DiBergi: “This tasteless cover is a good indication of the lack of musical invention within. The musical growth of this band cannot even be charted. They are treading water in a sea of retarded sexuality and bad poetry.”
Tufnel: That’s just nitpicking, isn’t it?
—Rob Reiner as Marty DiBergi and Christopher Guest as Nigel Tufnel in This Is Spinal Tap
It is now fully seven days after U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three others were killed in an attack on a U.S. embassy compound in Benghazi, Libya. Mobs displaying varying degrees of violence (ranging from what CNN calls the “peaceful” chanting of “Death to America!” to actually storming in and setting the joint on fire) continue to mass around U.S. diplomatic installations in Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia, Lebanon, London, Pakistan, Paris, Somalia, Sudan, Thailand, Tunisia, and Yemen.
Yet we’ve still had no address to the nation from the President of the United States.
According to the U.S. government, all of this rage and violence—including the military-style hit on Ambassador Stevens, complete with RPGs and well-targeted mortar fire—is spontaneous demonstration stemming solely from a YouTube video produced by Sam Bacile titled “Innocence of Muslims.” Ironically, without all the outrage over the supposed disrespectful depiction of Mohammed—more on that in a second—no one anywhere would have ever seen this piece of crap. I’ll bet you a million dollars 99% of the people actually involved in the protests haven’t seen it. Yet by murdering diplomats and setting embassies on fire, they’ve drawn global attention to the insult, thus heaping slander upon slander a million-fold.
Who’s worse, the blasphemer, or the one who broadcasts the blasphemy to the world?
Now, as I mentioned in the last post, I’ve seen this thing. Yes, it appears to depict Mohammed in an unflattering light, although frankly it’s so poorly put together it’s difficult even to gather that much. The script writing is straight out of Beavis and Butthead, it is obviously and crudely overdubbed to insert words like “Mohammed” in places where the actors’ dialogue clearly didn’t use his name, the costuming and production values look like something you’d expect from iCarly (not the Nickelodeon TV show, but the teen-produced internet show-within-the-show), and the editing is so choppy it’s almost impossible to discern even much of a story line. In short, it’s almost completely unintelligible, and could just as easily be considered a spoof on anti-Muslim bigotry as a serious attempt to smear Mohammed.
How any rational adult could take this garbage seriously enough to be offended by it is beyond me; the Islamists do it waaaaayyyyy too much credit.
And yet not only do we have these murderous vandals swarming all over the Middle East screaming death threats and setting U.S. property on fire, but we have our government falling all over itself to apologize to them. Hillary Clinton and the State Department are out there condemning the video as “disgusting and reprehensible.” The White House asked YouTube to examine whether it violated YouTube’s conditions of use (I thought those were a private arrangement between the users and YouTube, not a federal law enforcement mechanism, but I digress…). The FBI is investigating the film’s producer. And the media has gone out of its way to make sure you and the world know that this guy is a convicted fraud.
It’s outrageous. It’s a scandal.
Well, here’s my question: where was all of this moral outrage in 1999 when the Museum of Art was exhibiting Chris Ofili’s perverted The Holy Virgin Mary, a painting of the Virgin Mary covered in feces and surrounded by little photos of vaginas? Then-Senate candidate Hillary Clinton told PBS in response to Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s attempt to close the museum that “it is not appropriate to punish an institution such as the Brooklyn museum that has served this community with distinction over many years.”
Did the U.S. federal government issue an official condemnation of Andres Serrano’s photograph Piss Christ, an “ingenious” image of a crucifix submerged in a mason jar filled with the artist’s own urine? Um, no—it sponsored a competition award to him in 1987 through a $15,000 grant from the National Endowment of the “Arts.”
[As an aside, who even thinks of these things? When did poop and pee become “art,” much less anything other than just gross to anyone over about three years old?]
How much time did the FBI spend investigating Mel Gibson in 2004 for the extremely unflattering depiction of the Jewish Sanhedrin as bloodthirsty killers in The Passion of the Christ?
You heard nothing out of the federal government in any of these instances, because there was no murderous mob to appease. Catholics didn’t take to the streets and set cars on fire over the excretion-based desecrations of Jesus and the Blessed Virgin. Jews didn’t storm government buildings and throw Molotov cocktails over Gibson’s Good Friday narrative. The Chinese don’t murder diplomats over movies portraying them as gangsters (see Year of the Dragon). You don’t see Buddhists screaming “Death to America!” because Bill Murray accused the Dalai Lama of stiffing him on a tip (see Caddyshack).
The fact is no one else on earth acts like this. The only people on the planet who fly off in an extended infantile, homicidal, destructive rampage at the slightest perceived affront are the Islamists, and they are as predictable as the sunrise in this respect. So why do we indulge them with repeated apologies, and push a speech-chilling policy of official condemnation and investigation against their antagonist? Any parent knows that the remedy to chronic toddler meltdowns is not appeasement; fawning attention only fans the flames.
I, for one, am sick of this, and I’m sick of them. And we cannot and should not alter our fundamental nature to accommodate their grossly over-developed sense of insult. We have a First Amendment in this country. I don’t much care for Bacile’s imbecilic video. I also don’t care for essentially anything that comes out of the mouth of Barack Obama. But Bacile’s entitled to make his movie, and Obama’s entitled to make his speeches. My remedy isn’t to silence them through government intimidation, no matter how big a temper-tantrum I throw.
The test for acceptable speech cannot rest on whether this group or that group is prone to getting upset and overreacting. It is a dangerous precedent indeed to say we have free speech unless what you say is going to offend Muslims, because when they get offended they spend days and days setting things on fire and killing people.
Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.
Where does that end? What else can I not say or do because it might offend the Islamists and they get crazy when they’re offended? Worse, how long before some other group of miscreants or malcontents recognizes the tool that’s been made available to them—that you can get the government to bend over and to shut the opposition up if you just make it clear that you’re easily upset and you have a tendency to waste people and destroy millions of dollars worth of property when you’re upset? What kind of chaos ensues if we all act like that?
How about this: what say we try to act like adults here, and encourage our hyper-sensitive neighbors in the Middle East to do the same. And if you don’t have enough self-control to keep yourself from launching into the mother-of-all-epic-hissy-fits if the anti-Mohammed theme offends you?
Don’t watch it.