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aggroculture
09-19-2012, 04:53 PM
Seems like there's more to discuss here than in random headlines.
Here are two interesting articles I read recently: http://www.merip.org/mero/interventions/men-behaving-badly on the convergence of interests of right wing warmongers on both sides

and http://www.vice.com/read/the-innocence-of-white-people on the West's disavowal of its own violence towards Islam

DF118
09-24-2012, 01:06 AM
Seems like there's more to discuss here than in random headlines.
Here are two interesting articles I read recently: http://www.merip.org/mero/interventions/men-behaving-badly on the convergence of interests of right wing warmongers on both sides

and http://www.vice.com/read/the-innocence-of-white-people on the West's disavowal of its own violence towards Islam

It's not complex a situation when you consider this isn't about a video. Existing anger is being catalysed because the opportunity has presented itself, and there's a lot of anger towards the US following a handful of opportunistic wars. The situation has also been whetted somewhat by radical islamists who've taken advantage of a feeling of uncertainty following Arab Spring, and stirred things through the same means that was spawned (internet media, social networking).

Religion regresses.

Sutekh
09-24-2012, 09:00 AM
Suicide bombings have killed more pakistanis in the past 3 years than US drone strikes... I would wager that Islamists kill more Muslims than America & Israel. Please don't interpret this as my excusing or justifying US/Israeli policy, I just wonder where the Jordan/Algeria style rejection of/protests against Islamism are in places like Pakistan, where people suffer terrible losses at the hands of militant groups

As for the movie & furore... There is no side to pick, I despair at the whole affair

Jinsai
09-24-2012, 04:28 PM
As for the movie & furore... There is no side to pick, I despair at the whole affair

What bothers me most are the people I've seen saying things along the line of "free speech protections only go so far." Fuck that. People have the right to make whatever kind of insulting or offensive media they want to make, and I have the right to ignore it, or (in the case of this Innocence of Muslims trailer) laugh at it for being one of the stupidest pieces of shit I've ever seen.

Maybe the protesters should consider that the only reason someone like me (and millions of others) would actually watch this lame fucking movie is because they're making such a big deal about it. The Catholics figured that out when they realized that their protests for The Exorcist were actually driving ticket sales up. Shut up and deal with it like an adult if you don't like it, nobody's forcing you to watch it.

In fact, I'm willing to bet that the vast majority of people getting all pissed off about this movie haven't even watched it. You would be hard pressed to find a college student film that's more amateurish and laughably easy to ignore.

Sutekh
09-24-2012, 06:06 PM
but then, if the copts made this movie knowing full well that it would cause violence...

I'm wrestling with it tbh. I mean do Nazi propaganda and those hutu broadcasts telling people to massacre tutsis fall under the protective remit of free speech? I'm not sure they do... so if the makers of this film intended to provoke violence, and that's what resulted, surely they should be held to account for more than just exercising free speech. The film is so badly made, I have a hard time believing it was intended to do anything but provoke - and imo they knew full well how intense the reaction would be

It's odd, Bin Laden wanted to provoke an intractable conflict between the west and islam, but without being flippant, in 30-40 years time the afghanistan invasion will be water under the bridge. IMO what really caused the schism was the fatwa on salman rushdie - these really drew the possibly irreconcilable cultural differences between the two spheres into the global consciousness, what we see now is really an extension of that precedent rather than some uprising of assertive islamism ushered in by bin laden, zawahiri et al

Jinsai
09-25-2012, 01:08 AM
but then, if the copts made this movie knowing full well that it would cause violence...

