As the world erupts in religious violence

…allegedly over some crappy high school quality video production visible to the 12 people with internet access in Upper Krapistan, and the state (literal) brownshirts take into custody the filmmaker for his dangerous exercise of first amendment rights, the Western “Arts community” bravely swings into action to protest this blatant violation of free speech and this rank example of Radical Islamic religious intolerance by…

boldly mocking the Blessed Virgin Mary and bravely facing the applause of their peers.

Could there possibly *be* anything more gutless and in-the-pocket-of-Caesaroligarchy than the Brave Transgressive Arts Community? You can actually smell the cowardice. Mixed with the stink of smugness when some old French widow registers offense and the artist feigns hurt surprise and a frisson of Bad Boy Superiority to the Bourgeois, the stench can actually repel rats and cockroaches as a distance of over two miles. Researchers are attempting to isolate the horrible-smelling chemical compound for military purposes.

Meanwhile, afficianados of Manning’s Corollary are busy mining the irritated reactions of Christians (“You’ll go to hell for blasphemy” said one ticked old Catholic lady writing to a combox from Marseilles) in order to map them to acts of Radical Islamic arson, looting, murder and destruction over crude cartoons mocking the Prophet a few years ago. No moral difference at all, you see.

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  • Timothy of Seattle

    I dunno, Mark. What the filmmakers did to make the film was slimy, fraudulent, and very possibly criminal. c.f.:

    And although probably not a criminal act in itself, the producer was actively trying to stir up trouble, by contacting the Egyptian press to draw attention to the film and announce his intention to screen the film on Sept 11th:

    (I’ve seen people wondering why, when the film was produced and released in July of last year, people chose Sept 11th this year to riot about it. This is why.)

    In free speech terms, it seems closer to yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater than the eequivalent of some trendy auteur trying to be edgy.

    • Mark Shea

      No argument the filmaker (like the “artist) is stirring the pot and recklessly endangering his actors. However, civilized people don’t kill people over crappy Youtube videos. And “artists” don’t gratuitously insult the Blessed Virgin.

      • Timothy of Seattle

        The worst thing that Chamalliard is doing, as far as I can tell, is desecration of Catholic icons, which I find more personally offensive than the content of the movie. But there are other issues to consider. I would actually say that what the filmmakers did is much worse.
        Firstly, Chamalliard had no reasonable expectation that people might be killed over what she did, whereas the filmmakers appeared to be actively trying to provoke people. Now, the fact that people are willing to murder over crappy Youtube videos is their problem, not the filmmakers’, but — well, if you knew that your neighbor was prone to serious sin, but you deliberately set out to tempt him, isn’t that the sin of scandal?
        Secondly, the filmmakers lied to their cast about what the movie was about and put words into their mouths by re-dubbing the dialogue afterwards, which is a very serious fraud, particularly as it could lead to the actors themselves being harmed.
        Third, the filmmakers, as they do this, also publicly identify themselves as Christian, wheras Chamalliard (as far as I know) does not. We have to consider the issue of scandal in that respect as well. The Gospel is “scandal” enough. We have no need to associate gratuitious and really scandalous offenses with it.

        • Mark Shea

          I’m not trying to exonerate the filmmakers. They behaved deeply sinfully and wilfully endangered lives by deliberately poking brutes with a sharp stick. My point is that Brave Transgressive Artists who go around poking Christians with a sharp stick while claiming to be courageous are mere cowards.

          • Timothy of Seattle

            It’d be nice to see a detailed denunciation of the filmmakers’ actions warranting a blog post of its own (or at least a mention somewhere in an actual blog post), and not simply a clarifying comment deep down the comment chain. If I were a Martian (or a Muslim) skimming Catholic blogs, I’d be inclined to conclude that most Christians didn’t think that what the filmmakers did was actually all that bad. (And, in fact, it’s not that hard to find Christians cheering them on, if you look for it.)

            I don’t think you (or most Catholics) actually support what the filmmakers did. But it reminds me so much of the kind of thing that Rebecca Hamilton wrote about, regarding the reluctance to actually denounce rape as a sin, in the context of discussions about abortion. It’s the sort of issue that I see cropping up repeatedly in other areas as well.

