So I was listening to NPR this morning, as you can probably tell, and I heard a report that an Iranian newspaper was soliciting cartoons lampooning the Holocaust in an effort to test the limits of free speech.
I know that it is merely showboating, but I admit that I was momentarily offended. I wasn’t offended by Kanye West dressing up like Jesus; I am not offended by “This week in God” or “South Park”; but something about this stirred offense within my bosum. I am wondering why?
Perhaps it is because I don’t believe that anyone is denying other people’s pain by lampooning Mohammed. It certainly isn’t respectful, but good humor rarely is (a caveat: I haven’t seen the comics in question and can only assume, based on the descriptions I have heard, that they aren’t particularly funny). Pointing out that Mohammed was a warrior may even be historical.
Is it the denial of history that offends me about the cartoon crisis? I dunno, the US certainly has its share of that. We’ve fought wars for many reasons, but the liberation of others has not always been the foremost among them (as much as we may wish to deny this).
Anyhoo, after some thought, I have decided that whatever they come up with won’t be offensive to me by decree (it will, of course help, that I am highly unlikely to look up the cartoons in question). Freedom of speech includes the right to be publicly stupid. I’ve taken advantage of that right a time or two myself.