I'm wrestling with it tbh. I mean do Nazi propaganda and those hutu broadcasts telling people to massacre tutsis fall under the protective remit of free speech? I'm not sure they do... so if the makers of this film intended to provoke violence, and that's what resulted, surely they should be held to account for more than just exercising free speech. The film is so badly made, I have a hard time believing it was intended to do anything but provoke - and imo they knew full well how intense the reaction would be

It's odd, Bin Laden wanted to provoke an intractable conflict between the west and islam, but without being flippant, in 30-40 years time the afghanistan invasion will be water under the bridge. IMO what really caused the schism was the fatwa on salman rushdie - these really drew the possibly irreconcilable cultural differences between the two spheres into the global consciousness, what we see now is really an extension of that precedent rather than some uprising of assertive islamism ushered in by bin laden, zawahiri et al

There's stuff out there way more intentionally and obviously insulting to Islam than the movie that everyone is freaking out about, and most of it is better made (which is saying very little). I'm suspicious why something so fucking amateur is showing up on people's outrage radar, when there's very popular videos openly mocking Mohammed in a much more effective way that seem to have been missed by these groups of outraged people... but perhaps that's beside the point?

With regards to freedom of speech, no, you absolutely should be allowed to intentionally outrage people. You should be allowed to intentionally piss people off. You should be allowed to take people's most sacred held beliefs and piss all over them if you see fit. Should you be allowed to openly and directly encourage other people to kill someone? I think that's a different thing, and on the basic point, I'd say no. There's a very big (and obvious) difference...

This whole situation keeps reminding me of The Satanic Verses, and that's unfortunate, because in that case you had a talented author writing a book that was NOT purposely inciting violence, and yet, the response was to encourage that the author be murdered. It's important to bring up the case though, because people react this way even if the work they're freaking out about is well reasoned and not a total piece of shit. We reserve the right to make fun of everything you hold sacred, and if you don't like it, don't listen. The people at fault are the individuals acting violent and encouraging unreasonable violence.

EDIT: When I read shit like this, I know exactly where I stand on the issue. The "US faces very dangerous repercussions if the full film is released?!" These people know the film isn't made by the US government right?! What the fuck is this bullshit? (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-19625167)

Does someone need to make a video informing people how our media works in America? We have a large portion of our media actively attacking the leader of this country! We don't control what gets "released" onto Youtube. Fuck. Do the people who are really super mad about this even understand how Youtube works?!

Sutekh
09-25-2012, 06:54 AM
But you can be intentionally provoking violence without explicitiy urging people to, for example the protocols of the elders of zion

I think you should be allowed to offend people and attack religions too, but I think if it can be proven that the only reason for this film was to incite violence and endanger western diplomats and ngo workers, the architects should be held to account & not treated as people simply exercising their right to criticise/offend - because they're up to something a bit more sinister

It's like shouting FIRE in a cinema and then saying you're only exercising free speech. It doesn't mean you bear zero responsibility for the consequences of your words and it also doesn't mean you have carte blanche to incite violence. I was on Rushdie's side during that whole debacle, but with this I feel the filmmakers are just as culpable as the rioters & have cynically exploited free speech in order to create a violent situation that will portray their political opponents in a bad light. If they knew this would happen, they are guilty of wrongdoing

Elke
09-25-2012, 12:47 PM
I'm going to contribute to this when I get over the fact that Jinsai just said something somewhat positive about Catholics.

littlemonkey613
09-25-2012, 05:46 PM
I think if it can be proven that the only reason for this film was to incite violence and endanger western diplomats and ngo workers, the architects should be held to account & not treated as people simply exercising their right to criticise/offend - because they're up to something a bit more sinister



I happen to know one of the actresses in the film (holy shit its a weird coincidence). I can assure you its as stupid and meaningless as it comes off as and was not intended to strike this kind of outrage.

Cat Mom
09-25-2012, 06:35 PM
The Catholics figured that out when they realized that their protests for The Exorcist were actually driving ticket sales up.
Not really. They still protest films before they see it.

I saw Godard's Hail Mary (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hail_Mary_%28film%29) at a theater on the University of Michigan campus the day it was released, and there were nuns protesting out front, with candle-lit vigils, and there was a bomb threat. (the way the university security handled the bomb threat was hilarious: "um, excuse me ... could you look under your chair and see if there's anything under there?" We didn't find out about the bomb threat until after we left.) (It was a REALLY funny film, btw. Too bad the nuns didn't bother to actually watch it before bringing all those candles.)

Oh, and don't forget Dogma (http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/1999/oct/05/news).

