Monday, May 31, 2010

Facebook Pulls a Molly Norris

Facebook decides that freedom of expression just isn't worth the trouble:

Pakistan lifted a ban on Facebook on Monday after officials from the social networking site apologized for a page deemed offensive to Muslims and removed its contents, a top information technology official said.

The move came almost two weeks after Pakistan imposed the ban amid anger over a page that encouraged users to post images of Islam's Prophet Muhammad. Many Muslims regard depictions of the prophet, even favorable ones, as blasphemous.

"In response to our protest, Facebook has tendered their apology and informed us that all the sacrilegious material has been removed from the URL," said Najibullah Malik, secretary of Pakistan's information technology ministry, referring to the technical term for a Web page.

Facebook assured the Pakistani government that "nothing of this sort will happen in the future," Malik said.

Officials from the website could not immediately be reached for comment. They said earlier the contents of the "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!" page did not violate Facebook's terms.
Will Facebook now extend the same sensitivity to all religions, and take down any page that anyone in any given faith deems "offensive"? Or will only Muslim governments like Pakistan be allowed a permanent veto over what Western users post?

As much as I disagree with Molly Norris for her turnaround and how she's handled it—be sure to check out her editorial cartoon for a Pakistani newspaper about the French ban on the face veil—I can at least sympathize with where her head was at and what she's been going through. Facebook (henceforth known as "Veilbook") gets no such sympathy. And the Veilbook turnaround is going to be far more damaging to our freedoms in the long run.

We really have learned nothing since the days of Salman Rushdie. Not a damn thing.

Friday, May 28, 2010

"Arlington"

[Guest post by The Captain.]

Gray mornings seem to fit when you're walking alongside the fence at Arlington National Cemetery. Rows of identical, small grave markers, occasionally interrupted by an over-sized one. Which looks almost gaudy, if you such a thing can be believed; it certainly seems a bit out of place, that a family or bereaved spouse spent money for a different, and almost certainly larger, monument to their fallen one.

The remnants of last night's rain make the grass glisten, as well as clean the dust and pollen off the markers, which helps them look as smart as possible. The tiny American flags only recently placed at the foot of each marker level the playing field. I think so anyhow. A big black marble monument still gets a diminutive flag to mark Memorial Day, 2010. The large monuments dwarf their flags, and for a moment I thought the bigger markers seemed humbled by that flag, reminded that their death was in the name of that same flag posted thousands of times over across the grassy hills. Money spent on shiny marble didn't matter when those lives were lost, and it doesn't matter as the years pass quietly at Arlington.

There is a fuss taking place that the President wasn't going to participate in this year's Memorial Day observance. I don't think very highly of this President's politics, but I don't think that he should be damned for that decision. If you don't want to come, please don't, Mister President. If it's not truly significant to you to remember those who died, the ones buried at Arlington and those who aren't, go elsewhere this weekend. False sincerity is a hallmark of politics, and you are certainly a politician. False sincerity doesn't pass muster at Arlington National Cemetery. Not ever, and certainly not on Memorial Day. Take that false sincerity elsewhere; someone else might truly appreciate it. At this place, at this time, the tranquil, somber, sacred home of the remains of so many who died to make it possible for you to dance and spin your way through each day you serve as President of the United States does not need you here. I think they understand it if you are elsewhere, and they may even appreciate your absence in their unspeakable thoughts and prayers.

Arlington is the home of the fortunate, fallen few. Among the presidents, judges, explorers, and yes, politicians, along with the military personnel, now numbering in total over 300,000. But the physical remains of so many who have served their country honorably, and paid that ultimate price, do not rest here. Their families don't have the ability to visit the individual memorial to their hero. They may not have the comfort in knowing what happened to their missing one; they may not know where those remains rest, or perhaps only rested for a while. A memorial isn't much...but it can be something. The few who rest here offer the potential for a visit, for remembering what was and could have been, and for a way to honor those memories. At times, those things can mean very much to a person who feels grateful, or proud, or lonely. More than a name on a monument, or in a ledger, or the treasured memories in a photograph or letter. Especially for the few who recall that Memorial Day is more than a reason to sleep in, go to the beach, cook on a grill, shop, or drink too much. Especially for the few who look forward to paying their respects and showing their appreciation to their fallen one.

The lyrics, and the video, for a favorite country song say a great deal about those who have fallen, and a great deal to those who love them. If you've already decided that country songs are crap, I bid you farewell now. For anyone still reading, please ponder the lyrics to Arlington, and check out the video if you're so inclined.