            You might think a condemnation of the filmmakers’ actions goes without saying, but it doesn’t. If you leave the condemnations to Muslims and secularists, you leave outsiders wondering why most Christians are so quiet on the matter, and they are likely to conclude that the few very vocal Christians (like the filmmakers) who support such actions might really be representative, particularly with the media so helpfully broadcasting such views.

            • Timothy of Seattle

              (Of course, there are right and wrong reasons to care about what Muslims think. Our concern should be evangelization, not appeasement.)

            • SteveP

              “It’d be nice to see a detailed denunciation of the filmmakers’ actions warranting a blog post of its own (or at least a mention somewhere in an actual blog post), and not simply a clarifying comment deep down the comment chain.”

              It would be nice to see commentary rather than what a person would prefer to have been written in a blog post. Perhaps you have your own blog and can link an example of what you desire?

              • Timothy of Seattle

                I do have a blog and I might do so after work, but I think there’s a serious problem if it would actually go unsaid if I don’t say it.

                • Hezekiah Garrett

                  Yeah, If I have to do the work, people, there is a SERIOUS problem. MY job is to kvetch about your hypocrisy and laziness!

                  • Timothy of Seattle

                    Yeah, it wasn’t really fair of me. I’ve had some really frustrating conversations lately, and I was being intemperate here. I don’t think Mark is being hypocritical or lazy, though. I just wish he’d put it a little differently in the original post.

            • Ye Olde Statistician

              If it is a cause of understanding of the rioting muslims that their feelings were hurt by the video, then surely it is a cause for understanding of the film-posting Copt that hundreds of his co-religionists have been killed and their churches burned, even before the “Arab Spring” propelled the Muslim Brotherhood into power.

              But we have only this character’s word for it that he is a Copt. The timing is, as you say, suspicious.

    • victor

      Good thing you’re not a Supreme Court justice, then, Timothy! The Supreme Court has upheld the freedom of speech even when it advocates violence (Brandenburg v. Ohio), provided it doesn’t itself express an immediate intent to do violence.

      Even if incitement was the intent of the Filmmakers (and it’s not clear that it was) since it wasn’t itself calling for some specific and immediate violent action, it’s definitely still legal speech.

      You can’t put people in jail for emailing out the link to their YouTube video.

      • Mark Shea

        Except, of course, that in Obama’s America, you can. Indeed, if the President were to decide so, he could be indefinitely detained and even murdered and the state could then issue a press release explaining that our Just and Wise God King determined that he deserved it and the press would dutifully advertise this to a compliant public.

      • Timothy of Seattle

        Victor, we should distinguish the issue of whether the movie itself is criminal (it is not, although it is morally wrong for the same reason that yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater is) from whether the filmmakers’ actions in making the film were criminal (we already know for certain that one violated the terms of his parole, and beyond that, there is at least the appearance of fraud in their dealings with the film’s cast and crew).

        • Timothy of Seattle

          Actually, from what I’m reading below, we have yet to see if he’s going to be arrested. It sounds like the “arrest” was more of an inappropriate display of force for the sake of media theatre.

          • Timothy of Seattle

            er, “he’s going to be arrested” -> “he violated the terms of his parole”, an important difference!

            • The terms of his parole said that he was restricted from doing certain things without the permission of his parole officer. Nobody has released any official information about whether he applied for or received permission. The fact that they haven’t bounced him back to jail for parole violations yet make me suspect that this was all precleared. I don’t know it for certain so i’m keeping an open mind. What information do you have?

      • Ted Seeber

        You can when the person doing it has a specific court order not to go online as a part of a probation agreement.

        • The actual order is not to go online without prior permission. Do you have any information on prior permissions sought and granted? I do not.

  • J. H. M. Ortiz

    The irony of mocking the mother of Jesus is that, mentioned a number of times — always favorably — in the Qur’an, she is honored in Islam itself — as indeed is Jesus (although of course Islam denies His godhood). And some Muslim women in Palestine honor Marian shrines there, says a Catholic priest (my pastor) who’s been there.

    • Mark Shea

      Very true. But this is obviously aimed at Catholics–always a safe bet for Brave Transgressive Western Arts Community cowards.