I think I read that Islamic scripture is very strict about saying anything bad about Islam or Mohammad, or about depicting Mohammed in any way. ANY way. Even if it's a nice way. And if you do this, they put a contract out on your ass.


Does someone need to make a video informing people how our media works in America? We have a large portion of our media actively attacking the leader of this country! We don't control what gets "released" onto Youtube. Fuck. Do the people who are really super mad about this even understand how Youtube works?!
Yes. Somebody really does. Why aren't they threatening to blow up YouTube? Anyway, I guess they're all pissed because America allowed the production of this film. So, no, they don't really understand freedom of speech. At all.

Sutekh
09-26-2012, 06:06 AM
I happen to know one of the actresses in the film (holy shit its a weird coincidence). I can assure you its as stupid and meaningless as it comes off as and was not intended to strike this kind of outrage.

Was it written and produced by the actors? Really we have to look at the producers

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nakoula_Basseley_Nakoula

The guy's a copt with an axe to grind with islam, he has a history of transgressional behaviour... I remain convinced he did this to stir shit

miss k bee
09-26-2012, 07:13 AM
I read at work the original script was over dubbed so script the actors had was not the same as what was on the released film. The filmmaker is an idiot he just gave islamic extremists further ammo to hate America.

R-Dot-Yung
09-26-2012, 09:44 AM
I read at work the original script was over dubbed so script the actors had was not the same as what was on the released film. The filmmaker is an idiot he just gave islamic extremists further ammo to hate America.

I know we were BFF with islamic extremists before.

Sutekh
09-26-2012, 11:03 AM
???
It is possible to make a problem worse

Elke
09-26-2012, 12:16 PM
I know we were BFF with islamic extremists before.

The point is that while before many islamist groups had to fabricate evidence of The Great Satans attempts to bully and ridicule muslims, but the more Qur'an burning and Muhammed bashing bullshit people swing around, the less fabrications are necessary and the more their rhetoric is rooted in a form of reality.

And that's a huge threat.

Jinsai
09-28-2012, 04:26 AM
just in case anyone hadn't actually watched some of this before formulating their opinion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAiOEV0v2RM

I am suspicious. I do not understand how anyone could become upset about this. Especially since people got outraged about this within hours?!

This has been sitting around on the web since 2006, and nobody's freaked out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyTsDweDDLU

Hazekiah
09-28-2012, 05:50 AM
I think you pretty much answered your own question about the first video by posting the second.

In other news, thanks for my introducing me to one of my new favorite web series! Several episodes in and so far YAAFM is fucking hilarious, lol.

Sutekh
09-28-2012, 08:46 AM
just in case anyone hadn't actually watched some of this before formulating their opinion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAiOEV0v2RM

I am suspicious. I do not understand how anyone could become upset about this. Especially since people got outraged about this within hours?!

This has been sitting around on the web since 2006, and nobody's freaked out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyTsDweDDLU

Most of them haven't actually seen the film. Also factor in illiteracy levels (high), it's just a huge case of chinese whispers. Even the literate, net-savvy ones in the middle east are posting whacked out comments on al jazeera and press tv etc - "israel and americas governents approved this film, it cost 500 million, it has all hollywood stars in it", etc

Fixer808
09-28-2012, 10:13 AM
Fortunately, not everybody is losing their shit right now. A newspaper in Egypt ran a rebuttal to that French paper's comics portraying Muhammed, a few comics of its own. I'm not sure what those comics SAID, but it wasn't a general call for the French paper's immediate destruction. I believe the article said that the Egyptian comics said something about "fighting cartoons with cartoons".

Sutekh
09-28-2012, 10:17 AM
There was also a peaceful protest in Afghanistan the day before yesterday

Jinsai
09-28-2012, 03:19 PM
There was also a peaceful protest in Afghanistan the day before yesterday

I'm sorry, when I first read this I thought you were being sarcastic. The fact that it's uncommon and noteworthy that a protest would be peaceful is so strange.

But here's the part that is really frustrating me. You say that even some of the literate and net savvy people angry about this are confused about it having a 500 million dollar budget and an all star cast? How is it possible to think that after watching even 2 seconds of it?

