Bank in 2003 and saw for myself how the Israelies treat the Palestinians. It was shameful. They treat them like dogs and the Palestinians have no rights. The religious settlers are vicious and total fanatics. The abuse the Palestinians with impunity. It is disgraceful that the US supports this kind of bigotry with our tax dollars.

    • Kilian Hekhuis

      So that is the movie clip that is causing all the rioting in the Muslim world? Seriously??

      I’m pretty sure 99.99% of the rioters haven’t seen it at all. They’re just rioting for riot’s sake.

      • dysomniak, darwinian socialist

        To the extent that this “movie” is responsible for current unrest it is clearly the proverbial straw on the back of an already overburdened camel. For over half a century the west has subjected the Arab world to a brutal regime of imperialist conquest. This specific insult to their culture is merely the current focal point for a very justified outrage that has been building for decades.

  • Quinn Martindale

    Anyone else get the feeling that this is all part of the scam from The Producers?

  • http://thecanberracook.blogspot.com Alethea H. “Crocoduck” Dundee

    Apparently it was a scam on other levels, too. The actors were not aware of what was being made: they thought the film that they were hired to make was some low budget cheesy desert caper with two Egyptian tribes fighting over some magical mcguffin. Their voices have been dubbed and their images used for a completely different purpose without their consent.

    Personal account here:
    http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2012/09/a-letter-from-scared-actress.html