Patterico's Pontifications


The Onion: Blatant Blaspheming of Jewish, Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist Religions Somehow Results In No Violence Whatsoever

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:57 pm

The Onion runs a picture showing the blaspheming of central figures from several religions, and reports on the fallout:

Following the publication of the image above, in which the most cherished figures from multiple religious faiths were depicted engaging in a lascivious sex act of considerable depravity, no one was murdered, beaten, or had their lives threatened, sources reported Thursday. The image of the Hebrew prophet Moses high-fiving Jesus Christ as both are having their erect penises vigorously masturbated by Ganesha, all while the Hindu deity anally penetrates Buddha with his fist, reportedly went online at 6:45 p.m. EDT, after which not a single bomb threat was made against the organization responsible, nor did the person who created the cartoon go home fearing for his life in any way. Though some members of the Jewish, Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist faiths were reportedly offended by the image, sources confirmed that upon seeing it, they simply shook their heads, rolled their eyes, and continued on with their day.

Image at the link. It is not safe for work.

Meanwhile, in unrelated news, the guy who made that YouTube video that is (actually not) directly responsible for all the violence in the Middle East has been taken in for an interview.

Because I don’t know whether my office will handle any case, I won’t comment on it. But I will quote the Instapundit, whose views may or may not reflect my own (long-time readers can probably guess):

Here’s the key bit: “Just after midnight Saturday morning, authorities descended on the Cerritos home of the man believed to be the filmmaker behind the anti-Muslim movie that has sparked protests and rioting in the Muslim world.”

. . . .

By sending — literally — brownshirted enforcers to engage in — literally — a midnight knock at the door of a man for the non-crime of embarrassing the President of the United States and his administration, President Obama violated that oath. You can try to pretty this up (It’s just about possible probation violations! Sure.), or make excuses or draw distinctions, but that’s what’s happened. It is a betrayal of his duties as President, and a disgrace.

Again, I’m not going to comment on this specific case. But I will say as a general matter that government needs to be very, very aware of how its actions can be perceived in relation to people exercising basic constitutional freedoms.

And sometimes, I think government is plenty aware, all right. And that that’s the point.

UPDATE: How did it happen that the media was on hand for this, I wonder?

UPDATE x2: The initial version of this post stated that the man has been arrested, but it appears that the L.A. Times is reporting that he was simply taken in for . . . a voluntary interview. I have corrected the post accordingly.

UPDATE x3: It looks like this is a federal and not a state probationary grant, so I feel a little more free to comment . . . but I can’t say it any better than Eugene Volokh:

Behavior that gets rewarded, gets repeated. (Relatedly, “once you have paid him the Dane-geld, you never get rid of the Dane.”) Say that the murders in Libya lead us to pass a law banning some kinds of speech that Muslims find offensive or blasphemous, or reinterpreting our First Amendment rules to make it possible to punish such speech under some existing law.

What then will extremist Muslims see? They killed several Americans (maybe itself a plus from their view). In exchange, they’ve gotten America to submit to their will. And on top of that, they’ve gotten back at blasphemers, and deter future blasphemy. A triple victory.

Would this (a) satisfy them that now America is trying to prevent blasphemy, so there’s no reason to kill over the next offensive incident, or (b) make them want more such victories? My money would be on (b).

And this is especially so since there’ll be plenty of other excuses for such killings in the future. It’s not like Muslim extremists have a clearly defined, unvarying, and limited range of speech they are willing to kill over (e.g., desecrating Korans and nothing but). Past history has already proved that; consider the bombings and murders triggered by the publication of the Satanic Verses.

Of course, there are other arguments besides the utilitarian one, as Volokh well knows . . . but it’s good to have this argument in your back pocket to throw in the face of those who claim you don’t care that people are dying. No, you don’t care that people are dying!

UPDATE x4: Good stuff at Popehat, including a reminder that this fellow is really no hero.

But he agrees that we can’t cave on the free speech angle nonetheless.

UPDATE x5: One of the points Ken makes is that it seems likely this fellow would be arrested regardless of the content of his speech, due to the nature of his offense and the circumstances surrounding the making of the movie having nothing to do with Islam, the riots, or politics.

Any way you slice it, though, the appearance to the man on the street is the same, isn’t it?

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