Sutekh
09-28-2012, 03:51 PM
They're just not familiar enough with our culture. When I say savvy, I mean it relatively. Seems obvious to us that the whole production is a bit wayne's world, but not necessarily to a guy in peshawar. Even if he has the internet, he still lives in and is a product of a culture that is very different to ours. To draw another example... India is pretty westernised, but I defy you to watch a bollywood film and not think "wtf?!" at least once. The forms and conventions are very different. 100 years ago Brits would flee a cinema projection of an oncoming train. What seems self evident to us media initiates, isn't necessarily objectively evident

Similarly I'm not at all surprised that afghan tajiks staged a peaceful protest - because of my dealings with tajiks. We need moar internets so we can actually talk to each other instead of letting media and policymakers shape our estimations of each others' cultures. It sounds deeply cheesy and I loathe to sound like the teacher from beavis and butthead, but this whole debacle proves it to be the case

aggroculture
09-28-2012, 04:41 PM
http://gawker.com/5943828/13-powerful-images-of-muslim-rage
http://en.avaaz.org/783/muslim-rage-protests-newsweek-salafists?utm_source=avaaz_newsletter&utm_medium=blast&utm_campaign=stop-the-clash

"Early estimates put participation in anti-film protests at between 0.001 (http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/09/20129168313878423.html) and 0.007% (http://news.sky.com/story/986078/prophet-film-protests-a-stormy-week-ahead) of the world's 1.5 billion Muslims – a tiny fraction of those who marched for democracy in the Arab spring."

I think this is a very important point: there's people on both sides invested in making us believe that the whole muslim world is up in arms about this, when in fact it's a tiny proportion.

Jinsai
09-28-2012, 05:30 PM
http://gawker.com/5943828/13-powerful-images-of-muslim-rage
http://en.avaaz.org/783/muslim-rage-protests-newsweek-salafists?utm_source=avaaz_newsletter&utm_medium=blast&utm_campaign=stop-the-clash

"Early estimates put participation in anti-film protests at between 0.001 (http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/09/20129168313878423.html) and 0.007% (http://news.sky.com/story/986078/prophet-film-protests-a-stormy-week-ahead) of the world's 1.5 billion Muslims – a tiny fraction of those who marched for democracy in the Arab spring."

I think this is a very important point: there's people on both sides invested in making us believe that the whole muslim world is up in arms about this, when in fact it's a tiny proportion.

And yet, percentages aside, it's still distressing when you read "Thousands of people took to the streets of the Afghan capital on Monday, setting fire to cars and shouting 'death to America'" in that link you provided. Thousands of people may be a small percentage of the world's Muslim population, but it's still a horrifying demographic representative of a group (no matter how small it may be) that is violent and horribly misinformed.

Elke
09-29-2012, 02:22 AM
http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/the-45-dumbest-signs-at-the-912-teabagger-rally

And there are fewer Americans than muslims...

Now tell me, if you were a Pakistani muslim and you saw some of those signs. Wouldn't you think: Fuck Americans. It might be a small percentage, but it's still a horrifying demographic representative of a group that is violently misinformed.
They may not all be vandalizing mosques and burning Qur'ans, but they're equally scary, because they're much more influential.

Jinsai
09-29-2012, 02:27 AM
Wouldn't you think: Fuck Americans. It might be a small percentage, but it's still a horrifying demographic representative of a group that is violently misinformed.

I'm not saying "fuck Muslims." I'm not a fan of religion in general, but unlike a lot of other people who hold disdain for religion, I don't have a special dislike for Islam. I'm equal opportunity when it comes to this kind of thing, and I'm sure you know that. Still, I know the difference between the majority of Muslims and the people who are acting like morons here. The people I'm particularly frustrated with here are the people acting like morons. I'll take issue with Americans who voice moronic and ignorant opinions too.