I never thought that this is where I'd settle down; I thought I'd die an old man back in my hometown.
They gave me this plot of land, me and some other men, for a job well done.
There's a big white house sits on a hill just up the road; the man inside, he cried the day they brought me home.
They folded up a flag, and told my mom and dad, "We're proud of your son."

And I'm proud to be on this peaceful piece of property; I'm on sacred ground and I'm in the best of company.
I'm thankful for those thankful for the things I've done; I can rest in peace, I'm one of the chosen ones...
I made it to Arlington.

I remember daddy brought me here when I was eight; we searched all day to find out where my granddad lay.
And when we finally found that cross, he said, "Son this is what it cost, to keep us free."
Now here I am a thousand stones away from him; he recognized me on the first day I came in.
And it gave me a chill, when he clicked his heels, and saluted me.

And I'm proud to be on this peaceful piece of property; I'm on sacred ground and I'm in the best of company.
I'm thankful for those thankful for the things I've done; I can rest in peace, I'm one of the chosen ones...
I made it to Arlington.

And every time I hear, twenty-one guns, I know they brought another hero home, to us.

We're thankful for those thankful for the things we've done; we can rest in peace, 'cause we were the chosen ones.
We made it to Arlington.
Yeah, dust to dust; don't cry for us.
We made it to Arlington.
Still proud to have served; still grateful for those who have gone on ahead of me. Remember to remember Memorial Day. And God bless the United States of America.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Time for a Recharge

Simply put, paying work and family responsibilities have been hammering me for the last two weeks. Throw in a serious push on some "serious" writing I'd like to finally finish that world-ending Mayan stuff in 2012, and this blog really should be retitled In My Energyless and Nonexistent Free Time.

Sure, I'd love to get all harsh about the 24 finale, which may be the worst season ending possible for the worst season ever. (How about that magic pen of moral evaluation?) And go on about how much I loved the Lost finale. (Thanks for remembering including Vincent, Lost writers!) Or spoof President Calderone's standing ovation before Congress and Rand Paul's trying to get his foot out of his mouth. Or really even just take one final parting shot at Arlen Specter.

Thing is, between the exhaustion of work, family, and other writing, I'm also having trouble seeing the humor in politics right now. And that means it's time to step back for a bit, finish what has to be finished, and then come back when I'm recharged.

These blog lulls never tend to last as long as I think they will, so I know I'll be back at full charge soon. Until then, though, it'll be light posting for a while.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sweet, Yet Creepy

Walking the dog the other night, I spotted a message written in various colors of chalk. The message stretched from just before the porch of a certain house all the way along the walk to the curb:

Dianne, I would kill to take you to prom!
That wasn't all, though. Because at the very end of the message was the chalk outline of a dead body, like you see at crime scenes on television.

That's so sweet, I stood there thinking. And so very, very creepy.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Because Today Is "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day"


UPDATE: The Quote of the Day for "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day," from ColoradoPatriot:

The point behind Everybody Draw Muhammed Day is not about sensitivities. It’s not about recklessly and needlessly and unemotionally insulting someone. It’s about saying to Muslims: This is 2010. You’re entitled to be offended and even get angry if someone insults your religion. You’re entitled to call them terrible names and damn them to hell. You’re entitled to curse them and (if you feel it’s productive) take [an] eye for a metaphorical eye by similarly insulting their religion. But you’re NOT entitled to kill people because of that anger. . . .

For me, drawing a picture of Muhammed today is not about poking a stick in the Muslim Community’s eye. . . . It’s about throwing oneself on a hand-grenade along with thousands (hopefully) of others so that the jihadists and radical Islamists see that they can’t kill us all.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Dale Peterson Makes My Morning, My Day, and My Entire Freakin' Week

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Boilerplate Kind of Guy


"To answer your question, Senator, not only did I fail to read the Arizona law on illegal immigration before I criticized it, I didn't even read that last set of questions the Committee sent over to my office before I gave you my written responses..."

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Revolution Muslim: In Their Own Words

On CNN:


At the Salute to Israel Day Parade, New York, June 2008:


At the Muslim Day Parade, New York, October 2009:


"Letter on Behalf of Muslims to Barack Obama" (Part One of Two):


Part One of a four-part audio press release calling for "a deeper and more productive dialog" following the South Park episode:

Friday, May 14, 2010

Jon Stewart Loses His Dinner Invitation (Again)

This particular disappointment certainly didn't take long:

Aasif Mandvi, a self-described “liberal Muslim” and the “senior Islamic correspondent” for Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, said on air after the “South Park” threats that it would upset him to see the Prophet Muhammad depicted in a cartoon. But, he added: “Here’s what’s more upsetting. Someone, in the name of a faith that I believe in, threatening another person for doing it.”

