So, the Saudis are boycotting Danish food, and all because of a tasteless cartoon. I don’t know what’s worse, the fact that the Saudis are so thinned skinned, the Danes that desperate for attention or that I’ve inadvertently been boycotting Danish food for years and didn’t even know it. (Seriously, name me some Danish food. besides danish, which is French, I think… Do They make those little powdery cookies? Because I never liked them anyway. Kippers!…? Seriosuly, help me out here, what do the Danes eat, anyway?)
Milla and Bryan in comments have pointed out that, in fact the Danes make some rather fine cheese and sweets. I guess I should actually do a bit of research before I open my big mouth (and this has ever stopped me, when?)
Anyway, I was reading this Wikipedia article on the matter and have since changed my stance. I don’t think the cartoonists did anything wrong. the cartoons are, well, cartoonish. here’s the gist:
The publication of the cartoons has led to significant unrest around the world, particularly in Islamic countries, primarily because depictions of Muhammad are prohibited as a measure against idolatry (see aniconism in Islam), but also because of the perceived sterotyping of Arabs or Muslims.
The drawings, including a depiction of Muhammad with a bomb inside or under his turban, accompanied an article on self-censorship and freedom of speech. Flemming Rose, the cultural editor of Jyllands-Posten, commissioned twelve cartoonists for the project and published the cartoons to highlight the difficulty experienced by Danish writer Kï¿½re Bluitgen in finding artists to illustrate his children’s book about Muhammad. Cartoonists previously approached by Bluitgen were reportedly unwilling to work with him for fear of violent attacks by extremist Muslims.
Although Jyllands-Posten maintains that the drawings were an exercise in free speech, some contend that regardless of faith, the depiction of Muhammad as a terrorist is culturally offensive and blasphemous. However, many others view the cartoons as a form of non-violent protest in response to the violent threats and intimidation experienced by those who publicly criticise Islam.
Stereotypes are part of the cartoonist’s language. it presents an easily recognizable face on a complex idea. To take the representations literally… look, you know the old argument about figurative vs. nonfigurative work. Besides, the point the cartoonists were trying to make about censorship and extremism? A little on the nose. Probably too close to home.
And really, that’s what this is all about: Muslim fanatics; fanatics of any kind, don’t like to be made fun of. It takes the piss out of them and makes them look like fools. Fanatics hate to look like fools. You can’t burn down a Danish embassy in clown shoes and expect to be taken seriously. Likewise, you can’t put the Infidels to the sword and bring down the Evil Satan of the West when everyone knows you’re just a a bomb throwing kook with a head full of mumbo jumbo.
And truth be told, their kookiness, as is our own, is culturally ingrained. If they didn’t have the ban on depicting the prophet, they’d have had their Protestant revolution by now. Imagine if the catholic Church had the same restriction on depicting Jesus. Piss Christ would have set off a war, instead of just being a dirty, highbrow joke.