By now, almost everyone not living in a cave or some deserted island would have heard off the whole blesphamous comic thing which has raised a lot of fits on both sides in defending what they believe in. Talking to Minishorts in passing about it lead me John Scalzi’s take on the whole matter. Basically there was a whole lot of ignorant fundementalist bashing which I found funny, but there was a line or two that caught my eye.
People with the right to free speech are not obliged to cave to people who demand that the world has to be their way and their way only, even as they are obliged to be respectful of those who are respectful of those freedoms. The ideal world is one in which one can print a picture of Muhammed without incident, but generally chooses not to because it’s not nice to those who see him as their prophet.
I think I have said sometime before that the right to freedom of speech doesn’t give people the right to put down whatever they have in their heads. John Scalzi just puts it a little more eloquently. But the whole matter can be looked upon in another perspective too, if the blogosphere has taught me anything about the freedom of speech, it’s this.
In an ideal world, Muslims (ignorant fundementalists or otherwise) who don’t like the fact that Prophet Muhammad is the star of that distasteful and particularly blesphamous comic also have the freedom throw a hissy fit and lodge whatever complaints they need to without the rest of the world judging them for being parochial narrow minded individuals and saying that they (the media that published the comic) have the right to do whatever they want.
Ideally, that’s how it should go as well…but it doesn’t. Even if it does…where does it end? Arguably, everyone would be free to do things in response to what the other person does, which gives Scalzi’s line even more credibility. Don’t start it in the first place unless you’re ready deal and be responsible for the flak that is going to come your way. As it is, everyone is hiding behind this whole freedom thing and when stupidity mixes with freedom, the results aren’t going to be pretty. Even if it’s laughable, it still isn’t pretty.
So what happens now? Well, usually in my part of the blogosphere, something like this would quickly die off after too months because people would soon get tired of keeping their mouths open for long periods of time. But this shit has been spread all over the world and other people in other countries aren’t so quick to forget small things. So where it’s going to go? I have no idea. Will we expect more stupidity? I would think so. Would I care about it? Not a chance in hell.
I make a very conscious effort to stay far away from stupidity at all costs because it would waste my precious time which could be put into more productive areas of society, like finishing a degree that allows you to research on cancer or applying sun tan lotion on very pretty women who ask me to do so.
We may like to live in our ideal worlds where we can have our way of doing things without the wondering about the consequences to our actions, but we can’t. The best we can do is to be responsible what we say for ourselves and perhaps learn to be patient towards idiots that have nothing better to do than to think that freedom is a way for them to rattle the proverbial cage for humour or the other important media things that they do.
It’s the best we can hope for. Though even so, that’s a pretty high hope for the human race.