by Jennifer Bowman
I've always considered myself somewhat of a diverse person. I'm accepting of other people's ideas and beliefs, and I'm not easily offended. I'm actually pretty easygoing as far as other people go. It's all about being a part of the big Melting Pot.
But recently, I've found something that has irritated; nay, enraged me. So a Danish newspaper publishes some cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, who isn't supposed to be drawn. Muslims are offended. Their logical solution? "Kill all Christians and Jews."
Obviously! Innocent people must die, society should fall, and war should break loose just because of a cartoon!
I'm reminded of an event a few months ago in which I wrote an article about Gary Trudeau's "Doonesbury" cartoon. To be honest, I still read "Doonesbury" occasionally and I don't even recall which cartoon it was that offended me.
People have already been killed in riots over this. Embassies have been shut down and western-looking people have to have bodyguards in order to walk around heavily Islamic areas.
I'm honestly trying to understand how genocide (or rather, theocide) would resolve the issue. In the United States, various shows and people poke fun at Jesus, and I have yet to hear of TV producers being murdered because of it. Can't people take a joke?
Here's how things are done in America. If someone or something offends the Christian right, then Jerry Falwell tells us to boycott it and no one listens. If someone or something offends the liberal left, then South Park makes an episode making fun of them for being offended. All in all, everyone ultimately learns to get along, or at least, get over it. Which is always a lot better than, say, mass murder.
Look, if you're going to be a productive member of this globalized world, you HAVE to work together with the rest of us. Don't be offended by a cartoon. Besides, it's just Denmark. Whoever thought that the Danes could have a non-breakfast impact on society?
I'm certainly starting to have a newfound appreciation for this "freedom of speech" thing. You know, it's not so free in other countries. England has this Official Secrets Act that punishes people who reveal private government information. The United States, on the other hand, has the Freedom of Information Act, which is pretty self-explanatory. Recently in Austria, someone has been put in jail for three years for denying the Holocaust. Don't get me wrong, it's a ridiculous claim to make, but as Voltaire said, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
And others agree with him. There's already verbal backlash against this crazy ordeal. Any reasonable Muslim will tell you that they certainly don't agree with the violence that the extremists of their religion promote. People are creating animations on websites such as ytmnd.com to make fun of the extremists.
I think we're learning that humor is the best weapon against fanaticism.