But after the failed Times Square terror attack, "The Daily Show" asked Mandvi not to comment further on the matter, according to his spokesman. In fact, reps for the networks and television shows reached for comment on this article, including Comedy Central, Cartoon Network, FOX, NBC, and CBS, either failed to respond or asked to speak on background for fear of retribution.
It's hard to know what, exactly, happened here, especially since no one involved has said anything further to clarify matters since the story first appeared. Or if they have, I'm not aware of it, and I've been waiting (and looking) for just that. Either way, it's more than a little disturbing, given Stewart's earlier stand against censorship and giving in to radical Islamic fear and intimidation.

Hopefully, Mandvi will say something more about this, and soon. Or Jon Stewart will. Stewart is an executive producer of The Daily Show, after all, and that's hardly a ceremonial title in his case. He could easily address this on the air. And in front of a gospel choir, if he wanted. (Even Molly Norris was honest enough to make her turnaround in public, at least, and this certainly seems like a turnaround.)

Until then, Jon Stewart's dinner invitation to my home is hereby revoked (again).

The Final Pre-Therapy Moment of His Life


Blissfully unaware of the approaching "teachable moment" with First Lady Michelle Obama's Task Force on Childhood Obesity, young Timmy enjoys the final pre-therapy moment of his life...


(H/T: Caption This!)

Honoring the Corn Cobs

There are so many choice lines in this SFGate article about student protests at UC Berkeley, it's hard to pick just one to quote here:

One protester blessed his cohorts' corn cobs, for their connection to Mother Earth.
Read the whole thing. Because whatever your politics, I promise you'll find something in it to laugh about.

Arlen Specter, Then and Now

Arlen Specter, then:



Arlen Specter, now:



I'm looking forward to watching, even if from a distance, a Sestak vs. Toomey race in Pennsylvania for the U.S. Senate. Whatever my disagreements with each of them, both seem to have actual convictions and beliefs that go beyond winning just another term in office, and I can respect them both. I haven't been able to say that about Arlen Specter for a very long time now.

As Mayor Bloomberg might say, if I had to guess 25 cents, my bet would be that when Arlen Specter loses the Democratic Senate primary, after fleeing the Republican Senate primary, he'll pull a Charlie Crist and run as an Independent, telling the voters of Pennsylvania how there's no longer room in either party for a "moderate" politician like himself, which after 30 years in the Senate makes him the true "outsider" who can go back to Washington and reform its awful ways during his sixth term in office.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Two Presidents


"I hate you, Mister President."

"I hate you more, Mister President."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Because Paying Deadlines Trump Blogging Today

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Define "Homegrown"

We join this press conference with New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly already in progress...


"That's exactly what I'm saying. The Times Square Bomber, Faisal Shahzad, fits the profile of a 'homegrown' terrorist."

"Commissioner Kelly! Commissioner Kelley! How, exactly, does the son of a high-ranking Pakistani military officer, a man who only became a naturalized U.S. citizen last year, someone who received training at a terrorist camp in Waziristan, a guy who was in contact with that radical cleric in Yemen Anwar Awlaki, and a person with ties to the Pakistani Taliban qualify as a 'homegrown' terrorist?"

"Mayor Bloomberg and I are still working out that part..."

The Obligatory "My Daughter Is Getting Married" Sale

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Last Question He Wanted to Hear


"It's a lovely gift, Mr. President. Simply lovely. Perhaps you would be gracious enough to teach me how to use this, what is it called, this iPod?"

"Oh, uh, well, I don't think we really have time right now for—"

"Nonsense! I'm the Queen of England, and you're the Leader of the Free World! We can make the time! Why, we can do it right here! I'm sure these lovely cameramen won't mind!"

"Oh, bugger..."

"Muslims Hate Cartoons"

Overhead at the Pet Store

"Hey, we sold you this dog. That means we can give her free treats whenever we want, and you don't get to tell us no."

