Sunday, February 19, 2006

'The Perfect Piss Storm' by Flemming Rose

Unless I missed this before, the biggest revelation in an editorial written by Flemming Rose, editor for the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, for the Washington Post, is that he didn't publish offensive cartoons to piss people off but to prove to the world that pissing on the Koran should be a universal right:

...I commissioned the cartoons in response to several incidents of self-censorship in Europe caused by widening fears and feelings of intimidation in dealing with issues related to Islam. And I still believe that this is a topic that we Europeans must confront, challenging moderate Muslims to speak out. The idea wasn't to provoke gratuitously -- and we certainly didn't intend to trigger violent demonstrations throughout the Muslim world. Our goal was simply to push back self-imposed limits on expression that seemed to be closing in tighter.

At the end of September, a Danish standup comedian said in an interview with Jyllands-Posten that he had no problem urinating on the Bible in front of a camera, but he dared not do the same thing with the Koran.

This was the culmination of a series of disturbing instances of self-censorship., go, Flemming...

We have a tradition of satire when dealing with the royal family and other public figures, and that was reflected in the cartoons. The cartoonists treated Islam the same way they treat Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and other religions. And by treating Muslims in Denmark as equals they made a point: We are integrating you into the Danish tradition of satire because you are part of our society, not strangers. The cartoons are including, rather than excluding, Muslims.

Is that beautiful or what? Perhaps now that Mr. Rose is on "holiday" from his job (though WaPo fails to mention this relevant fact), he might be able to turn this touching story into an episode of Barney. Can't you just feel the love?

The cartoons do not in any way demonize or stereotype Muslims.

Notice how he doesn't mention which cartoons in that statement. Because he can't possible be saying that a "cartoon" of a Muslim that has horns sticking out of his turban does not in any way "demonize." I'm no art critic...but I'm pretty sure that sticking horns on someone in a picture unmistakably qualifies as demonization.

One cartoon -- depicting the prophet with a bomb in his turban -- has drawn the harshest criticism. Angry voices claim the cartoon is saying that the prophet is a terrorist or that every Muslim is a terrorist. I read it differently: Some individuals have taken the religion of Islam hostage by committing terrorist acts in the name of the prophet. They are the ones who have given the religion a bad name. The cartoon also plays into the fairy tale about Aladdin and the orange that fell into his turban and made his fortune. This suggests that the bomb comes from the outside world and is not an inherent characteristic of the prophet.

I found this quote by a commenter at Media Channel:

Look, I just saw the cartoons that have been causing such an uproar. I think that if the cartoonist just let the public know that they were not depicting their profit Mohammed but instead the ever popular Jafar from Aladdin then peace would prevail.

Flemming Rose helped create "The Perfect Piss Storm." It would be nice if he spent time on his "vacation" trying to help clean it up, instead of defending the indefensible: pretending that two of the twelve cartoons that are undeniably offensive aren't.

Perhaps fable might have been better to use than "fairy tale," but it's rather obvious that Flemming Rose doesn't give a shit. Right wingers have backed him up all the way. And now it seems that The Washington Post has allowed him to pen his own fa-fable which contains not one hint of the anti-immigration views which seem to have also "inspired" the paper to provocatively publish:

The cartoons were published amid the growth of an anti-immigrant sentiment in Denmark, reflected in the rise of the far-right Danish People's Party, which holds 13 percent of the seats in the Danish parliament. The party has helped to push through the toughest anti-immigration rules on the continent, including a prohibition on Danish citizens 24 or younger bringing in spouses from outside Denmark.

Nope. Flemming Rose doesn't talk about any of that. Flemming Rose just gives the people what he wants: absolution for their racism.


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