Actually, just to even the discussion here in a more basic way, many times I actually do think "fuck americans" (out of frustration).

littlemonkey613
09-29-2012, 07:02 AM
wrong thread again omg i suck

Elke
09-29-2012, 08:41 AM
What I meant was: you're annoyed and frustrated by the dumb shits walking the streets shouting death to America. Maybe all those people need to see is a couple of American dumb shits to feel justified in doing that.

As always, the vocal minorities are ruining it for the rest of us.

Jinsai
09-29-2012, 05:21 PM
What I meant was: you're annoyed and frustrated by the dumb shits walking the streets shouting death to America. Maybe all those people need to see is a couple of American dumb shits to feel justified in doing that.

As always, the vocal minorities are ruining it for the rest of us.

But what's the solution? I mean, take away what's inspiring morons to do stupid things... isn't the fundamental unsolvable problem that there's morons out there?

Magtig
09-29-2012, 07:04 PM
The fundamental unsolvable problem is that extreme violence is hard coded into our DNA.

Sutekh
09-29-2012, 07:35 PM
But what's the solution? I mean, take away what's inspiring morons to do stupid things... isn't the fundamental unsolvable problem that there's morons out there?

More dialogue and cultural cross pollenation is the solution to problems like this

It won't make morons go away, but it will help stop misunderstandings like this - the west thinking Muslims are ignorant and intolerant, eastern muslims thinking all westerners are part of an agenda to shit all over their region & culture

aggroculture
09-29-2012, 07:49 PM
The fundamental unsolvable problem is that extreme violence is hard coded into our DNA.

Let's not biologize this. To me it seems like these people, or certainly some of them - though they may express them in forms incomprehensible or even offensive to our Western sensibilities - have some genuine grievances against the US. They feel powerless, they feel humiliated - by US imperialism, oil interests, the US military with its boot firmly planted in the middle east. They are governed by tyrants who are in many ways puppets of the US - and live in poverty and frustration and ignorance. Thus many young men and women turn to extremism: fascisms and extreme movements always flourish where there are resentment and feelings of powerlessness. Part of the solution is for the US to change its politics of empire and world domination through military force.

Elke
09-30-2012, 02:54 AM
^ I'm afraid that's what I believe, as well.

I meant magtig's post, however much sense aggro's making.

DF118
09-30-2012, 03:22 AM
Thus many young men and women turn to extremism: fascisms and extreme movements always flourish where there are resentment and feelings of powerlessness.

It's worth making explicit that this leads to the desire for vengeance, which in turn motivates terrorism.

Jinsai
09-30-2012, 04:35 AM
Maybe a good start towards a solution would be if the rational muslim community banded together, and mocked the people stupid enough to be upset about this ridiculous movie. Maybe the people who are a bit more informed about the way our media works could take steps towards informing these idiots about how we don't control what gets uploaded to the net. It's not good enough to just say "these people don't represent Islam." How about saying "Hey protesters, stop being dumbfucks who make us Muslims look bad! This movie is bullshit, and nobody should care!"

Maybe I missed that though. Have there been counter protests from Muslim groups who are saying the movie isn't a big deal, nobody should care because it's a fucking joke, and that the people making a big deal about it are irrational morons?

liquidcalm
09-30-2012, 06:52 AM
Maybe I missed that though. Have there been counter protests from Muslim groups who are saying the movie isn't a big deal, nobody should care because it's a fucking joke, and that the people making a big deal about it are irrational morons?

well that wouldn't make a particularly good news story to keep people in fear of the middle east... </conspiracy >

Sutekh
09-30-2012, 08:25 AM
Yep, there are such protests and groups, but they don't get much media attention because it's not as exciting/attention grabbing/profitable for msm as the crazies.

Same as the movements that oppose groups like Westboro Baptist Church and the English Defence League don't get as much attention as the groups they're against, despite being larger

miss k bee
10-01-2012, 08:52 PM
There have been counter protests against the killing of the US Ambassador in Benghazi yes.

Jinsai
10-01-2012, 10:22 PM
There have been counter protests against the killing of the US Ambassador in Benghazi yes.

That's not the point exactly, at least not from what I've seen. The counter protests I've seen have featured people saying things like "this doesn't represent islam." I'm not saying it hasn't happened, but I haven't seen a counter protest where people actually point out to these outraged mobs that the movie is an amateurish joke, and that anyone who is angry about it is acting like a fool.

