Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Power of the cartoon....

Anyone who still feels that Cartoons can’t change the world obviously hasn’t been paying attention the past few days. The recent rioting and accompanied protests about the Cartoons of the prophet Mohammed in that Danish newspaper have been pretty serious. Last time I checked, ten people had been killed.

Over a cartoon.

As a cartoonist, this worries me. I have often thought of myself as one of the first guys against the wall with a blindfold and a cigarette when the revolution comes, but I doubt most cartoonists do. I can’t help thinking of the Mocca festival Java Foo Foo and I went to the last trip we took to NYC. How many of those guys are crapping on themselves now or worse, gloating about the power of their pens?

One thing that really surprises me though, is that I actually kinda understand how the Muslims feel on this one. I don’t go into my faith much on these pages, because it’s something I’m not entirely clear on. Lately, I feel like God has dumped enough signs in my lap to confirm his existence, but I don’t feel I’ve found the right religious sect for me. I consider myself to be a Christian more often than not I guess; I believe in most of the basic tenets ascribed to the Christian faith to the point that I try to live my life by them, and over all I think that I’m a fairly good Christian.

So, anyway… about two years ago, I was also really offended by a cartoon. It was an episode of South Park where Jesus was going into Afghanistan to save Santa Claus after his sled was shot down on Christmas eve. Now, up until the offensive part, this actually struck me as pretty funny. But then, upon landing on the compound roof where Santa was held, Jesus whips out a bowie knife and guts two Afghan guards.

To say I was offended was putting it lightly. I stared at the TV aghast for at least ten minutes before finally turning the show off. It helped that the episode in question had only ten minutes left, I suppose... but I swear, I could not tell you even with my photographic memory what was contained in the rest of the program. To think that the christian embodiment of peace and god's love would WHIP OUT A BOWIE KNIFE AND GUT SOMEONE was offensive to me on so many levels that I actually stopped watching the show from that point on.

Still, I didn't go out and start a riot. None of my business that there's a special place in hell reserved for Trey Parker and Matt Stone... particularly after making Satan out to be a big pansy. Don't think he's gonna be real amused. Maybe they worked out some kinda deal with the guy... it would explain the startling success of South Park compared to Baseketball and Team America.

But I digress.

As Christians, we are continually bombarded with people mocking our faith. Generally, we tend to have a sense of humor about it. Same thing holds true for the Jews and Buddhists. Well, less so for the Buddhists, because who could mock such a jolly deity? But still, isn't one of the five pillars of Islam love or peace or something like it? and if so, exactly how do these riots figure into it? Part of Love is tolerance... part of Peace is respect for your fellow man. Lighten up and be excellent to one another, people.

Pretty deep for a Tuesday, I know. But until I can actually teach the world to sing in perfect harmony and buy it a coke, it will have to do.


Melinda Barton said...

Actually, the five pillars are: the statement of faith, the pilgrimage to Mecca, prayer five times daily, a month of fasting (and I thought completing the full Orthodox fast for Yom Kippur was a challenge)and acts of charity. The word Islam itself, however, means peace. The first two titles given to Allah in the Quran: the most merciful, the most compassionate. (Oddly, the only woman mentioned by name in the Quran is Mary, the mother of Jesus.) These acts (the violent ones not the act of protesting itself) are an affront to the best traditions of Islam.
But let's put it in perspective: Although Christianity has been far more enlightened as of late than in other historical eras, I think we should remember that the KKK considers itself a Christian organization as does the church led by Fred Phelps, who actually protests funerals.
There are those who seek the best of G-d within themselves, then there are those who seek the worst of humanity in G-d. In the darkness of their souls, they believe they've found it. Personally, I find it sad.

Melinda Barton said...

One other thing, when the revolution comes, they are so going to kill me way before they kill you. And I'm not even a cartoonist (although I was once the inspiration for a comic book). Geez!
Okay, two other things: If you want to read a very funny Muslim's take on things and one which is also absolutely brilliant, I recommend Irhad Manji's book "The Trouble with Islam" and her web site: http://www.muslimrefusenik.com
It doesn't hurt that she's a really hot lesbian either.

dreamwalker said...

I believe in freedom of expression. If someone (let’s say a neighbor for arguments sake) thoroughly insulted me, or a belief I hold dear, would I respond by burning down his/her house?@#! Would it be more excusable, if I did demolish his house, if the insult had been directed toward my religion rather than to some other belief that means the world to me? As you said - all religions, as well as other subjects people hold dear, are targets of mockery at some point. Why do Muslims think they should have special treatment? I think the response to the cartoons was far worse than the insult of their publication and I don't think the world should give in to bullies - religious or otherwise.

Anonymous said...

My 2 cent$
I remember a jar of urine with a crucifix inside called "piss christ" and a figure of mary covered with dung. Both of these examples where considered "art".

I think islam figures they have us right were they want us. Remember your history.
The holy wars were fought for the very same reasons as today. Islam teaches to kill the infidel, the none believer. They have placed themselves stratigecally around the world waiting for the day to destroy you.
Fact: More people have died in the name of god than all the wars combined.
So much for religion.