      • Irenist

        Perhaps next, this Frenchwoman can bravely make a film revealing that beneath the placid exterior of 50’s suburbia, there was a dark underbelly of … something or other. Should be “transgressive” enough, no? Pure hackery.

        • Ye Olde Statistician

          Where is the Art, sez I, in collecting junk and painting it up? Artists want desperately to be accepted as intellectuals that they have forgotten that artist and artisan were once synonymous.

          • Irenist

            Y’know who’s a contemporary artist who does great work? The novelist Mike Flynn! Just sayin’.

  • Ted Seeber

    To be exact, they took him into custody for violating his probation over an unrelated charge of fraud. He wasn’t supposed to go near the Internet during his probation.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      This. Yes, it was probably more along the lines of “we got Capone for tax evasion,” but the man did actually violate his probation. He wasn’t supposed to post things online, and he did.

    • To be exact would be appropriate if you were exact. But you are not. The actual order is on the Internet, probably in multiple places but certainly here:
      He actually had more right to post than to consume but he certainly would have been smart to clear with his probation officer. Did he? So far I’ve no information on that. Do you?

  • Timothy of Seattle

    Ted: Exactly. There were legitimate reasons to arrest the guy.

  • Richard Johnson

    In fairness to the brownshirts, the filmmaker was taken into custody for questioning about possible parole violations from a prior arrest and conviction.

    “LA County Sherrif’s Department spokesman Steve Whitmore confirmed to NBCLA that Nakoula was taken to the Cerritos sheriff’s station for interviewing by federal probation officers aimed at determining whether he violated the terms of his 5-year probation by uploading a video to the Internet.

    “We are in an assist mode,” he said.

    Whitmore added that Nakoula agreed to the interview prior to the deputies arriving at his home, that the move was “entirely voluntary” and the man was “very cooperative.””


    “A federal grand jury indictment in February 2009 charged Nakoula in an alleged bank fraud conspiracy. The indictment accused him and others of fraudulently obtaining the identities and Social Security numbers of bank customers at Wells Fargo and withdrawing $860 from bank branches in Cerritos, Artesia and Norwalk.

    Los Angeles County District Attorney spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons confirmed that Nakoula served a year in jail after pleading guilty to possession of meth with the intent to manufacture in 1997.”

    Sounds like we have an instance of a parolee willingly going in to speak with his parole officer(s) at their request. But then, perhaps I’m simply not seeing it the same way you are, Mark.

    • Dale Price

      Yes, that’s how potential parole violators convicted of non-violent offenses are usually “invited” to a “voluntary” interview: on a Saturday evening by a phalanx of police officers accompanied by the media.

      • Timothy of Seattle

        Yeah, from what I’d read earlier, I assumed he’d been arrested for a clear-cut parole violation. This sounds more and more like an inappropriate play for the media.

      • c matt

        Although, I suppose it is possible they escorted him thusly for his own protection?

        • Mark Shea

          With the full battery of press cams alerted and present for the perp walk. I don’t think so.

          • Richard Johnson

            And your evidence that the press was there for a perp walk is what, precisely? Is this another conclusion you will have to walk back once more information is known?

            He was brought in for questioning regarding a possible parole violation, according to his own lawyer and the authorities (both county and federal). Until that story changes with something solid it might be best we not behave like the Muslims and jump to irrational and unjustified conclusions.

            • The media have let it be known that they were notified that there would be something to see around midnight at that location. Generally they wouldn’t be there at midnight otherwise.

            • Hezekiah Garrett

              Richard Johnson, (how rich in humour is that name still to me!) who the (&^%%^& do you think snapped the pictures of the dude hiding his face being escorted by LEOs?


    • Tim in Cleveland

      Possibly, but I think it could be argued that 4 or 5 officers arriving at one’s home at midnight are “arresting” that person. I seriously doubt this guy felt free to object to the interview.

      • Richard Johnson

        Well, had it been that you might have a case. However, from the story above…

        “Whitmore added that Nakoula agreed to the interview prior to the deputies arriving at his home, that the move was “entirely voluntary” and the man was “very cooperative.”

        He knew about it and agreed to it before they arrived. As for them arriving shortly after midnight, that might have been an attempt on their part to minimize the number of folks hanging around in the crowd, I don’t know. But let’s presume the worst and move forward…kinda like the Muslim protesters did last weekend.