Sunday, May 9, 2010

President Obama at Hampton University: The Lost Footage


"You're coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don't always rank all that high on the truth meter. With iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations—none of which I know how to work—information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation. All of this is not only putting new pressures on you, it is putting new pressures on our country and on our democracy. Some of the craziest claims can now quickly claim traction, like the idea that the health reform bill is actually going to make our budget situation worse, that the stimulus hasn't really saved or created close to two million jobs, and that all those people with their tea bags out protesting trillion-dollar-a-year deficits as far as the eye can see aren't really dangerous domestic extremists who threaten the very fabric of our society..."

Weeping Editor Watch: Los Angeles Times Edition

The Los Angeles Times has declined to endorse any Democratic and Republican primary candidate for the California governorship and the U.S. Senate. I can't say any of the candidates have managed to light a fire of excitement within me, either, so fair enough. But something truly odd caught my eye in their editorial:

In both parties, the races for governor and Senate have been undermined by politics and money.
I can see the point about money, but politics? Are they really saying that these races for political office have been undermined by politics? The mind boggles, and the editor in me weeps.

Meanwhile, let's congratulate Inspector Renault on his new position with the Los Angeles Times:


(H/T: GayPatriot)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

If Roman Philosophers Had Been Bloggers...


As explicated via the most honored and oracular Weasellus of Zip:

Earlier leaks of the book have included some embarrassing portrayals of White House adviser Rahm Emanuel. New York magazine had some choice bits about Rahm’s anger at Bo, the Obama’s family dog (“I’m going to kill that f***ing dog,” and his yelling to a male staffer: “Take your f***ing tampon out and tell me what you have to say.”
Lay down for yourself from the first a definite stamp and style of conduct, O Rahm, which you will maintain when you are alone and also in the society of men, be that occasion in the naked congressional of the shower or in the Caesar's office. Be silent, for the most part, or, if you speak, say only what is necessary, and in few words. Talk, but rarely, and do not speak of ordinary things—of gladiators drinking tea, or horse-traders in the well; of products related to the hygiene of the feminine, or stately banquets of canine meats—but rather, if you can, turn the conversation of your company by your talk to some fitting and more decorous subject.

On every occasion, O Rahm, have these thoughts at hand.

Posted by EpictetusPatriot5 at 2:47 PM

Overhead While on Jury Duty

Spoken with great weariness from the witness stand:

"Counselor, my recollection is my recollection."

Friday, May 7, 2010

"Jose Chung Speaks About Juggernaut Onan Gupta"


(Thanks to commenter Page and her after-10-PM double-Rock Star energy drink binge for reminding me of Selfosophy and my favorite Millenium episode.)

Nine-Point-Nine

Click to enlarge.


More at Innocent Bystanders.

Marxism, Boobquakes, and Why Comments Will Now Be Moderated

So last night, I spotted the following comment posted under A Teachable Moment, with Barack Obama:

*************************************************
how about I believe in WHATEVER I want - even in the FLYING SPAGHETTI
MONSTER! - and you have nothing to say!
*******************************************************************

let me show you the end results of this particular *ONE-DIMENSIONAL SCIENTIFIC MODE* of thinking that is called *CRITICAL THINKING*, which is completely divorced from any human objectives...

this style has been perfected by dawkins, pz, randi and the other *NEW ATHEISTS*
**
THE BOOBQUAKE - 911!
***
hey, atheists don't even BELIEVE IN BOOBIES!!!
they thought BOOBIES had no effect... WRONG!

see, I just want to make it clear to the rest of you:
jen is unable to see that there is a CONFLICT BETWEEN EROS & SCIENCE....

http://www.blaghag.com/2010/04/in-name-of-science-i-offer-my-boobs.html

http://www.blaghag.com/2010/04/quick-clarification-about-boobquake.html

see how we take a term and convert it into its AUTHENTIC POLITICAL DIMENSION - THAT OF LIBERATION - not just merely harmless expression...

Visit for the BOOBQUAKE:

http://dissidentphilosophy.lifediscussion.net/philosophy-f1/the-boobquake-911-t1310.htm

why do you waste your time with such nonsense as *atheism*? Who are you trying to convince of your delusion?

turn to MARXISM...
Now, I love a good Boobquake as much as the next guy, and that comment is far more entertaining than the usual spam I've deleted over the last year or so, which generally runs along the lines of:
Hey, great post! Come check out mine at [Hyperlink to something being sold that has nothing to do with the post]!
I'm all for freedom of expression, too, but if that comment had anything to do with the post it fell under, I'm just not seeing it. So I deleted the comment, only to find the same person had posted it again this morning.

