The Danish Spread

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.

11 thoughts on “The Danish Spread

  1. I’m beginning to think that tolerance is just another word in the dictionary…

    Can I link this to the article I wrote about the matter?

  2. Mei: Isn’t tolerence another word in the dictionary? I found it there a few times. Whatever rocks your world with the article. 🙂

  3. freedom of speech. pfft. i just read a discussion at a forum: if one party calls another party “narrow-minded” because it believes what the other party is saying is “narrow-minded”, doesn’t it mean the first party is also “narrow-minded” for refusing to see things in a different manner?

    it’s a never-ending, mindless discussion. free speech. what absolute rubbish.

  4. tolerance is not a good word. it means “i don’t like it yet i accept it all the same” (no, not from the dictionary, learned it from someone – which i fully agree). the key word is ‘don’t like’. it’s not good for me to say “i tolerate the loud azan prayer” because i am saying that i don’t like it but i have no choice to accept it. it’s better for me to say “i accept the loud azan prayer”.

  5. Lishun: What we have here is hypocrites dissing each other out. That’s why it’s pointless.

    Lucia: But we all are tolerant. We can’t have everyone accepting one another. We all have the right to our own opinion of things. We just have to be responsible on how we act out our own opinions.

  6. actually this isn’t about freedom of speech or freedom of action anymore…

    i think it’s more of a competition to show off who’s better at demonstrating idiocy. and everyone, i say, everyone who’s getting involved, whether the cartoonists, or the protestors, or the bombers, or the bloggers who choose to support either the cartoonists or the protestors are just… idiots.

    so there.

  7. Freedom of speech isn’t freedom to insult. Most of the cartoons were simply and downright insulting (am not referring to depicting the image of the Prophet but depicting him in an offensive way).

  8. Oh come on…do be so naive about the islam – it is a religion like all others, it’s not something the whole world has to live by. Christians, jews, buddist etc. do not behave like muslims. They all accept that other people have a right to believe in what ever they want and make jokes about ALL subjects.

    Muslims are not rulers of the world, and Islam is NOT a more special religion than all others. Stop demanding special treatment and join the 21st century.
    Maybe muslims will stop their middleage view on women and respect them as equals, i.e. right to vote, to divorce, to be heard etc.

    Just my thoughts, allthough I do know most muslims probably won’t accept my point of view. But hey – it’s a big world – there’s room for all of us. Especially in our own countries.



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