Friday, February 03, 2006

Relax, It Was a Freakin' Joke!

Ordinarily, when a group that feels slighted by a bit of off-color humor gets all riled up and calls for a boycott or a formal apology on behalf of all mankind, I look askance. Some people are sensitive (read uptight) and they take some things in life very seriously (generally intangible things that ironically make for the best off-color humor). I give them their space and sometimes the benefit of a doubt, because I cannot usually relate. I'm a white anglo-saxon male raised in a relatively non-religious atmosphere, and it's pretty darn hard to offend my sensibilities unless you start going off about Mom, apple pie, and Uncle Sam.

But I've had it up to the proverbial "here" with the fundamentalist Islamics, particularly over this latest row over cartoons. Iran wants to nuke Israel, Iraq is the center of the region-wide war against Jihadistan, Palestine is now run by murderers, Somalia is starving, and Afghanistan's principle economic staple is dirt, and these people are concerned with cartoons!

An off-color newspaper cartoon about the prophet Mohammed has started printing presses in the Middle East cranking out fatwas left and right calling for the heads of editors and artists across Europe. Protestors are burning flags and chanting "Death to Denmark," the home of the artists who apparently created these blasphemous images.

Death to Denmark? Denmark? You've got to be kidding. Of all the nations in the world to get all riled about, if you pick Denmark, then you, my friend, are way too uptight.

The worst thing of it all is that just when you thought the Europeans might show some spine for a change, they are buckling like belts in the face of Danish flag burning and so forth, tripping over themselves to issue apologies and fire editors for reprinting the cartoons.

Why is it every time the Islamic world feels that they are slighted in some fashion, the civilized world has to start walking on eggshells? Perhaps it is because they are like children, and when children throw tantrums, you have to play mind games with them, let them think they will get what they want, when in the end they most definitely will not. However, these "children" have guns, and will soon have the atomic bomb.

Maybe I'm making too much light of this. Maybe there is a level of decorum that we should abide by, a level of sensitivity that we should adhere to. That never hurt. But neither did taking a deep breath and relaxing when someone gets under your skin.

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