Elke
10-02-2012, 03:19 PM
I'm sorry, but doesn't walking around the streets with a sign saying 'The other guys are getting it wrong' pretty much a clear effort in pointing out they're acting like fools?

Whether something is amateurish or not is irrelevant. An amateur antisemite is still an antisemite, and an amateur gay basher who rushes to it with two toilet rolls and an empty plastic bottle is still trying to hurt someone, albeit in a miserably incompetent way. So I don't quite see why that aspect of it is so important to you: some jerk wanted people to react, sure, and he got what he wanted. Some muslims are now saying: The burning and stuff? Not kosjer. (Or, in their case: halal.) Why do you want more?

Jinsai
10-02-2012, 04:51 PM
Some muslims are now saying: The burning and stuff? Not kosjer. (Or, in their case: halal.) Why do you want more?

I'm really not sure, in so much as it actually needs to be backed by some kind of solution, but I want the people protesting to realize that they've been acting like fucking idiots. I want the people yelling "death to america" to take a step back and say "whoops, wow do I feel ridiculous."

Actually, I'd love it if this was somehow profoundly turned around perception-wise in such a way that it made Hezbollah look outrageous for their support and involvement. I want a "holy shit" moment of realization, and maybe it's a strange kind of (somewhat vindictive) optimism, but I actually think it's possible when you have something this monumentally stupid at the center of the argument.

But how do we get people to wake up and realize that they've been upset about something foolish, and that their outrage is actually petulant whining that makes them look ridiculous? How do we get the outraged protesters to realize that the people they should be mad at are the extremists who got them so worked up? I'm really not sure, all I know is that it's sure as shit not going to come from the West.

WorzelG
10-02-2012, 06:09 PM
the people who are carrying out the violent protests have probably been goaded into it for political ends - they probably haven't seen the video nor give a shit about youtube nor artistic integrity, they probably don't own computers. they're probably really really poor, proper third world poor, living in a political / religious tinder box

Jinsai
10-02-2012, 06:42 PM
they probably haven't seen the video

And this is a recurring assumption that I think is almost certainly correct, and maybe there's something to that. People need to see this movie in order to understand how absolutely ridiculous it is. Maybe someone can make an edited version that takes out the stuff that's apparently really insulting (whatever that is) and somehow broadcast it at the protests to show people how insignificant what they're bitching about is.

I understand that the whole thing is fueled by an irrational rage, but still, seeing even a few seconds of this production should take the wind out of people's sails.

orestes
10-02-2012, 06:56 PM
the people who are carrying out the violent protests have probably been goaded into it for political ends - they probably haven't seen the video nor give a shit about youtube nor artistic integrity, they probably don't own computers. they're probably really really poor, proper third world poor, living in a political / religious tinder box

Not exactly. (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/sydney-protesters-call-for-beheadings/story-e6frg6nf-1226474756501)

miss k bee
10-02-2012, 09:16 PM
The people who are protesting probebly already hate America anyway and the video whether they have seen it or not is just an excuse for them to vent their hate.

Elke
10-03-2012, 05:15 AM
I also think it's at least in part about two cultural concepts that are completely opposite: irreverence and reverence.

At the heart of our western 20th century idea of critical thinking is the idea that irreverence is a good thing, that taking a step back from your own feelings about a subject and daring to mock the silly (and sometimes the serious) aspects of it is a good thing. Just think of the Holocaust, something Europeans especially still remember with a lot of gravitas and shame. Yet half of my arsenal of jokes is about WWII, and most of those are along the vein of 'What's a jew with a gas oven? A big fan of DIY'. Not taking yourself, your ideas and ideals, very seriously and subsequently not taking much of anything else very seriously is a very serious aspect of our democracy. The more we mock something, the more important we know it to be.