So, turning to Marxism as my example, I'm taking greater control over the means of communication here, and comments will now be moderated.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Teachable Moment, with Barack Obama


"You want me to read you a story? You kids seriously want me to read you a story from one of these books over here? Do you have any idea the kind of thing that happens when the President of the United States sits in a little tiny chair like this and reads a story to a group of cute-as-a-button schoolchildren? Trust me, kids, we don't want to go down that road..."

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

"Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" Will Continue

"Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" will continue, with or without Molly Norris. Artists and non-artists can get involved at the already large and growing Everyone Draw Mohammed, which includes this choice bit of South Park dialog:

Freedom of speech is at stake here, don’t you all see? If anything, we should all make cartoons of Mohammed and show the terrorists and the extremists that we are all united in the belief that every person has a right to say what they want. Look people, it’s been really easy for us to stand up for free speech lately. For the past few decades, we haven’t had to risk anything to defend it. One of those times is right now. And if we aren’t willing to risk what we have now, then we just believe in free speech, but won’t defend it.
Other sites include Citizens Against Citizens Against Humor and Draw Mohammed.

Sure, some of the cartoons are downright offensive, but what isn't to some person, somewhere, these days? Being offended is a part of life, and I'm not about to go threaten anyone with death because I get offended by Bill Maher, or South Park, or that teenage neighbor with the "9/11 Was an Inside Job" bumper sticker on his truck. So is it really too much to demand that same "courtesy" in return?

The Favorite Soft Drink of Hugo Chavez

White House Phone Logs: President Obama Calls Michael Bloomberg


"Hello? Is this Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg?... It is?... Excellent! Mayor Bloomberg, this is President Barack Obama... No, I didn't call to say I'm moving the civilian trial of the 9/11 masterminds out of Manhattan... Really, that decision hasn't been made yet... Mike, I seriously did not call you to talk about that... Mike?... Mike!... Listen to me, Mike. I'm calling to thank you for having my administration's back on the Times Square bomber... Honestly, when you went on CBS and told Katie Couric 'If I had to guess 25 cents, this would be exactly that. Homegrown, or maybe a mentally deranged person, or somebody with a political agenda that doesn’t like the health care bill or something,' you were the talk of the White House water cooler... I know! Most people just sandwiched in their accusations toward my political opposition with the obligatory 'Well, I guess that maybe it could be yet another radical Islamic extremist with ties to, I don't know, Pakistan or something,' but not you, Mike! You went right out on that political limb! Talk about the politics of hope!... I know, Mike. I know. Lots of people are disappointed it was yet another jihadi out to kill the infidels and not some racist teabagger. You should hear the message Contessa Brewer left on my voice mail... I know. And I'll tell you, between Fort Hood, the Christmas Bomber, and now this guy, that makes three successful or nearly successful jihadi attacks against us in the last six months alone. It's like we really are in a war with these guys, can you believe it?... I hear what you're saying, Mike, and like Rahm always says, you should never let a good narrative go to waste. So I was thinking, if you happen to get asked about that oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico during a press conference or something, maybe you could have our backs again, and say you'll bet twenty-five cents some right-wing domestic extremist, maybe from Arizona, blew up that drilling rig as a protest against illegal immigration or something... Well, sure, I know they all go around chanting 'Drill, baby, drill,' but it's the Gulf of Mexico, Mike, and everyone knows these guys hate -- Hello?... Mayor Bloomberg?... Hello?..."

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Overheard at Kohl's

"Ooooooo, look. A plastic plate shaped like a fish."

"No."

"But it's a plastic plate shaped like a fish."

"That's why I'm saying no."

Monday, May 3, 2010

"Salman Rushdie: The Fatwa 20 Years Later"

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Dear Molly, I Understand, But Do You?

Originally, I was going to give Molly Norris her own Pop Quiz. Like this:

Which of the following is the real Molly Norris, Seattle cartoonist?

A) The Molly Norris who "felt so much passion" about the veiled death threats against Matt Stone and Trey Parker that she not only came up with the idea for "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day," she also sent the cartoon to other bloggers and even appeared on a radio show to promote the idea:


B) The Molly Norris who got "freaked out" that her cartoon struck a nerve, wants to call off the "Everybody Draw Mohammed" campaign because it "isn't really my thing," has apologized to "everyone of the Muslim faith who has or will be offended," wants "a little support" from Matt and Trey, and hopes that America's Muslims and non-Muslims can meet "halfway."

