Thursday, May 20, 2010

It's Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!

Per the South Park episode "200", I've cleverly dressed Mohammed up as a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich to protest the notion that it should be forbidden to display physical depictions of that supposed prophet. Make no mistake though: this is clearly an image of Mohammed and he looks both savory and delicious. I love free speech.

[Update: On a personal note, I would like to wish friend of this blog and Thunder from Down Under magpie's dear momma a very happy birthday from halfway around the world. All the best, Ma'am.]

[Update II: Reason.com lists their favorites, which are all better than mine, most notably because they're all actual drawings.]


Doug"e" said...

However I think he would look even more savory and delicious slathered with some creamy mayonaise. Just as with speech, there is no accounting for taste.

JBW said...

Again with the mayo, Doug"e". I guess I'll just never figure you white people out. Fortunately I have a secret weapon for occasions such as this. Booyah.

magpie said...

My mum is only vaguely aware of what the Internet does, but I will tell her a nice Texan man wished her well. Thank you.

It has occurred to you, of course, that being able to say anything also enables cults to indoctrinate their followers with lies and dogma that could be the death of them and others? That unfettered freedom of speech enables the Westboro Baptist Church to hurl abuse at grieving families and tell them their loved ones are going to Hell? That by absolute and literal adherence to that one element of the First Amendment - as if it were some kind of Biblical commandment - that you could let forces of hate and stagnancy kill the society it was meant to protect?

You are cloaking yourself in moral legitimacy by saying anything said about anyone is legitimate, however damaging, however wrong, however malign.

JBW said...

I've never advocated being able to say anything, magpie. As I've mentioned, free speech does and should have some limitations but I would like those limitations to be very narrowly defined.

Are you suggesting that lying be made illegal? I don't mean lying that there are already laws against, like lying by the government to its people or lying in the course of a business contract but all lying. And if you are, will you include the Pope talking about Heaven and Hell and Muslims saying that it's a sin to portray Mohammed with your cult members? That all sounds like lies to me; and who gets to decide what are lies and what aren't?

The Westboro Baptist Church is already currently involved in a law suit concerning their despicable speech. As I understand it, they have been ordered by the courts to maintain a certain distance from any funerals they wish to protest. Would you deny them the ability to say anything mean or hurtful? What about Nazis and skin heads? What about tea partiers and war protesters? Would you censor anyone you didn't agree with, or just the people you really don't agree with? And if not you, who should decide what is a lie or too mean and therefore illegal to say?

Again, I don't advocate an absolute and literal adherence to the First Amendment as if it were some kind of Biblical commandment. I freely admit that the First Amendment should include some boundaries; I don't hear many religious people saying the same about what's written in their tracts. All I'm saying is that allowing the state to limit free speech has the potential to be very dangerous in a free society and that power should be extremely limited.

And of course I'm not saying that anything said about anyone is legitimate, however damaging, however wrong, however malign. I'm only advocating for the right and ability to say those things if one so chooses. Freedom isn't free; everything has consequences. Hateful and unpopular speech deserves to be protected as much as any other and I believe that a truly free society is strong and civilized enough to survive the forces of hate and stagnancy such speech produces. In fact, the right to free speech is one of the things that makes it so.