The idea of reverence, however, is extremely important to certain groups of people. Think of the Bible belters in the US, or those people on the streets burning flags. The simple act of burning flags shows how important reverence is to them: they can't think of a more offensive thing to do than to burn a flag. This symbolic act holds a great significance to them, as much as making a picture of the prophet or - God forbid - God. For them, taking things seriously starts with taking yourself and your ideals seriously, and spreads to taking everyone else seriously.

I've noticed this clash in my own classroom: I'm extremely irreverent, constantly making jokes about Jesus and God. There's a deep faith and a genuine affection for them in everything I say and do, but some of my religious students can't see beyond the words themselves because they take me very seriously. When I mock God, I mock God - it's not a playful attempt at speaking about him in a way that I'm comfortable with, it's sacrilige.
Many of my muslim students in the first months that they're in my class have difficulty taking me seriously as a religion teacher and a religious person because I don't take anything too seriously, while for them being religious means taking everything exceptionally seriously.

I don't know if I'm making any sense here, but I can't come up with a better way to explain what I mean.

Jinsai
10-03-2012, 06:24 AM
I also think it's at least in part about two cultural concepts that are completely opposite: irreverence and reverence.

At the heart of our western 20th century idea of critical thinking is the idea that irreverence is a good thing, that taking a step back from your own feelings about a subject and daring to mock the silly (and sometimes the serious) aspects of it is a good thing. Just think of the Holocaust, something Europeans especially still remember with a lot of gravitas and shame. Yet half of my arsenal of jokes is about WWII, and most of those are along the vein of 'What's a jew with a gas oven? A big fan of DIY'. Not taking yourself, your ideas and ideals, very seriously and subsequently not taking much of anything else very seriously is a very serious aspect of our democracy. The more we mock something, the more important we know it to be.

The idea of reverence, however, is extremely important to certain groups of people. Think of the Bible belters in the US, or those people on the streets burning flags. The simple act of burning flags shows how important reverence is to them: they can't think of a more offensive thing to do than to burn a flag. This symbolic act holds a great significance to them, as much as making a picture of the prophet or - God forbid - God. For them, taking things seriously starts with taking yourself and your ideals seriously, and spreads to taking everyone else seriously.

I've noticed this clash in my own classroom: I'm extremely irreverent, constantly making jokes about Jesus and God. There's a deep faith and a genuine affection for them in everything I say and do, but some of my religious students can't see beyond the words themselves because they take me very seriously. When I mock God, I mock God - it's not a playful attempt at speaking about him in a way that I'm comfortable with, it's sacrilige.
Many of my muslim students in the first months that they're in my class have difficulty taking me seriously as a religion teacher and a religious person because I don't take anything too seriously, while for them being religious means taking everything exceptionally seriously.

I don't know if I'm making any sense here, but I can't come up with a better way to explain what I mean.

Well, maybe a nice gesture would be to have our president burn the US flag and say "calm the fuck down. Grow the fuck up. These are just symbols. Stop acting like children." That sounds like a good "counter protest," as much as I realize that it's just a silly fantasy.

I don't know what to do about it, obviously nobody is empowered to really "solve" the problem here, but there's such a disconnect between cultures that trying to reason it out seems so impossible that it terrifies me. We're sitting at a really frustrating time in our own country that this kind of outside perspective which misrepresents "america" in a a lot of ways is very unfortunate. Maybe it's because we're on the brink of an election, and how we seem to the rest of the world based on how we vote will play a large part in representing what "we're about."

I know you're obviously not a big fan of the religion bashing in general, but when I sit here frustrated with how to escape this stalemate, the only solution is to stop believing in ridiculous supernatural things that take precedence over common sense. Iran still has a death sentence for apostasy. It's mind boggling to people in the US, but to be fair, we have our equal numbers of confounding stupidity on both sides of the aisle.

Still, only the right is bogged down with mystifying denials of things they can google... and that's been my running irritation with this: if only everyone mad about this movie would just fucking GOOGLE IT then they wouldn't be so mad! Because it's moronic! It's like getting mad about a child's fingerpainting!