The problem with the Pop Quiz is that the answer, of course, is both. And there was just too much to say in the Hint section. Molly Norris should really be allowed to make her case in her own words, too, which I would gladly let her, if she hadn't already removed her YouTube video in which she tried to do just that. And her own website seems to change daily, with one post replacing another rather than being added to those previous messages. But maybe her own revision to the original cartoon can do the job:


From what I saw on her YouTube explanation, Molly Norris seems like a gentle (if a bit naive and self-absorbed) soul. And I don't fault her for feeling overwhelmed by the reaction to her cartoon. Every blogger who has ever had his or her normal daily routine turned upside down by that first Instapundit link and spent the next few days policing the Comments section for trolls and deleting hate mail from the inbox has some idea of what Molly has probably been going through. And I'm sure that she's had it much worse these last few days than most of us ever have.

I don't fault her for being afraid, either. From what I remember of her now-removed YouTube video, there have been no actual threats against her, but there is, as ColoradoPatriot puts it, "clearly a tone of fear in what she’s done." And again, that's understandable. I know that when my small press got involved with the paperback publication of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, we were afraid, too. One of my two partners even thought about leaving the company, he was so worried about what might happen and what this might mean. My other partner seemed like an absolute rock of bravery, at least to my eyes, but I'm pretty certain he had his own moments of shaking nerves as well. But either way, we went through with it, because we really did "feel so much passion" about the situation.

What I do fault Molly Norris for is apparently being so unaware of the real situation and issue involved here that she seems to have felt she could do something like this on a lark, and then back out with no consequences for everyone else who also takes a stand against this kind of fear and intimidation, whether now or in the future. My partners and I, back in the Rushdie days, would have had an excuse to make that decision lightly. It was pre-9/11, after all, and nearly all of the madness was happening “over there.” But it still wasn’t a decision we made lightly. And you don't even want to know how my mother reacted when I told her what we had done.

And this is where I think Molly Norris doesn't get it, even now. Because at least here in America, the First Amendment isn't an issue where America's Muslims and non-Muslims can meet each other "halfway." For one thing, I'm sure the overwhelming majority of American Muslims will resent being lumped together with Revolution Muslim and the fatwa-givers, as Molly seems to be implying here. And for another, I'm not sure what meeting "halfway" even means in this case. That Matt Stone and Trey Parker wouldn't have to worry about being killed for their own cartoon, and would instead only need to worry about getting a semi-fierce beatdown instead? Maybe Molly can post another YouTube video that explains this, but be sure to watch it right away, because her explanations, whether written or video, tend to disappear rather quickly.

And I'm sorry, Molly, but Matt Stone and Trey Parker haven't left you "hanging," as I also remember you suggesting in your now-removed video. Having a someone support you by promoting, say, "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" and then renouncing that stand and apologizing a few days later is being left hanging. Having the Consortium that got small publishers like us to go on public record as supporting The Satanic Verses paperback in spite of the death sentence we then fell under, and then having that same Consortium go so silent and unresponsive that we only knew the paperback had even been published because we stumbled across a copy of it hidden away on the bottom shelf at some bookstore is being left hanging. The South Parks guys haven't left you hanging, Molly, and even half-jokingly saying in that now-removed YouTube video that maybe they ought to fly you down to L.A. is, like I wrote above, a bit self-absorbed. After all, they're the ones who actually got the death threats, not you, remember?

But here's where I think Molly Norris really doesn't understand what she's done. Because it’s one thing to stay silent on an issue like this from the start, but it’s quite another to make a public stand on it and then run away from that stand. The former is bad enough, but in the long run, the latter does even more harm. Because whether she meant to or not, Molly Norris has just shown -- and just shown very publicly -- that even those who do stand up for freedom of expression in the face of fear and intimidation can be driven from that stand. And driven from it rather easily, in her case. And that will only encourage the next group like Revolution Muslim.

I think that next group is going to be a lot worse than Revolution Muslim, too.

President Obama at the University of Michigan: The Lost Footage


“But it was the last question from the last student in the letter that gave me pause. The student asked, ‘Are people being nice?' Well, if you turn on the news today – particularly one of the cable channels – you can see why even a kindergartener would ask this question. We’ve got politicians calling each other all sorts of unflattering names. And as I think all of us gathered here today know, unflattering names should be reserved for those American voters still clinging bitterly to the idea of not having trillion-dollar deficits each year and waving those teabags around. You know, like what you hear on that other cable channel..."

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Skunk in the Spillway