    • Will

      What is “assist mode”?

      Don’t law enforcement people speak English any more?

    • Ted Seeber

      And in fact, under current circumstances, I think I’d be grabbing at any excuse to have some bars and security between me and potential suicide bombers.

      • Richard Johnson

        Indeed…and with that crowd of media around a killer could go unseen until too late. I think the authorities did the responsible thing in sending a group of deputies there. I can just hear the complaining had they only sent one deputy to pick him up and he (or another innocent) ended up being injured by some nutcase trying to claim his 72 virgins.

  • Michaelus

    It is very unlikely any policeman will be sent out to arrest a parole violator in a case like this one. Nakoula is a minor crook but a major irritation to the Government.

  • SteveP

    Mark: I agree the manhunt for the film maker is more than spooky – it seems to indicate the media narrative about the attack in Libya and the demonstrations in other Islamic countries is consumed without any critical thinking.

  • bob cratchit

    “to murder people who had nothing to do with it (the film) because you deemed yourself insulted and therefore other peoples blood can be randomly spilt, thats clearly a deeply uncivilized attitude”… Salman Rushdie

    • B.E. Ward

      I wonder what the world’s reaction to Salman Rushdie would be if he published The Satanic Verses in 2012.

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    Its just good to see who the chestless are.

    No defense of the shitheel who made this movie, just an observation on the sort of people who thank God he could be brought in on unrelated charges so maybe we can…

    Who knows what the point to this was except to say that if there are ANY grounds for government to nail you, you have no rights. And apparently a number of my co-religionists agree.

    Dear Lord, if it be your will that they get fissionable material so as to wipe out the scourge of western secularism, let it be done!

  • Timothy of Seattle

    @Hezekiah, There’s a very real human tendency to attack the object of a violent mob and scapegoat them for the mob’s actions, if only out of fear of the mob.

    If the exact same movie had been made, and the Islamist mob had responded in exactly the same way, but the movie’s makers had not lied to their cast, and they had not sought out publicity for it in the middle eastern media in a fascinatingly provocative way, I might be inclined to agree with you somewhat. But that is not the case here.

    • Hezekiah Garrett

      I’ve not criticised anyone for wanting to see him actually punished for misrepresenting or defrauding or whatever, those actors. (Al though I’ll bet legally, he didnt do a thing ‘wrong’ to them. If their releases and contracts and stuff didnt cover his underhanded actions, then he’s far stupider than even I thought.)

      As for his provocative publicity seeking… see what I wrote before. Just sad.

  • Timothy of Seattle

    Fascintaingly -> calculatedly. I shouldn’t post from my phone. Autocomplete always gets me.

  • Timothy of Seattle

    In other words, the thing that moved me from irritation to outrage at the producers’ actions was finding out about the fraud perpetrated on the actors, and the deliberate and premeditated way the producers appear to have sought out controversy, when, as Ye Old Statitician observes, they had every reason to expect what happened to happen. I think that changes the calculus considerably, and makes a comparison to the actions of the French artist very problematic.
    Regarding punishment, I don’t wish to see extra-legal remedies, or the producers punished for the content of the movie itself, but I think they ought to be for what they did to the actors.
    Anyway, I’ve said far too much on the matter already, and I’ll leave it at that unless I blog something myself.

  • “allegedly over some crappy high school quality video production visible to the 12 people with internet access in Upper Krapistan”
    This is so racist and imperialistic its not funny.

    • Mark Shea

      Don’t be stupid.

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    How many Guatemalans does it take to change a light bulb?

    • Mark Shea

      That is so racist and imperialist it’s not even funny!

    • And then you ask why people hate you.

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    Do you mean Americans, or Mark, or me?

    I have never wondered for a moment wht they hate me.

    And the answer is 1. Its a job any janiror can do.

    • First of all, I’m american too since it refers to the Americas, and yes I was referring to US citizens.

      • Mark Shea

        Um. No. You’re Guatamalan. And you are saying silly things that I don’t have time for. Good bye!

    • Hezekiah Garrett

      Janitor! Its a job any JANITOR can do.

      Hence, one Guatemalan.

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    I usually try not to counsel folks to sin…

    …but if anybody was ever in dire need of having his ashes hauled, friend…