And, as you pointed out earlier, we have people over here who think Obama's "you didn't build that" speech was saying something different than it was very obviously saying... to the point where the opposition party used that soundbyte as the theme for their campaign. If only the tea party people would actually google the full quote about "you didn't build that," we'd be better off too, but it's not happening. We're too invested in being ignorant assholes... but at least the tea party people are content so far with making fools of themselves and offering up empty threats of civil war if they don't get their way.

I think on some level the solution should just be to act a little smarter, and to think twice and question what you've been told your whole life. What bothers me more about who wins the presidency is actually more related to what kind of discourse I have to tolerate, not the lesser of two evils. I'm honestly kind of terrified, and I cannot wait for November 6th to come and go, to get rid of this anxiety. I guess I'm rambling a bit.

But really, people need to stop being sad about some childish movie and grow up. I'm sorry to everyone who is upset about this movie, but the world doesn't revolve around what you think is special, and I'll burn whatever it takes to make you realize that I don't think like you do. I'll burn an effigy of Jesus wrapped in the American flag. I don't fucking care. GROW UP. Please, for the love of whatever the fuck it is you believe in, calm down about how some amateur post-porn director made a stupid 15 minute movie and uploaded it to youtube.

I don't know. Whatever the solution is, it is in the completely opposite direction of this (http://www.smh.com.au/world/push-to-call-blasphemy-a-crime-20120922-26dlu.html)

Elke
10-03-2012, 08:25 AM
I'm above and beyond worried about this as well. I'm dealing with a generation of students who are religiously illiterate and/or see their religion as part of their ethnic identity. The confrontations in my classroom sometimes border on epic, in all the bad senses of the word. Coming from a secular background I suppose the disconnect between the two world views is even bigger than in the States, where at least religion (in however a debatable fashion) is part of public life and public discourse.

I don't think the key lies in simply abolishing religion. We've had this conversation before, in various permutations :). But I think our need for ideologies to guide us, to bind us to eachother (which is, after all, also the ethymology behind the word religion) isn't limited to made-up-creature worship. We also have upcoming local elections, where the central problem is one of nationalism, of us Dutch-speaking Flemish Belgians and them - the evil, left-wing walloon frogs. There's absolutely no refinement or nuance in the debate, and there's a harshness to the discours that borders on violence. So in a way, I think it's inherent to human nature.
You're not going to like what I'm about to say next, but I truly believe that as much as ideology lends itself to fashism and totalitarianism on a political level, it also allows us to make our 'inner circle' bigger. There's something incredibly powerful about the concept of 'all men are equal' that is at the heart of christianity, for instance, as well as buddhism. There's something transcendent about karma, samsara, orishas, qi, umma, charity... that helps people broaden their perspective on the world. Humanism has similar key concepts, like humanity and dignity.

If we're going to cross the gaps, it has to be through conversation and education. It's why I'm such a big advocate of teaching children about religion as well as culture and politics, and teaching them about as much of it as you can. I truly believe that the solution lies in small attempts at local conversations between every single faction in society. Not in an us vs. them rhetoric (meet the town's Sikh), but in a 'we' frame of mind.

Education, education, education. Whether it's Tea Partyers carrying signs that are both stupendously moronic and incredibly aggressive or it's women in hijab burning the American flag, it's all born from ignorance.

miss k bee
10-04-2012, 08:55 PM
http://www.quilliamfoundation.org/press-releases/quilliam-launches-new-concept-paper-no-compulsion-in-religion-an-islamic-case-against-blasphemy-laws/

R-Dot-Yung
10-04-2012, 09:00 PM
Haters gonna hate yo

Elke
10-05-2012, 07:06 AM
Thanks for the link miss k bee!

Sutekh
10-11-2012, 09:40 AM
Man, this blanket coverage of widespread anti taliban protests in pakistan is boring me

Oh wait!

Jinsai
10-11-2012, 04:35 PM
Man, this blanket coverage of widespread anti taliban protests in pakistan is boring me

Oh wait!

This is in response to the shooting of Malala Yousafzai?

Sutekh
10-11-2012, 05:03 PM
Yep, although they have been pissing people off this year. This shooting is maybe the PK taliban's equivalent of the Enniskillen bombing, in that even supporters are outraged