Day By Day

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Everybody Draw Mohammed Day -- Is it a Good Idea

Responding to radical Islamist threats to kill people who portray the image of Mohammed Michael Moynihan writes:
Via Dan Savage's blog at The Stranger, some clever chappie (I don't know who) has declared May 20, 2010 "Everybody Draw Mohammad Day," in support of Matt Stone and Trey Parker and in opposition to religious thuggery.
Read the whole thing here.

Lots of people seem to think that it is an appropriate response to Islamist threats, but Ann Althouse disagrees. She writes:

I have endless contempt for the threats/warnings against various cartoonists who draw Muhammad (or a man in a bear suit who might be Muhammad, but is actually Santa Clause). But depictions of Muhammad offend millions of Muslims who are no part of the violent threats. In pushing back some people, you also hurt a lot of people who aren't doing anything (other than protecting their own interests by declining to pressure the extremists who are hurting the reputation of their religion).

Read it here.


Molly Norris, the Seattle-based cartoonist who came up with the idea, and Jon Wellington, a blogger who set up a central clearing-house to publicize the idea, have both backed off [here]. Is this a response to intimidation, or just good common sense? You make the call.

Ross Douthat writes:
This is what decadence looks like: a frantic coarseness that “bravely” trashes its own values and traditions, and then knuckles under swiftly to totalitarianism and brute force.

Happily, today’s would-be totalitarians are probably too marginal to take full advantage. This isn’t Weimar Germany, and Islam’s radical fringe is still a fringe, rather than an existential enemy.

For that, we should be grateful. Because if a violent fringe is capable of inspiring so much cowardice and self-censorship, it suggests that there’s enough rot in our institutions that a stronger foe might be able to bring them crashing down.

Read it here.

This is just about right, although I would note that our national institutions have a long history of caving in to radical demands. Think, for instance, about what feminism, gay activism, and the grand-daddy of them all, the civil rights movement, have done to our speech habits. Speech codes proliferated decades ago, "hate speech" has become a commonplace term, and most Americans living today have no experience of a society in which free speech prevailed. The rot set in long ago.


James Taranto has joined Ann Althouse in proclaiming that the "Draw Mohammed" kickback is a bad idea here.

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