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All things are lawful, [but not?] all things are advantageous. . .

This illustrates a few odd social quirks.
Here's a few things to think about:
  • Why should we expect people to not be offended just because other icons are regularly charicatured?
  • Is it necessary to demonstrate rights to prove we have them?
  • Why is it funny to make fun of what others hold sacred?
  • Why don't the other groups get so upset/why wasn't Muhammahd poked sooner?
  • Why do we hold so little sacred anymore?
  • Why did we ever hold anything sacred, seriously? (None of that controlling the populous - there's got to be far more to it than that)

  • A highlight from the Washington Post:
    The conservative Danish daily Jyllands-Posten, which first published the caricatures in September, this week apologized for offending Muslims but defended its right to publish the cartoons. Two offices of the newspaper were evacuated this week after receiving bomb threats.



Quick follow-up

It occurred to me that the way I typically feel on this sort of thing can be best approximated by a sort of iconic version of Yossarian's complex:

There are people out there trying to mock what I hold in reverence, and I don't even know these people! I've never met them, they have nothing to do with me, but they're attacking my emotional stronghold! Why?!

I rarely feel like fighting back when my beliefs are attacked through mockery, I just wearily wonder why someone is trying to bother/upset me. I didn't do that to them.
>> Why is it funny to make fun of what others hold sacred?

I don't think that's the motive behind the Muhammad cartoons is that it's funny to make fun of what others hold sacred. The point is that satire should be possible that involves what others hold sacred. The entire event came up because the attitude in the area made it so that a children's book author couldn't find an illustrator for their book about Muhammad.

I don't think the issue is about irreverence, but about the mistake of holding others to moral standards in which they do not believe. Muslims are not supposed to make representations of Allah or Muhammad, to avoid religious icons. Non-Muslims were so afraid of the repercussions of drawing a picture of a historical figure that they were unwilling to use their real names. In a children's book.

That's (very roughly) equivalent to Orthodox Jews yelling at me because I eat ham.

What JP did, the way I see it, was bring the issue into the public view. They saw a problem, and decided to make public just how severe it was. That's brave. Whether it's reckless or overly disrespectful is another discussion.
Actually, that is the discussion I asked. Whether or not a group needed to be put in check for fanaticism isn't what is interesting here.

What is interesting is that other groups are caricatured and mocked regularly, but there is little whiplash for that. It would seem that this is a one way street: breaking taboo liberates, but maintaining it seems to implicate a repression of free speech.

Really, it is; depending on how it is enforced. What I find most curious is how we do not (or perhaps cannot) notice those who understand fully well that they have a right to do as they wish, but refuse to do so for another's sake.

So how do we gauge when we have reached the critical point, where it is repression and no longer respectful abstinence? Fear for life is obviously enforcing above the call of duty; to be sure, critical points tend to be flexible and subtle in things like this.

And no, I don't know where it lies, but I'm sure it merits some thought.
I've provided what I hope is fodder for discussion here. Length prompted me to post it on my own blog, alas. Too bad LJ doesn't support trackbacks.